Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for July 17th

A Bed of Suffering

So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

Rev 2:22-23

The punishment that our Lord assesses against the church at Thyatira reflects the sickness that idolatry and immorality always bring. There are three parties involved: first, there is Jezebel herself. Jesus says: I will cast her on a bed of suffering. There is a note of irony or sarcasm there. He is saying, in effect, She likes beds, so I will give her one, but it will be a bed of agonizing pain. Then there is another group: I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely unless they repent of her ways. Those who commit adultery with her are those who practice immorality and idolatry. There was still a third group. The Lord says, I will strike her children with death. Children represent those who not only practice immorality but who teach it as well, as Jezebel was doing. The death, I believe, refers to spiritual death.

But notice the good news here: unless they repent of her ways. Our Lord always gives an opportunity for repentance. I have often thought that natural disasters are opportunities being given people to think again, to stop and look at what we are doing, and to change our ways. It is opportunity to repent, a slap in the face that says, wake up! The result of judgment and discipline within the church is that the church is purified, strengthened, and helped. People begin to take note of evil tendencies and become careful not to drift into the pattern of society around. They are willing to stand against the tide. That is what was needed in Thyatira, and it’s needed today. In those rare times that a church has to take disciplinary action against some member of the congregation because of sexual immorality, the result is always a purifying of people’s lives, a willingness to examine the morals of the day, and an increased understanding of the importance of being pure in these areas.

The churches will come to understand, our Lord says, that he searches the hearts and minds. Literally, he searches the kidneys and the hearts. Kidneys were in ancient times regarded as the source of feelings. If your kidneys are not working, you do not feel very well! They saw them as the source of feelings. Hearts were viewed as the source of choices, the decisions we make. Our Lord says that when you see him acting in judgment, you realize that your feelings are important and your choices equally so, and that each one will be held responsible for their choices. No one else can be blamed but we ourselves.

Father, search my heart and mind, reveal to me the areas in which I have compromised your standards, and give me the grace to come to you in sincere repentance. Amen.

Life Application

Is there a "bed of suffering" that you have made for yourself? If so, take some time and come to him in confession and repentance.

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Thyatira: The Worldly Church

Listen to Ray