Have you ever read the children’s story Where the Wild Things Are? In the book, a young boy named Max travels to an imaginary land. It is a place filled with mythical creatures composed of mismatched animal parts. One of the most memorable of these creatures has the hair of a man, the horns of an ox, the skin of a fish, and the talons of a bird. There is something appalling about one beast constituted of various other creatures.
Perhaps as you read the passage for today, you painted mental pictures of the creatures described that were equally terrifying. The locusts of destruction described in verses 9:7–10 sound ferocious enough to send chills down your spine. Similarly, the lion-headed horses have snakes for tails (Revelation 9:17–19). These mighty creatures are capable of immense damage and pain. In fact, by their destruction, a third of the remaining people on earth are killed.
As interesting as these creatures are, the most fascinating part of the passage is Revelation 9:20–21. Two-thirds of all humanity is spared from death by these fearsome creatures. However, they continue to live in their dark and evil ways, worshipping their idols. These idols cannot see nor hear nor move. Unfortunately, the people continue to trust in them and do not see their salvation from the beastly destruction as an opportunity to repent and turn to God. They continue worshipping false gods and live for momentary pleasures, even after their lives are spared. Humans are stubborn creatures. We do not like to turn from our wicked ways, and we do not like to admit we are wrong.
During this season of Advent, as you wait for the joy of Christmas, might you take the time to evaluate the condition of your heart? Are there things that are a part of your life—even good things—which take primacy over Jesus? What are you worshipping with your time, attention, and money? Let us repent of this sin and turn our hearts fully to the sovereign God. He, unlike our idols, sees us and hears us and moves in our lives and hearts. Thanks be to God!
Revelation 8:6-9:21 (ESV):
6 Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.
7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. 11 The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.
12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
13 Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
9 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. 2 He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. 3 Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. 6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.
7 In appearance the locusts were like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, 8 their hair like women's hair, and their teeth like lions' teeth;9 they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was like the noise of many chariots with horses rushing into battle. 10 They have tails and stings like scorpions, and their power to hurt people for five months is in their tails. 11 They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
12 The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.
13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. 17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions' heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.
20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.