Reading: Revelation 18:1-24
In his musical work “Unveiled Hope” American Christian singer-songwriter Michael Card sings of this City. In his song “City of Doom” he says of this city it is the ‘queen of every dark desire’. I like that; God’s kingdom can be portrayed as Zion or Jerusalem, whereas the enemy’s kingdom can be portrayed as Babylon – the queen of every dark desire. There is a very simple yet powerful video, released by the ‘Trinity Fellowship’ called ‘City of Doom’ I recommend taking a few minutes to watch it today …
Throughout the bible three great evils are named: the flesh, the world and the devil. The flesh is that part of me that sins, longs to be comfortable and is sensual. The world is the paradigm in which most people live: their ideologies and attitudes. And the devil is he who comes only to rob, kill and destroy (John 10:10)
In chapter 18 we are considering the world. The command of this chapter is to come out of the world and live utterly differently. When Jesus began his ministry (Mark 1:15) he called people to repentance. Repentance is simply turning away from the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil and turning to the truth of Jesus.
Our main problem is that we are very happy living in Babylon. In C.S. Lewis’s book ‘The Screwtape Letters’, a devil briefs his demon nephew, Wormwood, on the subtleties and techniques of tempting people. In one letter, the devil says that the objective is not to make people wicked but to make them indifferent. This senior devil instructs Wormwood that he must keep the ‘patient’ (the person he is trying to draw away from God) comfortable at all costs. If he should start thinking about anything of significance, Wormwood is to encourage him to think about his luncheon plans and not to worry so much because it could cause indigestion. And then the devil gives this instruction to his nephew: “I, the devil, will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care.”
This chapter shocks us into thinking differently, this ‘comfortable place’ we often settle for is falling and Jesus says, “Come out of her my people”.
“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”” (Mark 1:15)
“Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
“Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;”
Father, I come to you, let my heart be changed and renewed. Thank you for the grace that I’ve found in You. Lord please forgive my sins. I know you are at work in me and that the weaknesses I see in me will be one day be stripped away by the power of Your love. Hold me close, let your love surround me. Please, bring me near and draw me to Your side. Lord I ask that you would unveil my eyes and let me see You face to face. That in seeing you I may have the strength to leave Babylon and be completely separate. In Jesus name. Amen. (Prayer based on the song ‘Lord I Come to You’ by Darlene Joyce Zschech)
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