If you just had a few moments to call out a warning to people you love, what would you say and how would you say it? What would you be willing to risk? If you knew that the warning would be scoffed at and ignored, would you still give it? I ask you to consider these questions and more in a series called, “The Three.”
In the last letter of the Bible, there’s a lot of symbolism; a story being told with vivid imagery. In that letter we find an urgent message in Revelation 14:6-11.
This is a message for those who dwell on the earth. Remember that’s a technical term the author John uses to speak about those who are hostile to God and the people who love God; they are angry and violent, deceived, enslaved and self-destructing. For those who dwell on the earth the judgment announcement is a wake up call. What is it for those who are already in a respectful and repentant relationship with their Creator; people who live to give God glory? In this case, the call is a signal that things are wrapping up according to plan. All over the Bible, there is a progression that is reveals key historical events:
The spread of the Good News.
Satanic deceptions meant to disrupt the Good News.
Corruptions of the church creating religious confusion and then persecution.
The announcement of judgment.
The second coming, the end of sin and death, and the restoration of all things.
We are living on the other side of the judgment’s announcement. That only leaves the second coming! And yet, as exciting as that realization is, there’s something even more deeper to it. Have you ever stood back and taken a look at the world? There are lots of blessings out there but if you look long enough your heart has probably started to ache. Have you ever wanted to cry out, “How long, O Lord?”
How long will the children be sold into slavery?
How long will the factories be deathtraps for the workers?
How long will the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?
How long will cancer be allowed to take our loved ones?
How long will families be disaster zones spraying brokenness like deadly shrapnel into the world?
How long will our communities suffer under the weight of addictions, abuse and adultery?
Within each of us is a recognition that we live in a broken world that we are powerless to fix. That doesn’t mean we give up in defeat; we still do our part even though it’s like trying to hold back a tidal wave with your hands. We press on because we have a life giving hope that there is a restoration plan in place that will actually work and that it will be truly fair and equitable. While we take our stand, our hearts still ache; our cry, “How long, O Lord?” is a desire for the one true judge to do what needs to be done.
Hear what the Psalmist declared:
But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment.
He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble.
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Psalm 9)
Did you hear the connection between the hearts desire to see the true judge of all the earth and knowing that he is a refuge for the oppressed? It’s good news when the judge takes the throne. It’s the message that the war is almost over, freedom and love will at long last be the order of the day.