In the Old Testament we often read of bad kings in Jerusalem that corrupted the people, or were corrupt because of the people, kings like Manasseh; yet God – from our human perspective – delayed acting to destroy the Holy City and its Temple. Then in the New Testament Jesus wept over Jerusalem and forecast its destruction and that of the Temple. Yet forty years elapsed after they crucified their Messiah before God’s judgements were carried out. In that time there was a great ingathering of individuals, people like, Paul, who came to believe and serve Jesus with all their heart.
Our readings in Revelation indicate a humanly indeterminate length of time as God’s keeps watch over the affairs of human beings – meanwhile our Lord, our mediator, as “the Lamb of God (is) seated in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water …” (7:17) and God’s word, for those who diligently read it, provides that “living water” (John 4:10).
The time is to come when, as we read today, “there would be no more delay, but in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets” (10:6,7). An example of the prophets is Zechariah. Today’s chapter forecasts Israel’s return to their own land, “I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the LORD their God” (10:6) and “I will make them strong in the LORD and they shall walk in his name” (verse 12).
Back in Revelation 11 we read, “the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever … The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged and for rewarding your servants … those who fear your name both small and great …’” (verses 15,18). No matter how small we feel in the affairs of the world, if we fear, that is, are in awe of all that God and His Son must be, then we should redouble our efforts to become more like Christ, servants of whom He is not ashamed (Hebrews 2:11) – not knowing how soon it will be before God says, there will “be no more delay”.