Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Revelation 13:6-10

Revelation 13:6-10
And its mouth opened into blasphemies to God to blaspheme his name, his tabernacle, and the ones who live in heaven. And it was given to him to make war with the holy ones and to conquer them and authority was given to him upon all tribes and people and tongues and nations. And the ones who live upon the earth will bow down to worship him – of whom their names have not been written in the book of life of the lamb, the one who has been slaughtered from the beginning of the world. If anyone has an ear, hear!  If anyone is in captivity, into captivity he leads.  If anyone is to be killed in the sword, he in the sword is to be killed.  Here is the patient endurance and the faith of the holy ones.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

This beast is given the power over the world to dominate.  He makes war with the saints.  He has authority over all tribes, tongues, nations, and people.  His power looks and feels complete.  Of course we know that it isn’t, only God’s power is complete.  What can we learn from this?  God is the ultimate authority, of course.  But that does not mean that we will not be without our troubles.  We will suffer persecution.  We will feel people against us.  We might even lose!  But that’s because all of these perspectives are from a temporal perspective.  We might lose here on earth.  We might have persecution and war brought to our doorstep.  We might feel like evil is winning.  But it is not.

Do you ever feel like evil is winning?  Why do you think evil gets the upper hand so often in this world, even if it is only a temporal win?  Why would God put up with this?

Second Thought:

As long as we are talking about feeling like we are not winning, notice that the world – those whose names are not written in the lamb’s book of life – will bow down and worship the beast.  In other words, the saints who are in the world are not powerful enough to keep the world from worshipping the beast!  We might desire to prevent the world from worshipping the things of this world.  But just because we desire something doesn’t mean that we can prevent it!  Every human being has the right and desire to make their own choices.  It is like the old adage.  You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink.  We may desire to keep the world for God and away from the worship of the powers and principalities of this world.  But we are not powerful enough to accomplish that task always.

Have you ever desired to keep someone away from the powerful pull of this world and been unable to do so?  How does this feel?  Why is it important to understand our place, continue to try to do the will of God, yet realize that we are not able to force other people’s will?

Third Thought:

Finally, we arrive at this unusual saying at the end of this passage.  This quote in verse 10 actually comes from Jeremiah 15:2.  What this passage is about is actually the beginning of the answer to my prior thoughts.  None of us can escape God’s will.  None of us can escape that which God has ordained to happen.  We all have free will. We all can make our own decisions.  But God’s will is God’s will.  In God’s will, our best defense in patient endurance.  When the world rises against us, we must endure patiently knowing that God is indeed in control.

Do you rest easy in God’s will?  Do you find it challenging or natural to endure patiently?  What does patient endurance look like to you?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 13:11-18
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