Monday, August 2, 2010 Revelation 16
The bowl judgments are God’s final and complete judgment of the earth. The end has arrived. What contents are in each bowl of wrath? Why are these plagues worse than the ones ushered in by the trumpets? The angel in charge of the waters reacta to the outpouring of God’s wrath not with pain or sorrow, but with a recognition of divine justice (5-6). Verses 9-21 tell us that the people realize these judgments come from God, but they still refuse to recognize God’s authority and repent of their sins. Instead, they curse him for sending the judgments. How would you explain the necessity of these plagues to someone who is not a Christian? What are you doing to “stay awake” in preparation for Christ’s return (15)?
Tuesday, August 3, 2010 Revelation 17
The destruction of Babylon, mentioned in 16:17-21, is described in greater detail here. The great prostitute represents the early Roman Empire with its many gods and the blood of Christian martyrs on its hands. Compare the woman and the beast to the first and second beasts of chapter 13. What here is the ultimate sin (5-6)? It is easy for Christians to become infatuated with worldly power. Which wrongs in our society today have entrapped you from time to time? How has God enabled you to escape the snares of the great prostitute? Are you seeking a mind with wisdom (9)? What wisdom will you seek in the next few weeks? If you do not understand the meaning of the various beasts, have you at least been frightened by the power of evil? How will you change that fear into action and hope?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 Revelation 18:1-14
This chapter shows that everything trying to block God’s purposes will come to a violent end. How do the voices from the world greet the fall of Babylon (9-20)? Why do they mourn? Why does God judge Babylon so harshly (20, 24)? How are believers treated by the world today? Being wealthy, powerful, or famous often leads people to believe that they have no need for God, or anyone else. Why is that? What “items of merchandise” have you bought and valued more than God? Is there a part of your life that is falling apart or eroding right now? Ponder the most important lesson you have learned from this passage.
Thursday, August 5, 2010 Revelation 18:15-24
Compare this passage with the following Old Testament prophecies about the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), Babylon (Isaiah 13:47) and Tyre (Ezekiel 27-28). How are they examples of the fall of this spiritual Babylon? God’s people should not live for that which is worthless in eternity. This, then, is how you should live: Matthew 22:37-40! What actions will you take based on this insight?
Friday, August 6, 2010 Revelation 19
Silence came with the fall of Babylon (18:22). What characterizes the new scene in heaven? Who participates in the praise? What is the most frequent refrain in the songs of praise? What do you learn about God’s character? How do you express your gratitude to God? Has your interest in worshipping and praising God increased or decreased since the beginning of your study of Revelation? Why? Do you think it is fitting that Christ has a name “that no one knows but himself ” (12)? The rider wields a sharp sword in his mouth (15). Who are the combatants of this war (19-21)? Who wins? What hopes and fears does this triumphant picture bring out in you? How has Jesus been your deliverer?
Saturday, August 7, 2010 Revelation 20
Why is Satan bound, and then freed for awhile (1-3)? What do you think life will be like without Satan deceiving the nations, but “the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God” reigning with God instead? What is the final fate of the beast, false prophet, and Satan (7-10)? In 12-15 we are told the books will be opened. Who will be judged, and who will be exempt at the “great white throne” judgment? What do you find comforting and disturbing in this chapter? Imagine a book made of your life, with every thought and deed recorded and then read by all, including Jesus. How would you feel? Does that call for some changes in your life, beginning today? Spend time in prayer.
Sunday, August 8, 2010 Psalm 105
Like Psalm 78, this psalm is a lengthy run-down of Israel’s ancient history. The writer suggests that a valuable way to find God is to become familiar with the way God has helped his people in the past. Do you find comfort in remembering God’s wonders? How has God come through for you when you saw no way out? Consider howthe Lord provides for you beyond your expectations. This is the day the Lord has made; give thanks to God and proclaim his greatness! Praise God for his love overflowing!