How hard our hearts

I've been reading the Greek New Testament and have been in Revelation. The Greek forces me to take it real slow, one chapter a morning. This morning I read Revelation 16. The seven plagues in this chapter recapitulate some of the 10 plagues sent on Egypt, blood, fire, darkness, boils, hail, and the reaction of the afflicted is the same, unrepentance, verse 9. In fact, it's worse than unrepentance. The afflicted blaspheme God, vv.11 and 21.

We sometimes hope a person hits "their bottom." When the fruit of their sinful lives are no longer deniable. We hope alcoholics reach bottom. We hope drug addicts hit their bottom. But sometimes, death comes first. It's tragic. This passage tells me that for many people, death is the only "bottom" they'll acknowledge.

We are entering, perhaps, an economic depression. But is there a country wide repentance? Will God be acknowledged? Will hearts soften? Jesus did say the rich have a harder time entering heaven than the poor, at least more difficult than a camel crawling through a needle's eye. I read the reactions of these afflicted ones in Revelation 16 and think, how stupid. Then I look around and wonder if our current culture is any smarter.

We read Luke 12 in our work church gathering yesterday. Jesus warns us against being stingy(v.21) towards God. But he also tells us, don't worry (v.22). He'll feed us and clothe us. He doesn't even promise housing! He doesn't even guarantee life. He just warns us to fear God more than men, because men can only kill the body, v.4 , but God can send the soul to hell, v.5. Jesus was not messing around. That's an important message the world needs to hear, even if they'll cover their ears and scream at God because they don't fear him, even when he is sending judgment on them.

Is our economic crisis a judgment? It sure is uncomfortable. I hope my friends who don't fear God, will take this moment of discomfort to reconsider who they serve? Worship of any one or any thing other than Jesus Christ results in hell. Jesus says to cut off whatever is keeping you from following God because that thing will be of no help in hell. But it takes a soft heart to submit to God.

Comments

Eli Dorman said…
John,

Some good questions you raise here. I wonder what the bottom would look like for us. We are a consumer driven culture. Our economy is built on the backs of the consumer. We buy what we don't need with money we don't have and for what purpose? To have more stuff? Is that the end goal of life here. I appreciate your reflections here. Impressed that you're getting into the NT Greek, good stuff! It was nice seeing a comment from you at Invite ONE recently. Blessings to you!

Eli
John Umland said…
I'm convinced everyone walks through life wounded. We all carry pain, yet that doesn't seem to correlate with repentance. Yet in the parable of the soils Jesus commends the honorable heart that receives the seed. That heart must be the kind who's facets Jesus describes in the beatitudes. That's a soft heart. Lord soften our hearts.

I really like your blog, Eli. I enjoy linking to it when you find time to post.

God is good
jpu

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