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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Apr. 23, 2007

  • 2007 Apr 23
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This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at http://www.dtbm.org/

 

 

Live for What Is Eternal

(Revelation 18)

 

As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you live for what is eternal!

 

 

 

 

MONDAY: Jesus Condemns Worldliness

 

“… I saw another angel … having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried … with a loud voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen … and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication … and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury’ ” (Revelation 18:1-3, Emphasis added).

 

The first lesson of Revelation 18 is that worldly possessions can’t buy spiritual life, but they can buy spiritual death. What we see in the first three verses is the drunkenness of the nations, their fornication, and their living for everything that God will not give them.

In these verses, I can see the rich and powerful families of the world—from Rockefeller to Rothschild, from Getty to Gates—who will stand and watch their billions go up in smoke from the wrath of God. This scene depicts graphically what Jesus said in Matthew 16:26. And I believe it is what the “loud voice” of Revelation 18:2 will be booming throughout the earth at this global collapse: “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

In the 1930s, William Randolph Hearst controlled many of the world’s newspapers. He was so wealthy that he did not even know what he owned. He bought castles in Europe, had pieces of them taken apart and shipped to California, and then reassembled on his estate. At one time his desire for art was so insatiable that he wanted to have every painting by a particular great master. He vowed to pay any price to get them all. In fact, he gave a blank check to a man he commissioned to travel throughout the world looking for the last painting. After two years, he finally found it. It was crated up in a storage facility in Long Beach, California, in a high security area. When he finally tracked down the owner—it was Hearst himself!

If you possessed all the paintings, money, stock, and comforts of life, but lost your own soul—what would you give back in exchange for your soul? That is what Revelation 18 is about. You can have it all on earth, but miss it all in heaven. What a sobering warning! God therefore says, “… You rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you …. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. … You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury …” (James 5:1-6).

From the Old Testament in the Garden of Eden through today, and to the end of time, God says to all peoples: “Get away from the worship of this world!” Don’t lay up treasures that when you leave home you are afraid something might happen to them. Don’t have so many possessions that you cannot sleep if you forget to turn on the burglar alarm. Don’t have so much stuff that you cut your vacation short because you have to get back to protect it. The care of riches is covetousness and idolatry. So the Lord says, “Give it to Me!”

The Bible has many grim markers that show where an illegitimate desire has given birth to immense disaster.

Achan’s lust for more led to his death by stoning, and a similar death for all his family. (See Joshua 7.)

Balaam’s greed made him fail to hear his own message. He wanted to die the death of the righteous, but he did not want to live the life of the righteous. (See Numbers 22:4-35.)

Delilah betrayed a man who trusted her, for a payoff. (See Judges 16.)

Solomon’s insatiable desire for more of everything led him away from God. He was warned not to multiply gold, women, and horses. However, he multiplied all three. (See Deuteronomy 17:16-17.)

Gehazi was not content with serving God; he lied to get more and paid dearly for it. (See 2 Kings 5:20-27.)

Judas measured the inestimable value of Jesus in pieces of silver. (See Matthew 26:15.)

Annanias and Sapphira could not let go of the money they possessed, nor the applause they coveted, so God killed them. (See Acts 5:1-11.)

Anything can be worshiped. Worship, simply stated, is “anything which captivates and draws us toward itself.” Here are the most common examples plus questions to help you evaluate whether or not you worship something other than God.

Work Worshipers: These are workaholics who are so captivated by work that they are irresistibly drawn to work all the time. Can you give up your career and your goals in your field to the Lord if He calls you to change directions for Him?

Escape Worshipers: These persons want to escape reality by worshiping the effects of alcohol or drugs, and thus they become alcoholics or drug addicts. Can you completely stop taking whatever substances help you escape reality, and give your life to the Lord? If not, you worship the effects that substance gives you. The Lord says, “You cannot worship both that and Me.”

Pleasure Worshipers: These may worship pleasure in the sensual realm, and thus become sex addicts, perverts, or burn with fornicatious and adulterous lust. Can you completely end all selfish sensual pleasure pursuits—pornography, fornication, sodomy, and adultery—and repentantly give those desires to the Lord to deal with in His perfect time and way?

Wealth Worshipers: These persons are drawn by the allurements of wealth and possessions. They may become like the materialistic, greedy, and selfish rich fool Jesus spoke of —one who only planned for prosperity, eating, drinking, and enjoying life. Can you completely give up your money, security, and power into the Lord’s control? We cannot keep anything that we grasp onto—only what we give away will last forever.

Self Worshipers: These are drawn to the praise of man, and thus they are proud, inward-seeking, calloused, and unfeeling self-centered persons. Can you give up your pride, self-seeking, self-absorption, and self-focus to humble yourself, deny yourself, and take up your cross to follow Jesus?

The ultimate test of whether or not you worship something other than God is quite simple: Can you give it up today? When nothing satisfies you—you are on dangerous ground!

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.

 

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