Today’s readings are full of contrasts, which is the nature of God’s word, on the one hand expressing His dismay and resultant anger at the godless behaviour of human beings, whilst on the other hand giving pictures of coming glory for those whose convictions and resultant behaviour are righteous.

Revelation 14 ends with a vision of the wrath of God when “the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God” (verse 19). The symbolism is clear: today so few that there is a God, a Creator.

Isaiah writes that “continually all the day my name is despised” (15:5): then, in contrast, “my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that is I who speak; here I am” (verse 6). Are we making God aware by our earnest prayers that we know His name, that we have heart felt confidence, that is so evident to others that they know something of the “good news” that is in our hearts?

The next verse (7) has a wonderful poetic picture, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation”. The outcome (verse 8) is “they see the return of the LORD to Zion”. At this time “the LORD has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (verse 10), as He brings to an end the terrible time when He executes “the wrath of God”. The contrast of these events will add to the perception of “how beautiful” is the publishing of salvation and the awareness it brings to the earth that there is a Creator and “the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God”. “How beautiful” – indeed, utterly wonderful, will it be to experience that time. We make ‘the answer now’ as to whether it will be our experience.