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Revelation 9:1-21



The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshipping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood – idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.

(verses 20-21)

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For this daily devotional, I usually choose something positive or inspirational from the chapter. There is nothing of that in Revelation 9. The whole is bleak, filled with woe and judgement. The last verse of the previous chapter sets the stage: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels” (Revelation 8:13).


Suffering and destruction are released on humanity. Locusts, with stings like scorpions, swarm over the earth, afflicting those they attack with such tortuous pain they wish for death, yet the affliction persists. Finally death itself is actually unleashed, consuming a third of the persons on planet earth in new plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur. The torment is intense, the devastation vast.


But the remainder of humankind “still did not repent” (verse 20). Even after such turmoil and ordeal, they refuse to turn to the Lord. They persist in their sin and rebellion. They are unwavering in their waywardness, willfulness, wickedness.


Yet the very fact that the text comments on this refusal tells me that even in the midst of judgement, repentance is what the Lord is “still” seeking. That word – “still” – communicates that what should have happened long ago, has not yet come about. The Lord has been seeking repentance from humanity, and is “still” waiting.“He is patient … not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).


Indeed, while time remains, his acts of judgement “still” have hope attached. In the book of Amos, the Lord outlines his acts of judgement against Israel, each one enacted with the hope that his people would turn back to him once again. “I gave you empty stomachs … yet you have not returned to me … I also withheld rain … yet you have not returned to me … I sent plagues among you … yet you have not returned to me” (Amos 4:6-8, 10). We hear in these statements the ongoing yearning of the Lord to see his people restored.


So, here in Revelation 9, amid pain-filled judgement and final-end for a third of humanity, the emphasis on repentance seems yet to speak of the Lord’s longing to welcome home rebellious sons and daughters.


He is patient. But those who have escaped the plagues of this chapter thus far remain stubbornly stuck in their sin. They have refused to open their eyes. Their hearts remain hard. Time is running out. Judgement will continue. The end will come.


All that remains is “only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:27).How much better, while it is still day, to receive salvation from our God and from the Lamb.

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Lord God, I turn to you again with my whole heart, choosing to bend my knee to your lordship now, so glad you have brought me to yourself, wrapping me in salvation. Praise your name.


Lord, I pray for those around me who do not yet know you. Thank you that you wait patiently, not wanting any to perish. I submit myself to your lordship, that you might use me in your purposes. Amen.

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Reflect:

Who do you know that has still not turned to the Lord? Pray for God’s grace to touch them. Pray for their heart to respond.

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Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash


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