We can refuse grace!
Scripture reading for December 26th: Revelation 8-9
As Revelation chapter 8 begins, the seventh seal was opened in heaven by the Lamb. This seal reveals seven angels who have seven trumpets standing before the throne of God. Another angel, who had a golden censer, stood at the golden altar right in front of the throne and was given incense to offer. We are told that this incense was the prayers of the saints. Our cries, worship, adoration and thanksgiving have a special place close to God’s heart!
God responds to our prayers! The angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the golden altar and then hurled it to the earth. This act produced thunder, lightning and an earthquake! Then the angels with the trumpets began to sound them one by one. With each trumpet blast, there was a corresponding reaction on earth that brought judgment and destruction. As John watched the first four angels and the events on earth, an eagle that was flying in midair spoke in a loud voice. “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the last three angels.” (Revelation 8:13)
The fifth trumpet sounded and John saw a star that had fallen from the sky. This star was some sort of angel for he was given the key to the Abyss. When he opened it smoke rose and darkened the sky. Out of this smoke, creatures like locusts with the sting of a scorpion covered the earth. They were instructed to sting only those without the seal of God. Their sting brought horrible suffering but not death, although death was desired by the bitten!
The sixth trumpet brought the release of four angels of death who were bound by the river Euphrates. These angels brought death to a third of mankind. They loosed what looked like an army of mounted troops numbering two hundred million. These troops killed the third of mankind with plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur. Even this display of mighty power did not cause any of the rest of mankind to repent of their demon worship, idolatry, murder or sexual immorality! Sin has power to harden us so that we refuse God’s grace. Check your heart today!