Stubborn right up until the end
“But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to turn from their evil deeds. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood––idols that neither see nor hear nor walk! And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their immorality or their thefts.“ – Revelation 9:20-21 NLT
Now the imagery really starts to get strange. Locusts ascending from a pit in the earth who have the capacity to torment men by stinging them like scorpions. These aren’t your everyday, ordinary, run-of-the-mill locust, but they appear like battle horses with human faces and on their heads they wear golden crowns. They have long flowing hair like women and teeth like lions. On top of that, they have tails like a scorpion, and they are given the power to torture and torment all those alive on the earth at that time for five solid months – except the 144,000 who have come to Christ during the tribulation period. They are protected by God. But it will be so bad for the rest who are alive, that they will want to die. “In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee away!” (Revelation 9:6 NLT).
And it gets worse. Four angels or demons will be released who will destroy one-third of mankind. Added to the one-fourth who were killed under the fourth seal judgment these two judgments alone destroy one-half of the earth’s population. Yet in spite of all that is happening, there will be those alive at that time who will refuse to repent. “The remaining men and women who weren’t killed by these weapons went on their merry way–didn’t change their way of life, didn’t quit worshiping demons, didn’t quit centering their lives around lumps of gold and silver and brass, hunks of stone and wood that couldn’t see or hear or move” (Revelation 9:20 MSG). That’s hard to imagine isn’t it? How could anyone who lives through this kind of cataclysmic event not turn away from their worship of anything or anyone other than God? Yet it reveals the hardness of the human heart. They would rather worship idols they have made with their own hands than turn to the one true God who is bringing about judgment on the face of the earth. Others would rather die than repent. It just goes to how that there are those who, even in the face of eminent destruction, will not bow their knee to the living God. More than half of the earth’s population will die and the rest will stubbornly cling to their misguided worship of false gods. And the result will be their eternal destruction.
Unless God moves our hearts, none of us would ever seek Him. We do not have the capacity to seek after God. Each of us would choose death over life if it were left up to us. But God, in His mercy, chose to reveal Himself to us through His Son Jesus Christ. He opened our eyes so that we might see the beauty of the Gift. He removed the scales from our eyes so that we might see the truth of our condition and the hope of salvation made available through His Son. We should be “eternally” grateful that God chose us in order that we might choose Him.
Father, what more can I say than “Thank You?! You opened my eyes to the truth. You softened my hardened heart. You placed Your Spirit within me. Otherwise I would never have chosen You. I would have been just like those in John’s vision – stubbornly clinging to the ridiculous gods of my own making. So I truly am grateful for Your abundant grace and mercy. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men