READ: Revelation 18:1-24
THINK: Considering the apparent wealth and prosperity of many people in the world, it's easy to dream of getting in on the action--particularly if you feel that you're missing out. But even those who enjoy worldly "success" seldom seem to be satisfied. That's because worldly wealth often comes at the expense of one's own integrity. Being on top of the world typically involves defying God and destroying people in the process. That's why God despises the world's way of achieving prosperity and success. This passage clearly displays the Lord's hatred for businesses and governments founded on greed, dishonest gain and oppressive power. Eventually He will repay those who live in selfish luxury and pleasure. Since they refused to be humbled by His mercy, they will be humbled by His judgment.
RESPOND: How is "Babylon the Great" portrayed in this chapter? (See 18:2 note.) In what way does it collapse and why? How does this show the instability and futility of the world's value system? Why and in what way must God's people separate themselves from this corrupt system? (See 8:4 note.) What will determine the degree of suffering and punishment that will come upon the corrupt world system and those who gained wealth and power from it? (See 18:7 note.) How swiftly will the corrupt and ungodly world system come to ruin (vv. 8-10, 17)? How will world leaders and influencers react to "Babylon's" demise (vv. 9-17)? (See 18:9 note.) Why will God judge the world system in this way? In what way does the corrupt world system merchandise (i.e., use, buy, sell out) the "bodies and souls of men" (v. 13)? When "Babylon" is judged and destroyed, how will the reaction of God's people in heaven differ from the reaction of people on earth? (See 18:20 note.) How will these reactions stand in contrast to what many of God's people experienced on earth? What will happen when the present world system is finally destroyed? (See 18:21 note.) When will this ultimately happen, and why must the world's system be completely destroyed forever?
PRAY: Pray that you won't envy worldly wealth and prosperity that come from selfish desires and ungodly methods. Ask God to help you never use people to promote your own purposes. Give God thanks that His economy ensures complete justice and eternal reward in the end.
ACT: Are you using or taking advantage of anyone in a way that could be construed as selfish or inappropriate? If so, stop this behavior immediately, ask God to forgive you, and apologize to those involved. If in any way you're overly concerned with money, material things, status or success, adjust your priorities accordingly. Back your decisions with practical actions, such as putting extra money toward godly endeavors like missions, rather than material things.
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