Wednesday in the Twenty-Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation 15:1-4

Even God’s Wrath Serves God’s Glory

Chapter fifteen is the shortest of the whole Book, but with its own terrifying beauty.  Yes, terrifying beauty.  In this chapter, seven angels are given seven bowls “full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever.”  That’s the terrifying part.  On the other hand, it is justice served and as such, the beginning of the cleansing of the universe.  Our God is glorified in everything He does—be it salvation or damnation.  Of course, those condemned condemn themselves by their rejection of God’s grace offered through the blood of Christ.  But even hell serves God’s glory—the glory of His infinite justice and righteousness, for God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7).  And with the pouring of these bowls, “The wrath of God is finished.”  Thus, I see these coming at the very end of time.  And we shall see that unlike the trumpets, the destruction of the bowls is not partial but complete.

And as terrifying as the scene is, note that the saints play on harps and sing the song of Moses.  They are not afraid; they have heard the words, “Fear not.”  Through God’s grace, they have conquered.  Before the throne is the sea of glass mingled with fire (4:6), which I think is symbolic of our God’s great holiness.  That they may stand beside the sea speaks to God’s sanctifying work within them; that is, they have been glorified.

Moses’ song is a song of triumph over the Egyptians who had enslaved the Israelites for over four-hundred years.  Now they lay dead on the shore by God’s own hand.  The Egyptians said, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.  I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.”  Instead, Miriam leads the women in dance and sings, “Sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea” (Exodus 15).

Moses’ song is a song of praise for God’s deliverance; it sheds no tears for dead Egyptians.  The song of the saints in this chapter sheds no tears either.  Instead, the saints sing of God’s justice and faithfulness, glory and holiness.  And now all the nations will come and worship, just as the Apostle Paul said, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10).  That’s right—even the heathen shall confess.  And God shall be glorified.  It sounds ugly to the world, but that is because they desire not God’s glorious reign but a hedonistic paradise.  God’s glory demands judgments; God’s judgments are glorious.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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