Revelation 18.9-14 – Sad for self-interest

Today two exclamations; one from the Kings of the earth, and one from an unnamed source;

9 And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. 10 They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,

“Alas! Alas!

You great city, you mighty city, Babylon!

For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, 12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.

14 “The fruit for which your soul longed

has gone from you,

and all your delicacies and your splendors

are lost to you,

never to be found again!”

The Kings stand far away from the judgement of Babylon as they watch the righteous judgement of the commercially immoral. They see the smoke of her burning, and weep and wail over it. They had lived in luxury with her, with Babylon, they had grown rich and prosperous due to the commercial immorality of Babylon, of the unbelieving world, and now they weep and wail because it is over. What God sees as immoral and deserving of judgement, the Kings of the earth see as great, and mighty. Quite the perspective difference!

The second lament, or the second exclamation is most likely the voice from heaven of v.4, and this voice says, in a nutshell, that the fruit for which your soul longed, which is the long list of absolute non-essential luxuries found in vv.12-13, all of this stuff and the people involved are never to be found again. The things we chase for material gain, for temporary pleasure, for commercial success are, as they say, going to hell in a handbasket.

As we progress to the last couple of chapters of Revelation we will see the reward for those who stay faithful and true to the testimony of Jesus. Here we see the other side of the coin, we see what happens if we focus on the wrong things, pursue the wrong things, desire the wrong things. Friends, the choice is ours. We can chase the treasures of the world, or, fix our minds on things above and store up treasures in heaven.

Perhaps Psalm 51.10-12 should be our prayer for right perspective today, it’s especially poetic in the King James Version;

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God;

and renew a right spirit within me.

11 Cast me not away from thy presence;

and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;

and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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