An Ugly Rebellion (Revelation 9:20-21)

Revelation 9:20-21 – The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

We ought to be very careful not to underestimate the ability of humanity to ignore the truth of God for the sake of evil. In the book of Revelation, God allows John to see how he will pour out his judgment upon the world of evil men who persist in rebellion against him. The judgment is terrible, and most certainly reflects just how much God hates human sin.

You would think, in the light of the terrible judgment that God executed on the sinful, that those who survived would recognize their sin and turn from it to seek God’s grace. However, learning from our mistakes is not really a part of human nature. This text shows us that the natural human response to the reality of God is to actually continue in their rebellion. No one naturally comes to God.

I think that there are two lessons that we should learn from this text. First is the fact that God truly hates sin. The list of rebellions in the verses above are things that brought out God’s wrath against those who practiced them. Sin is serious, very serious. Let us never forget that sin has horrible consequences. Let us not take God’s grace for granted, continuing in sin because we expect to be forgiven. Let us learn to hate the things that God hates, and let us turn from them to please him.

Second, we also should remember that people do not, on their own, naturally turn from sin. Instead, human nature is to continue in rebellion, shaking their fist at the God who reveals himself to them. This truth should make us approach evangelism with prayer, because only God can truly open the heart of a rebellious sinner. We also should allow this truth to make those of us who are saved be truly thankful. We would not have come to God had God not opened our rebellious hearts to his love. So, let us thank God for his wonderful kindness in our salvation.

Dear Lord, I look at this text, and I am reminded of your perfection and holiness. You hate sin, and rightly so. I pray that you will help me to stay far from sin and from the activities that displease you. I also pray that you will help me to warn others against such destructive behaviors. I also want to thank you for saving me. I could never have come to you without your first doing a great work in my heart. Without your moving in my soul, I would have been as rebellious as those in the verses here in Revelation. Thank you for your mercy on me. I pray also that you will help me to spread that love and mercy to others by preaching to them the true Gospel of Christ.