Revelation 9:21: “And they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.”

Observation: John’s revelation relates his vision of seven angels, each with trumpets, coming in turn to bring judgment upon the earth. There had been hailstorms mixed with blood and fire; seas turned to blood and waters made bitter; and the sun, moon, and stars had been darkened. Hoards of locusts had been released, each instructed to harm only those who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads. Finally, four destroying angels were released with the assignment of killing one-third of all mankind. In light of all this, Revelation 9:20 is even more astonishing: “And the rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues did not repent of the works of their hands.”

Application: What can we be thinking? How can the sight of such massive, universal destruction not cause a change in behavior? How can the stench of countless corpses not cause a stampede of hearts to the Lord? When we know there is a place of refuge, why do we stubbornly cling to our own resources? 

The problem is made clear elsewhere in Scripture: delayed obedience brings hardness of heart. God calls and I hear, but am slow to respond. God instructs, but I obey only partially or not at all. God warns, but I am so committed to existing patterns of life that repentance becomes unlikely. Through delayed obedience, eyes no longer see and ears no longer hear. So I foolishly conclude that either I am doing fine and no change is needed, or I calculate that there will still be time “tomorrow” for needed heart adjustments. 

The honest truth is, most of us will die exactly as we have lived. In a heartbeat, this life ends and the next life begins, an eternal life that is informed, shaped, and determined by the daily decisions we made regarding following Jesus Christ above all others. Eternity is set as the last breath flows from our lungs. Today, while opportunity remains to impact our eternal destiny, today is the day for complete obedience to Christ. If we fail to act while we are able, corpses piled even to the ceiling will be insufficient to motivate a course correction.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, my heart breaks for those around me who have not yet decided that following You is the most important call on their lives. Though all other pursuits will ultimately be turned to dust, my heart’s tendency is to pursue those things as though I could be nourished by them in eternity. Keep me alert, Lord, when my heart pursues activities You have not directed me in. Fill me, Lord, with a desire to pursue You above all other gods.