Babylon…And Your City
Lord, help me to live beyond the meager resources of my adequacy and learn that You are totally reliable.
Read REVELATION 17:1-18
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.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world …” (Eph. 6:12).
If you’ve heard the news or read the paper, you’ve been treated to terrorists raining death and destruction on people, to stories of incredible corporate greed or mind-numbing domestic abuse. And quite honestly, what do we make of our own anger, and delicious scenarios of revenge? We need to take the long view. God sees, God knows, God is just. He will act. He will do something!
The angel takes John into the desert, the abode of demonic spirits (3). He introduces John to an earthly Babylon and reigning prostitute. In 21:10 the angel will take John up to a great high mountain to prepare him for an eventual heavenly Jerusalem and reigning bride.
Revelation’s “bookends,” chs. 1-5 and 19-22, sketch out for John’s audience their near and distant future. The middle section, chapters 6-18, is a challenge and, as a result, interpretations of it abound. One author wryly comments that John probably never saw a creature as strange as some of his commentators!
Babylon represents the godless world system. The three themes woven throughout chs. 17 and 18 are her obsession with political power, religious seduction and self-centered affluence. What to do? Babylon’s influence is real and needs to be recognized and respected, and then judged to be repulsive. Oh, and one more thing: the early Desert Fathers went into the wilderness places not to escape but to confront the evil powers in prayer. Such courage should make them our allies, and our mentors! We, too, can confront the powers of evil with the greater power of prayer!
List the various spheres of life where you want to see God’s reign extended: local government, schools, and business. Pray for yourself and other Christians involved in these areas.
Lord Jesus, help me never to feel so at home in “Babylon” that I lose my homesickness for “Jerusalem.” I want to live for You.