Lord Over Our Suffering (Revelation 6:5-6)

Revelation 6:5-6 – 5 When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. 6 And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”


When we hurt, where can we find comfort? How do we manage to stand when it seems that the world around us is in utter chaos? Where do the people of God find strength in times of hardship and suffering? Answering such questions is a primary focus of the book of Revelation, and we should not miss such answers (even if so many cannot find these answers in their rush to define all the timeline of the future).


In Revelation 6, we see the Lord Jesus beginning to unroll the scroll of human history, bringing the future of our world to its proper and God-honoring conclusion. As we watch the four horsemen ride out, we see a world marked by a spirit of conquest, of war, of famine, and of death. These four, of course, mark our condition quite well. But take specific note of the words said when the third horseman rides.


The word of God tells us that there is a voice which speaks when the rider on the black horse is sent out. There is a measuring of the food, a clear lack being in evidence. But then there is another command, “and do not harm the oil and wine!” Somehow, in the midst of deep darkness, of a day’s wages barely containing the purchasing power to feed a person for a day, there is a limit placed on the destruction. There are parts of the world that are, at that time, off-limits from ruin.


Of course, there are many points to be made from this passage of the book of Revelation, but how about considering this one: God is in control, even over our suffering. The people in the passage are facing a hardship, that is without a doubt. Conquest, war, famine, and death are not fun things to face. But, right in the middle of the situation, we see evidence, solid evidence, that the Lord is still completely in control. While he may allow people to cause all sorts of hardships, the people are never the ones in ultimate control. God has the ability to protect and provide for his own, no matter how evil and chaotic the world gets.


We may have many questions that arise as we consider the sovereignty of God. We may wonder why it is that God chooses to do things the way that he does them. And, such questions are good in many ways. However, we also should not miss the fact of what God is telling us in his word. In this part of his word, the Lord tells us that, no matter how crazy the world gets, he is still there, still sovereign, and still able to protect and preserve. 


What do you face that makes you believe that all is lost? What pain has taken you to the brink of despair? When have you wondered if God is actually able to help? Remember, even as you see the limits placed here with the horseman, that the Lord is present, he is able, he is preserving, and he will be glorified. God does not lose his own, even in the midst of a world gone mad. God will preserve his own, even when he judges all of humanity. There is hope, because the Lord is always still on his throne.