The Last Repentance
Revelation chapter 16:10-11, study with me as I walk through these two verses.
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“Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.”
Here in the boring out of the fifth bowl we find last mention of repentance in the book of Revelation. Mankind has clearly decided where they stand with God and their refusal of Him. As a child I was not willing to accept the punishments due for my misdeeds. As a young adult, my instinct was to rebel and do things my own way. Now in my adulthood I see that, though I still want things my way and from time to time I rebel, I am learning more each day to depend on God and what He has planned for me. Even the unpleasant bits of life are all part of the plan. A bit or retrospect allows me to see that the struggles. Of my youth have taught me patience and perseverance that I have needed many times these past few decades.
I can learn so much from Job about patience and perseverance in the faith and his willingness to trust Hod no matter how tough the situation. While those spoken about in this chapter of revelation are not followers of God and have come to this moment where they have left their choice of repentance behind them, Job was a man standing in faith unmatched by many of us modern day believers.
“And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.””
Enter Satan; “from going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Well, if that doesn’t make you think twice about attacks from the enemy I don’t know what will. Here he says that he is literally pacing the earth. He doesn’t have a job, family, or a busy life to keep him occupied and his hatred for those that follow Christ is clearly defined in his attitude toward Job.
“Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.””
While I may not understand the depth of God’s allowance of our trials, I can see in scripture how many times God tested His children in their faith. We may stand and sing on Sunday at the top of our lungs and celebrate the birth and resurrection of Christ wist gusto, but what is faith that cannot stand trial and be strong. Christian, I understand how hard it is to be tested and to be tempted to just walk away, but God is strengthening us in these trials. It’s in these moments that we must hold on to our faith and trust Him. Trust Him for the next paycheck, the next medical treatment, the next meal. Trust that even if the pain does not subside, He is still holding your hand and giving you strength to endure.
“So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
Job’s words should be stamped across the sky for all to see and ponder… “shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” How willing are we as God’s children to expect Him to never allow us to learn things the hard way? They may called being raised with tough love but if we never struggle with anything, we will never learn to fight and Christian, our faith is a never ending battle. If we don’t fight like we have no fear, we will lose to the enemy that has been tempting and ticking believers off the path of righteousness for thousands of years.
Don’t be like those mentioned in Revelation 16 and turn away from your choice to repent. Don’t let the struggles, the trials and the rough patches tear hols in your faith. Job withstood the pain of the boils because he knew that God is faithful in the good times and in the bad, and this was only one of the many things Job suffered in his journey of faith. Without God in our lives, we will end up suffering alone and angry like those still left here in this chapter.
I pray little sparrows that you will trust God in the moments when hope seems lost and suffering is all around. Remember that Gos still loves you and your faith is more precious than gold.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”