God Is Still in Control (Rev 17:14-17)
WONDERFUL THING IN THIS PASSAGE – Some of you really need to hear that today. An alarming diagnosis, an unjust verdict, a bad guy’s success, a friend’s betrayal. When things aren’t going your way, and when nothing you try improves them, it’s hard to remember that God is still in control. It’s hard, but it’s essential – because it’s true.
Revelation 17 sets up the final battle. Earlier chapters have introduced the dragon, the beast from the sea, the beast from the earth, and the multiplied millions of demons they command and humans they deceive. Now “the woman” is added to the fray, “a golden cup in her hand filled with everything detestable and with the impurities of her prostitution … drunk with the blood of the saints” (Rev 17:4-6).
There’s to be one final push by the greatest alliance of evil ever assembled. “These have one purpose … These will make war against the Lamb…” (Rev 17:13-14). The outcome looks bleak, but verse 14 doesn’t end there—
“These will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings … The ten horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute … For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his plan …until the words of God are fulfilled” (Rev 17:14-17).
Jesus won the final battle because “He is Lord of lords and King of kings.” How he won is astonishing: He set his unified enemies against each other and “put it into their hearts to carry out His plan.” (2 Chronicles 20:22-23 and many other passages record similar incidents.)
God has granted to humans and even devils the capacity to form and execute plans independent of His will. But He retains the ability and reserves the right to overrule all the plans of men and demons. He often does so. Rulers have great power, but “A king’s heart is like channeled water in the LORD’s hand: He directs it wherever he chooses” (Prov 21:1).
In this world of disappointment and pain, one of the sources of greatest comfort is the realization that God remains in control, both immediately and ultimately. Whether we can comprehend it or not, He is in control of the final outcome and of all the steps inescapably leading to it.
WONDERFUL THING IN OUR LIVES – God cannot lose, my friend. He holds all the cards; He owns the deck. He cannot lose in His plans for this world or for your life.
When the pain seems unbearable and defeat near, hear Him assure you, “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant;’ I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:9-10 NIV).
Lord, you are in control of my life, both ultimately and immediately. I come to You in my distress, not demanding to understand Your control but asking how I can cooperate with it. Help me ask the right questions: What do You want me to do now? Who do you want me to bless? How can I “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now (in this difficulty) and to the day of eternity” (2 Pet 3:18).