There is a verse in the Old Testament that says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15) God was saying this to the rebellious nation of Israel.
From that verse, scholars feel that silence conveys trust and confidence in God.
Keeping that in mind, the half hour (a symbolic amount of time) of silence can imply that God’s people were using that time of silence to pray (8:3). It’s thought that those prayers were for justice. So, in answer to those prayers, God releases his judgement (8:5)
It’s interesting that the next few judgements only destroy a third of the earth. The “partial” judgment reminds me of how merciful God is. Remember when Peter said, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Even at this time of judgement, God is giving 2/3 of the earth a chance to turn and repent.
Sometimes, God uses hard times in people’s lives to get them to turn to him. Not with all people, but with some…he knows what will ultimately turn you toward him.
If you are going through a hard time, turn to him! Trust in him so that you can experience the rest he wanted to give the Israelites and that he wants to give you. And....wouldn’t a half hour of silence be nice?!