Summary: In God’s Word, find sweet words in the bitter experiences of life.
A while ago, Reader’s Digest published an article entitled, “Words I’d Like to Hear.” For example…
Words I’d like to hear from my auto mechanic: “That part is much less expensive than I thought.” Or “You could get that done more cheaply at the garage down the street. Or “It was just a loose wire. No charge!”
Then there are the words I’d like to hear from my son’s teacher: “Everyone misbehaved today except Michael.” Or “Michael traded his candy bar for carrot sticks.” Or “I wish we had 20 Michaels.”
How about these words from a clerk at the store? “The cash register is down. I’ll just add up your purchases with a pencil and paper.” Or “I’ll take a break after waiting on you.” Or “We’re sorry we sold you defective merchandise. We’ll pick it up at your home and bring you a new one, or give you a complete refund, whichever you prefer.” (Readers Digest, March 1992, p.12)
Some words are just music to the ears. They’re sweet to hear, especially in the bitter experiences of life.
The Apostle John found such words even in the midst of his vision of the Great Tribulation. He sees the terrible pain and suffering that is to come, but in the middle of it all, he finds sweet words. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Revelation 10, Revelation 10, where John found those sweet words.
Revelation 10:1-3 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a little scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. (ESV)
Now, thunder in the book of Revelation is usually associated with God’s judgment. So these “seven thunders” are probably seven more judgments on the earth.
Revelation 10:4 And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.” (ESV)
For some reason, God doesn’t want us to know what these judgments are.
Alfred Hitchcock once told a story about a king who was granted two wishes. His first was to see the future. But when he saw everything that lay ahead – the beauty and the pain – he immediately asked for his second wish: that the future be hidden. “I thank heaven,” Hitchcock proclaimed, “that tomorrow does not belong to any man. It belongs to God.” (Guideposts, 1959)
There are some things we just can’t handle; and perhaps, that’s the case with these thunder judgments. They must be so bad that it is better for us NOT to know what they are.
And yet, in the midst of it all, John sees something that encourages him. He sees something that brings Him great comfort. He sees a big angel with a little book (or scroll). He sees a large messenger with a little message. Verse 1 calls him a “mighty angel.”
Now, we saw this “mighty angel” before in Revelation 5:2, and there we also saw another book – a 7-sealed scroll – which is the title deed to the world. It is a different book than what we have here in chapter 10. But there in chapter 5, we have the same “mighty angel.”
He is the one who asked the question, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” In other words, “Who is worthy to take ownership of the world?” That’s when Jesus steps forward, takes the scroll, and begins to break its seals. He is claiming his authority over the world, and all heaven rejoices!
Well, that was some time ago. By this time in the book of Revelation, the earth has gone through most of the Tribulation, and things seem chaotic. The world seems out of control. So we are in need of a reminder that Christ is still in control, and heaven still calls the shots on earth. That’s why we see this “mighty angel” again.
His appearance, his stance, and his voice all speak of divine authority. So in the tribulations of your life, when your world seems to be in chaos…
REMEMBER THAT JESUS IS STILL IN CONTROL.
Remember that the Lord is still sovereign
We see that in the “mighty angel’s” appearance. Verse 1 tells us that he is “wrapped in a cloud.” It reminds us of the pillar of cloud that led the children of Israel out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into the Promised Land. God was in control then, even when they had to wander in the desert for 40 years. Certainly, He is in control now.