For this reason they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in his temple, and the One sitting on the throne will spread His tent over them. Rev 7:15.
This is one of the places where you need a sense of the ancient setting to truly appreciate what the text is saying. For me, spending time in a tent is "roughing it," I might do it for a change of pace, but I wouldn't want to live like that every day. My youngest daughter is different. As I mentioned in an earlier devotional, she recently spent eight straight days backpacking in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, IN FEBRUARY! In such conditions most of us stay outside just for a moment. She was outside the whole time, sleeping in "teepees" at night with a small portable wood-burning stove. That's a little too much adventure for most of us! And I doubt that was the kind of tenting experience the above text was referring to!
I came close to understanding this text, however, when I visited Petra, in the country of Jordan. It is a red rock area similar in appearance to the national parks of Utah. The visit begins with a two-mile hike that includes a twisting trail through a narrow canyon. You come out of the canyon into a vast open space surrounded by cliffs with all kinds of ancient dwellings carved right out of them! The view is exciting, but the sun beats down on you and there is not much water back in there. And visiting the sites involves some stiff up and down hiking.
After climbing a thousand feet to the "high place," we returned to the central valley around noon; hungry and thirsty, and at least two miles walk from the last sign of civilization. As we passed a Bedouin tent, a gentleman at the front beckoned us in. At first, we were reluctant, not sure what we were getting into, but when we saw some of our colleagues already inside, my family and I went in too. The tent itself was made from black hides but there were beautiful carpets on the ground and lovely cushions to lean on, etc. The man offered us lunch and cold drinks. Believe it or not, I think I had a Sprite in the middle of nowhere! In that heat and dryness, it was a joy to come inside for a cool drink and delicious food. But best of all was shade from the sun and the most wonderful, soft cushions on which to rest aching muscles.
Revelation 7 tells us that God will "spread His tent over us" in the intense noon-day heat of the troubles we face now and will face when the End comes. This text offers us an image for hard times. When life gets tough, God provides a cooling tent in the knowledge that nothing happens to us that cannot serve a purpose in the larger picture (Rom 8:28). And in the searing fires of the End, His cooling tent will be a comforting refuge.