Do nightmares illicit feelings in you?
As a child, I had recurring nightmares every time I had a fever or got sick. This repeating nightmare was set in a beautiful forest along the edge of a beautiful lake. At some point in the nightmare, trees would begin falling and become large logs rolling down the edge of a hill where I was standing. To avoid being smashed or rolled over by these large logs, I would jump off the hill and into the pristine, cold waters of the lake. You would think the dream would stop there, but it kept going. In fact, the dream would not stop until I had hit the lake bottom with my feet and I looked up to see large logs covering the entire lake surface. There was no way to reach the surface of the lake and catch my breath. End of dream.
Pretty scary, right?
Well, my recurring nightmare has nothing on today’s reading from Revelation 9. As we read, John shares that a star, representing Satan, has fallen to the earth. And as this fallen angel has come to earth, he has been allowed to open the pits of the earth, named the abyss, and unleash judgment upon the earth. But did you catch an important detail?
That’s right! It appears that those who are claimed by God and have a seal on their foreheads are spared from judgment. John shares the detail in verse 4, “They (the locusts) were told not to harm the grass or plants or trees, but only the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”
John’s vision highlights three things: 1) God limits the power of evil on those who believe; 2) a time is coming when we will see greater depravity and rebellion in the human heart; and 3) there is still time for the Church to welcome and share the Good News with others.
Questions for reflection:
- In what ways can you share the Good News and give witness to God’s amazing promise today?
- As a believer, do you have anything to fear as you read about the seals and trumpets?
- Have you noticed any patterns emerging from the past few weeks of readings in Revelation?
Old Testament reading: Hosea 11-12
Lord, seasons come and go that bring hardship, pain, suffering, and feelings of abandonment. God brings reassurance to all who believe. Strengthen your church to bring your light to overcome the darkness found on earth. Bring hope to the downtrodden and healing to the sick. Give us confidence to move as you call us to witness and proclaim your activity in our world. Amen.