Revelation 16.8-9 – A blessing or a curse?

8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire.

9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory.

Have you ever had anything in your life that you were 100% certain would be a great thing, a wonderful thing, a blessing to you and those around you? Maybe it was a new job, new house, a dream holiday, the world’s biggest tv in your lounge…

It’s easy to do, isn’t it, we can chase things that we think will make us happier and happier (sounds like consumerism), but in actual fact sometimes when we get these things, achieve the status, reach the destination, it’s just not as good as we thought it would be. When we get these things we forget where all our blessings come from, where all the good things in our lives are from (Psalm 127, James 1.17). Sometimes, it can be even worse than that, what we expected to be a blessing can actually be a curse.

Take the sun, for example. Lots of our native countries are cold and somewhat less sunny than Bahrain. So, you’re moving to Bahrain, you’re excited for the land of sun, sea, sand, and a million palm trees…then you step off the plane in July/August and the heat smacks you in the face. What you expected to be a huge blessing (sunshine all year round) is, in fact, for a few months of the year, somewhat of a challenge, shall we say. (Don’t get me wrong, living here is beautiful, but, let’s be honest, the sun is brutal in summer, isn’t it!).

This is just what we see in Revelation 16.8-9, the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. What God had initially made to bless people was now turned into a curse for them. His original purpose was for good, for warmth, for light…but here things change as His judgement is literally poured out.

Sadly, those on the receiving end still do not acknowledge God in all of this (Amos 4.6-13), and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give Him glory.

See, God would far rather win us with His grace, His love, and His mercy, but, as we have said this last few days, He is just, pure, righteous, and holy. This means He simply must deal with the fundamental sin problem in the world, yet after giving multiple and many opportunities for people to repent. Here specifically, showing people that even those things they consider good, a blessing to them, fundamentally needful for life to continue, even these things our great God is Sovereign over and can turn from a blessing to a curse.

The point of all the good things in our lives is surely to show us how good God is, how much He loves His children, and to enable us to use them to serve others, to love others, and to declare to others how wonderful our God is. If we are not stewarding our God-given resources well, as we read here, He can turn a blessing into a curse.

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