WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Mankind’s problem with God – your problem and my problem with God – is not primarily a matter of understanding but of control. We all understand more than we obey. It’s not that we don’t know God’s ways – It’s that we prefer our own.
That fact will be unmistakable in the end times. The list of supernatural calamities begins in Revelation 6, and after the first few, everyone on earth realizes that these are not random natural disasters but the conscious acts of an all-powerful God and that they are expressions of His wrath against rebellion.
After one of the more dramatic of these, everyone from kings to slaves “said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?’” (Rev 6:16-17). This passage erases all doubt about their understanding. Think through it:
- They know that God is real,
- That He is in control (“on the throne”),
- That He punishes sin (“wrath”),
- That He offers forgiveness (“the Lamb”),
- And that there is a final reckoning, in which they, in their current state, have no chance of survival.
By chapter 9, more than one third of humanity is dead and the earth is in ruins. What of the survivors? Instead of admitting that they’ve been in rebellion against their rightful Ruler and asking for the forgiveness He offers, they seek to get as far away as possible and hide. And they intend to continue their rebellion until their last breaths:
“The rest of the people, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood, which cannot see, hear, or walk. And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts” (Rev 9:20-21).
They’d rather die than submit. They insist on remaining their own lords and living to please themselves – not from disbelief in God’s existence but from rejection of His authority. That’s the way it’s always been.
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – Lord Jesus, by Your grace, my readers and I have bowed our hearts before you in salvation. For that, we will thank and praise you through eternity.
But You know how much more difficult we find it to bow our lives before you in submission. We’d rather give up anything else before giving You the absolute right to control our lives. We’ll give our time to serve You as long as we can decide when and how and how much. We’ll give our emotions to worship You as long as we retain the right to pick the style to worship in and where and with whom. We’ll give our thoughts to agree with You as long as what You say makes sense to us and is consistent with the doctrines we’ve already adopted.
Gracious God, we recognize and repent of our desire to remain our own lords. You alone can cure us of this. We freshly lay at Your feet our imagined rights to think, feel, and do as we wish. Put Your thoughts, emotions, and decisions in us. We, for our part, freshly commit to simply listen and obey.