They Would Not Repent

The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood– idols that cannot see or hear or walk. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.  Revelation. 9:20-21 NIV

Read Revelation 9:1-19 and then think of this scenario: an asteroid strikes the earth with such force that the earth’s encircling mantel of rock is broken and a whole chain of volcanoes springs up. In the ensuing chaos war breaks out and helicopter gunships are attacking not fortifications, but people. Someone in Iran panics and hits the red button and atomic cataclysm breaks loose triggering clouds of radiation. Does that begin to capture in more literal terms what these verses might be depicting?

But I want to focus on vv. 20 and 21 printed above. If things like I have just described above happened, wouldn’t people everywhere repent en masse? The Word says not. Because the price is too high. The text says that they will not “repent of the works of their hands” and then begins to speak of the practice of idolatry. Idolatry is an attempt to manipulate this world to supply my needs. It puts my needs, and my capacity to meet my needs through “my hands” in the forefront of life. When that happens, people who get in my way have to be removed, “murdered,” in one way or another. When that happens, indulging my desires in any way I can is “natural.” When that happens, I have a “right” to any stuff I really want. But if I were to repent, to turn around from that way of life, what would I have left? The Enemy adroitly whispers “Nothing!” Of course, that’s a lie, but people who have lived this way all their lives are more than ready to believe it.

The truth is that lifelong choices finally become so ingrained within us, that nothing can make us change. So, the word for you and me is, repent NOW! Don’t imagine that you can take care of yourself. Don’t make your needs primary. Surrender your life to your Creator who loves you, who knows your needs better than you do, and can meet them better than you can. Don’t make your life the sum total of “the works of your hands.” Make your life “the work of his hands.” Then, if there is anything to repent of in the last days, you won’t have any trouble doing it.

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