Friday, December 2, 2016

Revelation 18:9-20

Revelation 18:9-20
And the kings of the earth – the ones who fornicated with her and who lived wantonly – will weep and lament upon her when they should see the smoke of her burning.  Having sat at a distance for the sake of the fear of her torment saying, “Woe, woe!  The great city, Babylon the strong city!  Since your judgment came by one hour.”  And the sea-faring merchants of the earth weep and mourn upon her since nobody purchases her merchandise any longer: merchandise of gold, silver, precious stone, pearls, made of fine linen, purple cloth, silk, crimson, everything of a cedar-like wood, every ivory vessel, every vessel out of precious wood, bronze, iron, marble, cinnamon, amomum, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, carriages, bodies, and souls of mankind.  And your fruit of the lust of the soul went out from you and every sumptuousness and splendor was ruined from you.  And they will surely not find them any longer.  The sea-faring merchants of these things – the ones who were becoming rich from her – will sit at a distance for the sake of the fear of her torment while weeping and mourning while saying, “Woe!  Woe!  The great city – the one that is clothed in fine linen, purple, crimson, and which has been gilded in gold, precious stone, and pearl - since the great riches was being brought to ruin in one hour!  And every helmsman, everyone who sails upon the sea, sailors, and as many who work the sea – they sat from a distance.  And they were crying out while seeing the smoke of her burning while saying, ‘What is similar to the great city?’”  And they threw dust upon their heads and they were crying out while weeping and mourning while saying, “Woe! Woe! The great city! In whom everyone who has ships in the sea were made rich out of her valuable merchandise since she was being ruined in one hour!  Rejoice upon her – heaven, holy ones, apostles, and prophets – since God judged your judgment out of her.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

In this passage we get the pleasure of reading several laments.  First of all, we hear the laments of the kings.  Notice that they stand from far off.  They are powerless to do anything about the downfall of the woman.  No amount of power, wealth, or prestige can alleviate the downfall that comes from sinful behavior.  You can’t buy your way into righteousness.  You can influence your way into righteousness.  Humanity in all of its power cannot prevent sin’s destruction and judgment.  Furthermore, though, notice the lament of the kings.  They were willing participants.  They are mourning the destruction of the woman – of the temptation and pull of sin.  It is so easy to get caught up into the pursuit of our own desires that we mourn our loss of them even when they prove to be unhealthy for us!

Are there any sinful behaviors that you mourn not being able to pursue because of your faith?  Why does this element of our humanity make it difficult to confront our sin?

Second Thought:

The weeping from the merchants isn’t really much better.  Notice that the merchants aren’t really weeping the destruction of the woman.  They are weeping and mourning over the loss of income.  They are weeping and mourning the loss of their ability to increase their own wealth.  They are weeping and mourning because their good thing is coming to an end.  Their mourning isn’t a genuine mourning for Babylon, it is a selfish mourning for themselves!  What an incredibly sad perspective on humanity.  We can get so engrossed in our own personal gain that we weep for our loss, even when sin is being conquered!  What an incredible perspective on selfishness!

Where have you mourned because one person’s freedom from sin meant a loss for you?  What role do you think feelings like this play in people convincing other people to sin for their own benefit?

Third Thought:

Naturally, this passage calls human judgment into perspective.  Do you hear the reflection of the people?  They ask if there was ever as great of a place as this.  They see the destruction of Babylon as a reason to consider its greatness!  Human beings place value and prioritization upon things that God sees as reason for judgment.  Human beings think things are great while God sees them as the reasons to intervene on our behalf.

What do you value that God sees as reason for judgment?  What priorities in your life does God not share?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 18:21-24

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