Who's Looking At You
God of might and mercy, in Your love I’m found, in Your mercy I live, and in Your grace I’m saved.
Read REVELATION 2:18-29
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 the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6).
Thyatira was still less important than Pergamum—probably the least distinguished city of the seven. The trade guilds were consequently even more important, and for anyone trying to make a living this would present a stark choice. We can see the evidence of clashes between trade interests and Christian faith elsewhere in the New Testament (Acts 19:23-31). Celebrations around the offerings to deities could lie behind the rebuke concerning Jezebel (20), but the more likely meaning has to do with faithfulness to God. Jezebel, as wife of Ahab, was notorious for leading God’s people astray in their worship. Elsewhere in Revelation, sexual relations appear to be a clear metaphor for faithfulness (or lack of it) in relation to worship (see, for example, the language of “virgins” in 14:4 and the description of the prostitute of Babylon in ch. 17).
What is most remarkable about this message is the importance it gives to this insignificant city. This message is by far the longest of the messages to the seven cities, more than twice the length of the shortest, and it appears to have a central place as a kind of high point. Only here do Jesus’ dealings with the congregation promise insight to “all the churches” (23). Only here does the promise to those who conquer have cosmic significance, as they share the destiny of the Lord’s anointed one in ruling the nations (26,27). And only here is the gift to believers, Jesus himself, the “morning star” (28).
This reminds us that God does not measure significance by outward appearances. Rather, as the one with eyes “like blazing fire” (18), he looks beyond the superficial as he makes his judgments by searching “hearts and minds” (23).
Reflect on those whose opinion you treasure. How does their evaluation of you compare with the opinion of the one who “searches hearts and minds”?
Lord, I am reminded today that I look on the outward things but You look on the heart. May my outer walk and talk be consonant with my inner walk with You.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.