Why Are You Astonished?

Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. (Revelation 17:7)

I was listening to someone read through Revelation 17 and 18.  I do find it mysterious, hard to understand.  I think this is probably common.  As I listened to them read it, I was thinking, “Why am I so confused?  God is not a God of confusion.  He does not divulge everything to us.  But He does not give us His word to confuse us – those who are His.  He gives us truth, and we CAN search it, and He does give us answers in it.  Don’t get it?  Dig deeper!  Ask the Lord to show you!

Then they got to this verse.  “Why are you astonished?”

I think we can look at a book like Revelation, and probably feel two things:

– It’s so exciting!  It’s like a huge action movie.  Scary.  Exciting.  Dramatic…

– It probably doesn’t apply, cause I don’t understand it…

Well – it applies.  Jesus IS coming back.  And as horrific as Revelation can sound – it’s going to happen.  So we should pay attention.  We should strive to understand it.  We should tremble.  Not because we will be tossed away – those of us who are His, will always be His.  But – what about those who are not His?  That makes me tremble…

And – we should not assume that we are safe…

continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:12-13)

I always read this verse in two ways.  If you are “comfortable”, and think that just because you prayed a prayer that you are “in”, but don’t really seek the Lord – are you really saved?  I would suggest you work that out WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING.  The Lord is loving – but just and righteous.  He’s not to be mocked…

And if you DO seek the Lord, albeit imperfectly (we are imperfect after all), I would still suggest you do so with fear and trembling.  For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good, perfect pleasing will.  Woah…  God works in me?  Through me?  That does make me tremble…

Are we pursing God?  With fear and trembling?  Are we desperate for Him?  Or are we comforted in and by the world and our flesh?  Do we love the Lord, or the world?  We can’t love both…

 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15)

Yet – I do love the world, so much…

So – God has given us His word.  To sanctify us.  To draw us to Him.  Over and over and over…  How do we respond to this invitation?

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Revelation 3:20)

OPEN THE DOOR, brothers and sisters!  If you are His, LIVE LIKE IT!  Don’t just say the bible is confusing, hard do understand, or even out-dated.  Don’t excuse your sinful nature.  Don’t mock God!  Own your moral depravity, confess your need for Jesus, and REPENT!

Lest you think I am on a high horse here – I am in this with you.  I too need to repent.  I too need to cast off pleasures of this world, so that His blessings, which are infinitely greater than anything this world has to offer, can be realized in and through my life.  No – I am not “better at this than you”.  But this invitation – this challenge – this CHARGE – is for you just as it is for me.  I pray you do not take it lightly, or disregard it, simply because a fool is delivering the message in this post.  If it disturbs you, please just dig into the word of God, let Him and His word transform you.  And if you don’t “get it”, DIG IN DEEPER.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2)

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:22-25)

I’ll leave you with this video, where David Platt goes in to this much better than I ever could.  And where the word is read aloud first, which goes in to it much better than Platt ever could…


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