Jerusalem is called the “Valley of Vision” here because it is where God often revealed himself. The people seem oblivious to the warnings they are being given. They are not repenting and putting their trust in God. They are doing all sorts of things, like partying, recreating on their rooftops, and preparing, all by their own power. “But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago.” If they could only see how easy God was making it for them to be safe and secure. 2 Chronicles 7:14 sums it up nicely. “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
How often to do we do a similar thing? We go about our business, making plans, executing those plans, and then wonder why our plans fail. Perhaps we, too, missed the crucial piece of asking God first. Had we asked for God’s help, his input, his blessing, we may have received a message that our plans weren’t quite right. God’s plans never fail. Shouldn’t we want to make sure we are doing things God’s way?
The sixth angel gets his turn to blow his trumpet in today’s reading. This angel had the duty of releasing four other angels, fallen angels, who had been constrained from doing evil by God. Until now. The appointed time had come, and they were allowed to strike dead 1/3 of the earth’s population. These evil ones called upon an army of 200 million to help them. Such a number in John’s day would have been unheard of, but in our world today, an army of this size could be gathered.
Again, it is good for us to remember that the imagery we read here in Revelation is not real. It’s in John’s vision. Prophetic or not, God’s message is not meant to inflict vengeance but bring to repentance. Don’t worry about the symbols but on what they represent. God’s judgment will come in some form, at some appointed time. Will you be ready? Will you have turned to God? The words of Scripture are meant to give us a wake up call so that we are standing ready and helping others to do the same.
We have all been sad about something. That’s when we
experience sorrow. How we handle our sorrow is what Paul is talking about here.
Do we let our sadness overtake us? Depending on what we are sad about, we might
even need to repent. Are we sad because of how we have sinned against God? That’s
the sorrow Paul is focusing on. Take a moment to think about what has caused
Sorrow alone accomplishes nothing. Sorrow is a feeling. If it
is caused by circumstances we cannot control, it only hurts us and robs us of
our joy. If we are saddened by something we have done (or not done) to sin
against God, there is a fix. Repentance.