Isaiah 38 & Revelation 8

Isaiah 38

    In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.” Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, and said, “Please, O LORD, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

    Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and will defend this city.

    “This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do this thing that he has promised: Behold, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.” So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.

    A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:

    I said, In the middle of my days
        I must depart;
    I am consigned to the gates of Sheol
        for the rest of my years.
    I said, I shall not see the LORD,
        the LORD in the land of the living;
    I shall look on man no more
        among the inhabitants of the world.
    My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
        like a shepherd's tent;
    like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
        he cuts me off from the loom;
    from day to night you bring me to an end;
        I calmed myself until morning;
    like a lion he breaks all my bones;
        from day to night you bring me to an end.
    Like a swallow or a crane I chirp;
        I moan like a dove.
    My eyes are weary with looking upward.
        O Lord, I am oppressed; be my pledge of safety!
    What shall I say? For he has spoken to me,
        and he himself has done it.
    I walk slowly all my years
        because of the bitterness of my soul.
    O Lord, by these things men live,
        and in all these is the life of my spirit.
        Oh restore me to health and make me live!
    Behold, it was for my welfare
        that I had great bitterness;
    but in love you have delivered my life
        from the pit of destruction,
    for you have cast all my sins
        behind your back.
    For Sheol does not thank you;
        death does not praise you;
    those who go down to the pit do not hope
        for your faithfulness.
    The living, the living, he thanks you,
        as I do this day;
    the father makes known to the children
        your faithfulness.
    The LORD will save me,
        and we will play my music on stringed instruments
    all the days of our lives,
        at the house of the LORD.
        Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” Hezekiah also had said, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the LORD?”

(Isaiah 38 ESV)

Revelation 8

    When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

    Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

    The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

    The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

    The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

    The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

    Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

(Revelation 8 ESV)

Revelation 8: Those who suffer for the sake of Christ can rest assured that their suffering is not in vain. Their prayers are heard, and justice will be served. Evil never gains anything more than temporary triumph because ultimate victory already belongs to the Lord who will bring hell upon those who harm His people.

In John's vision, a strange silence precedes God's final judgement. The prayers of God's people are offered upon the altar, and then the fire built up by those prayers is thrown down upon the earth indicating that God will answer our cries with wrathful judgement upon the world that has rejected us. May we find strength to suffer here in this life knowing that heaven hears all and sees all and will one day set all things right.