Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for September 12th

The Limits of Judgment

The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Rev 9:20-21

The sixth trumpet scene is the reaction of mankind to disastrous judgments of God. Worshipping demons is put first by people who have believed a Satanic lie. Paul calls it a strong delusion (2 Thessalonians 2:11 KJV). They have believed this, and thus been rendered unable to repent. Demon worship finds its expression in idols. There is a touch of sarcasm in the words, idols that cannot see or hear or walk. These things do nothing for people. They also continued their murders and their magic arts. The word for magic arts is pharmakeia, from which we get our word pharmacy. In the face of the widespread warnings we hear today, why do people do drugs? Because drugs are a form of magic art. Sexual immoralities also continue. Again, we have been subjected to an explosion of this. Also thefts, which fill our news today. We have not yet reached these days, but these events warn us of the nature of things to come.

We must ask, what is judgment for, if it is so ineffectual in producing change? Don't forget that the book of Revelation has already told us that millions will repent. There will be a great multitude from every tribe, nation and language, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They come out of the great tribulation and appear before the throne of God. They have repented in the midst of judgments. They have believed, and have received the grace of God.

But here is a great number that judgment has not affected in that way. Judgment does not make them listen because their hearts are hardened and they have refused the grace of God. That is what produces this kind of hardness of heart. God never expected to convert the world through judgment. What judgment does is to make us listen to grace. It makes us take seriously what God is offering as the way of escape. In these terrible judgments we see the power, majesty, and inescapability of God, and we must ask ourselves, What can I do to be saved? What God then provides is a message of grace. It is not when judgment threatens that we turn to God. It is when we see a suffering love that gives itself for us, that bears the hurt and agony — it is that which melts our proud hearts, silences our excuses, and opens the door to salvation. But then to reject that grace, when it is clearly understood to be offered, is to render the heart unassailable and to make repentance impossible. In Hebrews the writer asks, How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:3 KJV). How can you escape if you neglect the offer of the grace of God? God does not want to judge men, but that is all that is left for those who reject the way of escape which the grace God supplies.

Father, I'm sobered by these revelations of what is yet to come. I see your holiness and displeasure with human sin, but also your wonderful grace offering a way of escape. Help me live in the light of this grace. Amen.

Life Application

In what ways is God calling me to repentance today?

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

All Hell Breaks Loose

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