READ: Revelation 16:1-21
THINK: Considering some of the horrendous events described in Revelation, many people have difficulty understanding God's love in light of His judgments. But just a glimmer of God's perfect character and infinite goodness exposes the terrible reality of sin and how repulsive it is to God. It corrupts His creation and destroys people's lives. God's love and justice demand that sin's penalty be paid. His Son, Jesus, paid that penalty with His own perfect life. For now, God extends the opportunity to personally accept that sacrifice, receive forgiveness and escape the judgments to come. But one day, God will rid the world of all traces of corruption and banish from His presence those who held on to sin and chose for themselves a destiny of destruction.
RESPOND: What is God's "wrath"? (See 16:1 note.) How do "the seven bowls of God's wrath" relate to the judgments initiated by opening the seals (6:1ff) and blowing the trumpets (8:6ff)? (See 16:3 note; see 6:1 and 6:12 notes about how these series of judgments unfold in an overlapping, concurrent manner.) What justice will be served by the waters becoming like blood (v. 6)? How would you respond to someone who had difficulty understanding how a loving God could send these judgments on the world? (See 16:7 note.) What do these plagues demonstrate about God's character, and how will people respond to them? (See 16:9 and 16:11 notes.) How will the bowl judgments affect the antichrist's world government? (See 16:10 note.) Who will be influenced by demonic spirits, working with and through Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet (v. 14)? (See 16:13 note.) What will happen among world leaders during this time? (See 16:14 note.) What climactic battle will take place "on the great day of God Almighty"? (See 16:16 note.) When will this battle occur, how will it come about, and how will it end? What "natural disasters" take place near the conclusion of this time and what devastation will they cause (vv. 11-21)?
PRAY: Give God thanks for His ultimate love and justice, and for exposing the horrendous nature of sin by displaying His perfect justice against it. Thank Jesus for His perfect sacrifice that provides forgiveness and freedom from sin.
ACT: Do all you can today--even going out of your way--to show love and kindness to people you know who have caused opposition or grief to Christians. If they react harshly or indifferently, respond graciously. If they outright ask you what you're doing, don't hesitate to let them know that you're trying to do what God desires and to be more like Jesus.
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