Revelation 9; Nehemiah 12; Psalm 104:1-23
The book of the Revelation has been interpreted and misinterpreted by everyone who has sought to explain its meaning. How often do we get bound up in the discussion of when and where and how of all the events. That being said, given that this interpretation may be wrong, we do see God’s mercy even in the most horrendous times described in the book. According to the beliefs of many, once the Church is removed from the earth all hell literally breaks loose. The world is inundated with plagues and pestilence and people are dying horribly painful deaths. With no real physical presence of God on the earth, that shouldn’t be surprising. At the same time, through the plagues and pestilence there is a call on all who are still living on earth to seek God’s mercy – yet they refuse to repent. “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20-21) Their religions opposed to God are more important. Their power and wealth; their lusts and greed are still more important than the idea of a relationship with God. In some ways that describes people today. We may not see the plagues and pestilence to the same degree as the situation in Revelation; but individual who go through such difficult times continue to cling to their wealth, power, lust and greed rather than turn to God. We live in a time when evil is rampant: people seeking false gods are killing and destroying those who follow the true God, greed and sexual immorality is considered good while godly morals are considered evil in a world turned upside down. Right has become wrong and wrong has become right in the minds of so many opposed to God. Still, His Church is present on the earth with the opportunity to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people. Those who are caught in the throes of sin still have the opportunity to repent and have a restored relationship with God. The mercy of God has not been revoked. That being said, as followers of Christ, we continue to have the responsibility of being the physical presence of God on earth tasked with the burden and the joy of sharing His love and His mercy so that they might have the chance to repent. In a world that’s falling apart Christians should be the glue that binds society together in the grace and mercy of our God.
Lord, how I want those who are murdering in the name of a false god to be punished; and yet You love them enough to give them the opportunity to repent. Were it up to me, those who worship wealth and power and sexual immorality would be destroyed; and yet You love them and You call me to show them how much You love them. Give me the strength to be Your witness with Your love to those who need to see it. Change my heart so see those people like You see them. Give me that one last chance to repent and show Your love to those who haven’t seen it.