Keep Calm and Carry On

OPENING PRAYER

Returning King, let these realities spark life and vision and boldness in me.

 

Read: REVELATION 16:1-21

[1] Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.” [2] The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly, festering sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. [3] The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died. [4] The third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. [5] Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; [6] for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” [7] And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.” [8] The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. [9] They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.[10] The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in agony [11] and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. [12] The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. [13] Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. [14] They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. [15] “Look, I come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed.” [16] Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. [17] The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” [18] Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. [19] The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. [20] Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. [21] From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible. 

 

Reflect: HOW IS THIS LIKE THE EXODUS?

 Now the seven bowls are ready. Poured out, they bring universal devastation: upon the natural world, humans, the spirit world (17; Eph. 2:2) and Satan himself (10). Nothing escapes. God’s judgments are poured out on all godless systems—political, economic, religious—that oppose his rule. Yet the kings of the earth, under the direction of the satanic trinity, gather for a final fling. This is Armageddon, the final battle where Christ will ride out to utter victory (19:19–21).Faced with the truth, they embrace falsehood and curse God (11,21). Habitually to oppose goodness means that in the end we lose the capacity to receive the good. And so to the seventh bowl, and the end of the world! God prepares to wind up the historical process: “It is done!” (17). In that day, our hope, as ever and only, is to be “clothed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne” (Edward Mote, 1797–1874). In the meantime John offers pastoral advice while we wait. We are to keep awake (15) and remain calm, because we can discern God’s hand in the clash of nations and the crises of history and know that the victory is coming.Now the seven bowls are ready. Poured out, they bring universal devastation: upon the natural world, humans, the spirit world (17; Eph. 2:2) and Satan himself (10). Nothing escapes. God’s judgments are poured out on all godless systems—political, economic, religious—that oppose his rule. Yet the kings of the earth, under the direction of the satanic trinity, gather for a final fling. This is Armageddon, the final battle where Christ will ride out to utter victory (19:19–21).Faced with the truth, they embrace falsehood and curse God (11,21). Habitually to oppose goodness means that in the end we lose the capacity to receive the good. And so to the seventh bowl, and the end of the world! God prepares to wind up the historical process: “It is done!” (17). In that day, our hope, as ever and only, is to be “clothed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne” (Edward Mote, 1797–1874). In the meantime John offers pastoral advice while we wait. We are to keep awake (15) and remain calm, because we can discern God’s hand in the clash of nations and the crises of history and know that the victory is coming. 

 

APPLY

Resolve today to invite someone else into the calm and confidence experienced only in Christ.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, help me to be alert and to advance Your peace in the earth.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider