Todays readings.. 1 Samuel 10, Isaiah 54, revelation 17&18.
Our chapters in the thought-challenging book of Revelation are now moving towards a climax – those we read today portrayed God’s final judgements on godlessness. The centrepiece of the action is described as God’s judgement on “Babylon”!
But what are we to understand by that word? It is very interesting to realise that the word Babylon in Hebrew – is – Babel (Genesis ch. 11). Remember what happened to the original Babel – this was the first ‘monument’ to human self-centredness! God acted to bring it to nothing.
So these verses in Revelation are telling us about the fate of the latter day Babylon (Babel)! It pictures how those who “who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail” and “stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn …” [18 v.10,11]
The prophetic verses we read in Isaiah 47 a week ago jump into our minds! Verse 1 refers to “the virgin daughter of Babylon” who is to “sit in the dust.” Then verses 10 and 11 “You felt secure in your wickedness … your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray … But evil shall come upon you … ruin shall come upon you suddenly” We are in awe as to how this is going to apply to the ‘latter day’ Babel of today! And how suddenly – “in a single hour”!
Back in Revelation ch. 18 we see further reference to this latter day “single hour” in v. 17 which tells us that “in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” Again v.19,201 ‘”Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich … For in a single hour she has been laid waste … God has given judgment for you against her!”
Life in the 21st Century has “ships” in the air! Life is dominated by those living to acquire “wealth.” But it is a fragile illusory wealth, it is not gold and silver – it is very largely financial figures on a computer and already, such as in 2008, there have been times of anxiety for those who trust in this wealth. Our final thought comes from the words of Jesus in Luke 18 v.24 “”How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!