Friday, December 30, 2011

How Quickly Things Change





Scripture

“And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning,
(Revelation 18:9 NASB)
standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’
(Revelation 18:10 NASB)

Observation

In Revelation we find reference to Babylon, the great city. I'm sure we can all imagine similar great cities around the world; New York, Moscow, London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Mexico City, Paris, etc. All of these represent dependency on human success. These are cities which have been built by human hands and often at a great price. Yet, somewhat like the Tower of Babel, we see them as symbols of "our" success. Babylon represents for us a center where we have placed all of our trust in what humanity can accomplish without the help of God. Here it mentions that in one short hour Babylon has been destroyed and those who had sold their souls to her are overcome with grief. They can't imagine their lives without the things that she has to offer them. She has given them shadows in which to hide their evil deeds. She has housed the prostitutes, the drug dealers, the sex trade, the corrupt officials, and the greedy. We are also told that she has devoured the prophets -- those who tried to come to her city and preach the Good News. She killed them, thinking that she could stamp out their message. But now she lies in ruins. How quickly things change!

Application

Having lived in Moscow for 13 years during a period of rapid transformation it felt like watching Babylon come to life. Once people had a taste of money they were never satisfied. Every man wanted to live just like the Czars had lived. The result was a crazy atmosphere in which those building businesses had to have "protection." Women were sold by the hundreds out on the streets with policemen turning a blind eye once their pockets had been filled. How often did I hear, "well, they have to feed their family too, don't they?"

And yet -- how quickly can things change? All of these things which the world has to offer really truly are temporary. Last years' earthquake in Japan changed that country in just a few hours. The lesson here is that Babylon WILL fall. The things of this earth WILL pass away. If that is true, where is our hope? Are we able to disentangle ourselves enough to be "in this world, but not of it?" As God's children we are not citizens of Babylon, but of His Kingdom. Only through a daily walk with Him are we able to navigate our way through Babylon and stay faithful. Then, when things change, the city may disappear, but we will be left holding the hand of God Almighty who will continue to lead us onward.

Prayer

Lord, take my hand and continue to lead me onward. Amen.

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