Have you ever been told a story and completely missed the point? Or maybe you’ve tried telling a story to someone and they just can’t seem to understand? I found a joke that illustrates this point: A police officer pulls a guy over and the guy has two penguins in the backseat of his car. The officer looks at the man and says, "You can't drive around with penguins. They’re an endangered species. You need to take them to the zoo." The guy says that he will, and so the officer lets him go with no ticket or warning. The next day, the officer pulls the same guy over and the penguins are in the backseat again, only today they're wearing Hawaiian shirts and sunglasses. The officer says, "Hey! I told you to take those penguins to the zoo!" The guy says, "I did that yesterday. Today we're going to the beach!" Now, all jokes aside, in today’s scripture we find that some people just don’t see the point no matter the circumstance.
Revelation 9 begins by continuing to show and explain God’s judgment on the earth. This was first described by the opening of seven seals in the first 8 chapters of the book, and now is symbolized by the blowing of seven trumpets. In verses 1-6, Revelation 9 starts with the fifth angel’s trumpet blast, along with a “star” falling to earth and being handed a key to the bottomless pit. Now through investigating other scripture such as Isaiah 14:12, this “star” is most likely Satan. What you have to note here is that Satan still must be given the key to this bottomless pit. There’s no power or authority that he possesses to open it himself. He has to be given the key to open this bottomless pit. Out of it comes smoke and demon-like creatures described as locusts that will torment and torture those without the seal of God on their forehead for five months. Scripture describes this pain as so bad that people will seek death, but not find it. That they will even long to die!
As the second half of this chapter continues, we see the sixth angel’s trumpet blast brings even more pain. This time, the trumpet blast unleashes the evil demonic army of 200 million mounted troops into the world to kill one-third of the people on earth. So what am I getting at today? Am I trying to scare you? Am I teaching you about the details of this chapter so you’ll be scared into faith? Of course not!
So often we can read passages of scripture like this one and think that the devil is powerful and become scared as believers for the future. But what we have to remember is that God is the one who holds the key to life and victory. If you believe that Jesus has died and rose again and you’ve accepted the free gift of salvation, you don’t have to be afraid! You can stand strong and be encouraged by the fact that God has already won and we know that He’s going to win again.
I want to show you the closing 2 verses of this chapter to open your eyes to the reality of sin blinding us: “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”
The rest of mankind missed the point! Even after witnessing these plagues, they still refused to repent. But you see their sin didn’t happen overnight. It was a pattern of behavior that was developed over time because they had avoided accountability, and it led to their destruction. These people had blinded themselves to the truth of the gospel through their sinful living. They still refused to repent. They just didn’t get it. Because that’s what sin does: it blinds us of our need for a savior.
The good news is that we don’t have to stay trapped in our sinful nature. We can be forgiven of our sins when we admit our need. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The challenge we’re left with today is to not miss the moment. We don’t have to live a life trapped in sin. If you’ve been struggling with sin, let today be your wake-up call where you find an accountability partner and help each other to live in a God-honoring way. Allow God to work in those areas of your life and watch the healing and growth that’s going to take place in your life as you continue to follow Him!