Monday, October 24, 2016

Revelation 6:5-8

Revelation 6:5-8
And when he opened the third seal I heard the third living creature say “Come.”  And I looked and behold a black horse came out and the one who sits upon it has a balance in his hand.  And I heard as a voice in the middle of the of the four living creatures while saying “A quart of wheat for a denarius and three quarts of barley for a denarius.  And do not harm the wine and the olive oil.”  And when he opened the fourth seal I heard a voice of the fourth living creature while saying “Come.”  And I looked and behold a green horse came out, and the one who sits over it the name death was given to it.  Hades was following with him and an authority upon a fourth of the earth was given to him to kill in broad-sword, in famine, in death, and by the wild animals of the earth.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

When we look to the third rider, the black horse with a rider who has a scale, we get another glimpse into the ancient mind.  Olive, grapes, barley, and wheat were many of the major crops of the ancient Mediterranean world.  Yet, you will notice that the basic foods eaten by the lower class of people, like wheat and barley, seem to be in short supply while the more expensive food eaten by the upper class only, like olives and wine, don’t seem to have experienced hardship.  We know that it is absolutely possible for a famine to happen among the cereals while the vines and trees are fine.  Grain roots are far more shallow that the roots of vines and trees.  What is John’s point?  Famine is always a possibility.  When famine hits, it usually hits the hardest among the people who are in the lowest class and unable to pay much, if anything, for their food.  God is a God who understands famine.  God is a God who can be with us through times of shortage in our life.

Have you ever had a lean time with respect to your food?  What other kinds of shortages have you had in your life where God has been with you?

Second Thought:

There is a deeper message that this, though.  Do you notice how the directions are given?  A whole days’ wages for a days’ amount of meager food.  In other words, there is no margin for error.  In times of cereal famine, the common people will always be living on the brink of disaster.  Yet, we are told to not harm the olive oil and the wine!  People are starving and in on the brink of death, yet the wealthy and the elite are concerned about turning nutritious food into oil and alcohol!  John’s point is to remind the Christians in Asia Minor about human nature.  Most people aren’t in it for the betterment of the society around them.  Most people are in it for themselves.  When push comes to shove, most people care more about their creature comforts than the true needs of the people around them.  This is especially true as you live in a lifestyle where more comforts are given.

Do you agree that the elite and wealthy are often more likely to be concerned about their wants than the poor are concerned?  Why do you think people can be focused on their wants when other people in the world don’t even have their needs satisfied?

Third Thought:

In the breaking of the fourth seal, we see the fourth rider.  This is a horse, upon which sits death.  Let’s make sure that we remember something.  The angel of death is a servant of God, not Satan.  Do you remember the tenth plague in Egypt?  That was God’s angel of death going from God to perform His will.  In the same manner, these four horsemen don’t sit in opposition to God, they come from God to demonstrate our own human nature to us.  What is the point of this passage?  John’s point is that we all earn the wages of our sin.  The earlier horses demonstrated our desire to conquer one another, to be violent towards one another, and to think greedily of ourselves first. In that context, death comes.  What we have so far in this chapter is a symbolic picture of what Paul tells us in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin are death.”  We earn death through our sin.

Where has your sin caused you pain and suffering in your life?  Do you agree that you deserve death for your sin?  Why is it a blessing to know about Jesus and His sacrifice when confronting this truth?  Why do you think that John started with such emphasis upon the slain lamb before getting to the seven seals?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 6:9-11
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