The calm in the midst of the storm
Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the Bible the sea often depicts chaos, rebellion and turmoil (think of the flood in Genesis 7 when there was a return to the Primeval chaos of Genesis 1; or the threat the Red Sea posed to the Hebrews as they were pursued by Pharaoh’s armies; or the power and threat of the waves described in Psalm 89:9). The sea is dark and unruly, churning sediment, delivering up debris, detritus and even dead bodies onto its shores. Isaiah brings these images together, ‘The wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud.’ (Is.57:20). This depicts the effects of Satan’s works in the world as well as being a picture of the world organised in opposition to God. This is why on earth things seem so uncertain and unpredictable with economic meltdowns, wars, and famines (the stuff of chapter 6-9). As a result we are tossed about like flotsam and jetsam and become disorientated by it all. But for God, and from where he rules, there is no such sea, a sea of rebellion and uncertainty. The sea that exists before him is as smooth and as solid as a sheet of glass.
It is also as clear as crystal, that is, wholly transparent so there is nothing sinister lurking in its depths, a Leviathan ready to leap out and do damage. It is a great comfort to know this is so. One day, as the last chapters of Revelation show, the whole of creation will be in this state (‘there was no sea’) when his kingdom comes and his will is done on earth as in heaven. God is completely composed and completely in control.
Prayer for today
Whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible,
Order things that they may neither hinder, nor discourage me,
Nor prove obstacles to the progress of the cause of the Gospel.
Let me dwell in your most secret place under your shadow,
where there is a safe impenetrable
Protection from the arrows that fly by day,
The pestilence that walks in darkness,
The deceit of lying lips,
The fear of death.
I am entirely dependent upon you for support,
Guidance and security.
Keep me in step with the Spirit
And in all things honour you.
For Jesus’ sake.
Your Pastor and friend