Scripture Reading: Revelation 9:20-21
20 But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. 21 And they did not repent of their murders or their [f]sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
The rest of mankind . . . still did not repent. . . .
God’s great story has a single purpose: to grow faith in the truth that he teaches so that people can have full life with him. It is not enough that we listen to the story or that we even know the story well. We need God to change and shape us through its teaching.
The Bible calls this change repentance. The need for us to repent is so essential that we hear it again in our reading for today.
This story helps us to consider how hard it is to repent and how costly it is to refuse the call to repentance. As difficult as it is to listen to the events unfold after each of the trumpet calls in the Revelation story, there is this sad and puzzling recognition that “the rest of mankind . . . still did not repent.”
Sin is addictive and deceiving. We desperately want to hold on to our “idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood”—that is, all kinds of things that distract us from paying attention to God and that we think will make us great or give us happiness. We hold on to these lifeless things rather than letting go to receive life from God.
What will you do as Jesus calls for repentance? He invites each of us to respond in faith to his promise when he says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Father in heaven, help us to turn around and to put our trust in you instead of in other things that cannot give us real life and happiness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.