Babylon…And Her Woman
Father, You know better than I do what I will face today. I need Your courage and direction.
Read REVELATION 18:1-24
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“As Christians, we …must live securely in Christ, standing firm in temptation, manifesting peace in trouble, and radiating the assurance of eternal life in the midst of time” (John N. Gladstone).
Several years ago three friends and I explored much of Iraq. We wandered through ancient Babylon, and stood before the (reconstructed) Ishtar Gate. The overwhelming impression was one of eerie, pervasive silence, and that’s the movement of our chapter today: from the authoritative “mighty voice” of v. 2 to the utter silence of the last four verses. Babylon is fallen like a millstone in the sea, and the prostitute’s business dealings are finished. The promised judgment has surely, finally come!
The prostitute is the perfect symbol of the godless system lurking all around us. Love is reduced to a price tag. The joining of body parts does not lead to the joining of lives. Her attraction and allure are undeniable, but what she promises she cannot deliver. It is all so very shallow, so very superficial. At its heart, the prostitute’s trade is not sexual, but commercial and even spiritual. People’s worship is perverted and turned in upon themselves as they gather around the prostitute, her luxuries and superfluous commodities (notice the intriguing passage about the merchants and sea-traders and their greed in vs. 11-19!).
I enjoyed, too much I think, telling African audiences that a typical westerner line is someone who “buys what he doesn’t need, with money he doesn’t have, to impress people he doesn’t like.” Heaven’s urging is to “come out of her, my people” (4). Let’s not be seduced by the clamoring and twittering of Babylon. The devil is not a strong and winsome lion but simply a mouse with a microphone. Someday, even that microphone will be taken away.
“A Westerner is someone who buys what he doesn’t need, with money he doesn’t have, to impress people he doesn’t like.” If that describes you, pray for help to re-order your priorities.
Gracious Father, help me to recognize and to resist temptation, even when it comes dressed in its “Sunday best.” Help me to have the right priorities: Yours.
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