The Sound Of Silence
Hear, O God, my supplication: be attentive to my prayer, to thee have I cried from the ends of the earth: when my heart was in anguish… (Psalms. 61:1,2/Psalms 60:2,3 DRB).
The word attentive really spoke to me.
This prayer of David is a cry to God to attend, to give His attention, to David's prayer.
Later, I thought upon a passage in The Revelation/Apocalypse that I often have dwelled on:
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven, as it were for half an hour. And I saw seven angels standing in the presence of God; and there were given to them seven trumpets. And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel. (Revelation/Apocalypse 8: 1-4).
What is happening during the half and hour of silence in Heaven?
We see first of all that in this time of silence the seven angels who stand before God are handed seven trumpets. They are not sounding their trumpets just yet; they are just receiving them.
Then we discover that during this time of silence in Heaven it appears that the saints in the earth are offering up their prayers, and an angel is intermingling “much incense” with the prayers of the saints “upon the golden altar which was before the throne.”
Let’s drop back down into the earth for a minute. Here are the beloved saints of the Lord offering up their earnest prayers… and possibly wondering....wondering, why the Silence? And it has been the heart cry of the saints of all ages to understand the silence of Heaven. Why, Lord, are you silent? Why do you not answer our prayers?
Unto thee will I cry, O Lord: O my God, be not thou silent to me: lest thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. (Psalm 27/28:1)
O Lord, be not thou silent: O Lord, depart not from me. (Psalms 34/35:22)
How long, O Lord, wilt thou forget me unto the end? how long dost thou turn away thy face from me? (Psalms 12/13:1)
O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy servant. How long wilt thou feed us with the bread of tears: and give us for our drink tears in measure? (Psalms 79/80:4,5)
The cries go up to The Silence. Is God angry against the prayer of His people? No! He has commissioned an angel who is given “much incense” to offer with the prayers of the saints. Where did the angel get this special incense? Where else but from the apothecary of God? For God Himself is burdened with the burdens of His people far, far more than we comprehend. And He has ordained that heavenly incense be added to our prayers—His way of saying Amen to our cries… His way of crying with us! His way of assuring us that our burden is His own burden!
Let us never fail, in the silences of God, to read His heart right.
Let us never interpret the silence of Heaven as a message that our loving God is careless about the prayers of His saints—the seekers, the humble, the broken, the destitute.
He hath had regard to the prayer of the humble: and he hath not despised their petition. (Psalms 101:17/102:18 DRB).
Have you ever unexpectedly felt pierced to the heart, and overwhelmed, with an awareness of God’s great great love and concern for your concerns—the darkness of the hour, the overwhelming needs on every front, yet God seeming so silent? Have you ever been pierced by the awareness of His love so great, so deep: it’s impossible that He could not be concerned. In those times it grieves me, that I seem to know so little concerning the God of love!
Let me never misinterpret the silence of Heaven. It is a very pregnant silence. Something very momentous and very powerful is about to burst forth. Seven angels are given seven trumpets, and stand in expectant waiting. At the same time, another angel having a golden censer stands before the golden altar before the throne of God, and continually adds his incense to the prayers of the saints.
And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
Now something else happens. Now comes the response:
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with the fire of the altar, and cast it on the earth, and there were thunders and voices and lightnings, and a great earthquake. (Revelation/Apocalypse 8:5)
The same censer full of incense intermingled with the prayers of the saints is suddenly cast into the earth! And there are voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.
No more silence now!
Notice the storm elements—thunder, lightning. The voices of Heaven…
God shall come manifestly: our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. A fire shall burn before him: and a mighty tempest shall be round about him. (Psalms 49/50:3)
A great eternal Storm is about to break forth!
And the seven angels, who had the seven trumpets, prepared themselves to sound the trumpet. (Revelation/Apocalypse 8:6)
No more silence now!
How long will our God be inattentive to the prayers of His people? He never has been. Not for an instant.
The half-hour silence in Heaven is a time of great preparation; the angels with the trumpets are preparing themselves. And oh, we feel the growing pressure of the word God has been preparing, preparing, preparing…
And we know that the hour of its mighty release is at hand!
And the Lord shall roar out of Sion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem: and the heavens and the earth shall be moved...(Joel 3:16)
The silence in heaven precedes the silence there is going to be in the earth when the Lord God Almighty speaks from His throne!
But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him. (Habacuc/Habakkuk 2:20)
People of God who are in great trial, at the end of your earthly resources with heart overwhelmed, let us never take the silence of Heaven to mean that our loving God does not hear, does not care.
He hears, and cares, and is giving my prayers, and yours, His loving attention!