This morning we read through four chapter of Revelation in Staff Devotions – all the way through eight to eleven.
Go and read it.
Right. Good stuff. Wasn’t that a good use of five minutes?! (If you still haven’t read it, stop cheating and do so now.)
There’s a lot in there that I don’t understand and I’m not going to try and explain it – if you really want to know about all the imagery used I suggest you consult a commentary or someone more in the know – but I just want to share some of my uneducated thoughts.
The first thing that I get from these chapters is a real sense of the power of God. The account of creation, if you’ll forgive me for saying this is quite . . . fluffy. It’s all very nice and gentle – “evening passed and morning came . . . God saw that it was good”. There’s not really much of a sense of the might and power and strength that there is behind it all. The awesome creator God might as well be a little kid with a lego kit. But in Revelation as He destroys a lot of it again the sheer vastness of His power is very obvious.
One-third of the earth was set on fire, one-third of the trees were burned, and all the green grass was burned . . .
One-third of the water in the sea became blood, one-third of all things living in the sea died, and one-third of all the ships on the sea were destroyed . . .
one-third of the water bitter, and many people died from drinking the bitter water . . .
and one-third of the sun was struck, and one-third of the moon, and one-third of the stars, and they became dark. And one-third of the day was dark, and also one-third of the night . . .
Then locusts came from the smoke and descended on the earth, and they were given power to sting like scorpions . . . They were told not to kill them but to torture them for five months with pain like the pain of a scorpion sting. In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them! . . .
One-third of all the people on earth were killed by these three plagues—by the fire and smoke and burning sulfur . . .
Lightning flashed, thunder crashed and roared, and there was an earthquake and a terrible hailstorm.
Wow. Talk about putting the fear of God in to you.
Now I’m not afraid, as in petrified, of God but there is a very real need for a reverence and deeply profound respect there becuase whilst I do think God is always good and loving, I don’t think He’s always necessarily nice.
But I still get to call Him Father.
Yet, despite everything, even after all this:
the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk! And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
What will it take for people to realise their need for God? When will they realise they can’t deal with it all themselves but need God? Human hearts are so hard, our lives so broken, that we’re searching for anything and everything to fill the gaps but when God reveals himself we unwilling to see it.
Maybe it all sounds doom and gloom, fire and brimstone, but there is hope. The most vibrant, wonderful hope we could . . . well . . . hope for:
The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
and he will reign forever and ever.
A new heaven and a new earth and, if we’ve put our faith in Christ, we get to enjoy it with Him for eternity.