In Revelation 9 we see a warning that describes a worldwide invasion of locusts: “Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power” (Revelation 9:3).
Satan himself is behind this terrifying swarm of locusts. Of course, these locusts aren’t real insects, they’re demon-possessed, Satan-controlled men: “Their faces were like the faces of men” (9:7). The locusts are described as men of war: “They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle” (9:9).
The image here is of an army of demonic tormentors, prancing like horses anxious to fight. Their “wings” imply that they can sting from the air and there is deadly power in their sting: “They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails. Their power was to hurt men five months” (9:10). In short, each of these demon-possessed men has the ability to sting, or poison, from the ground or air. This is no mystical allegory, it’s a real army.
The locust-men are given a limited time to do their tormenting work (see 9:5), which tells us two things: (1) terrorists will not be able to destroy America and (2) we need to be prepared for ongoing calamities. The whole world is shrouded in a cloud of fear and, sadly, it’s going to get worse for those who do not know the Savior.
God’s focus right now is on his own people; he is concerned with his church here on earth. His question is: “Are my people becoming more peaceful and at rest, even as the locusts rage on?” God’s desire for you is that you live all your days without fear. “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let them also who love Your name be joyful in You” (Psalm 5:11).
Those who trust in God’s promises to keep them can rejoice and find true rest.
“Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge” (Psalm 16:1, NIV).
The Lord is with us wherever we are: at home, at work, at church, while we’re shopping. He’s with us in our cars, on planes, on subways. David says that God is preserving us from evil, keeping us safe from attacks and disease — in short, God has promised to thwart every possible weapon formed against his children.
“Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers … Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet … I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence” (Psalm 140:1, 4, 12-13, NIV).
At the beginning of this psalm, David calls on God to preserve him from violent men. The word David uses for preserve here means to protect from what is concealed, hidden, secret. God is telling us, “I have every area of your life covered, even things you can’t see. You can surely rest in me.”
If you have trouble accepting God’s desire to preserve you, read Psalm 37: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand” (37:23-24).
God is preserving you because he has a purpose for you. He has laid out a divine work ahead of you that only a tried, tested, proven believer can accomplish. The attacks on the World Trade Center back on September 11, 2001, engulfed our society in fear and resulted in lukewarm Christians crying out to God as never before. Today we face new issues that are causing people to pray, “Lord, put a hedge around me. Walk with me, guard me, keep your eye on all my steps.” And God, in his faithfulness, is doing just that!
Paul tells us God adopted us simply because he loves us: “According to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:5-6).
You may say, “I know God’s Word says I’m accepted and I know Jesus gave me direct access to the throne of grace. But I’m too ashamed to draw near. I still struggle with powerful temptation and I still sin on occasion. The only prayer I can utter is, ‘God, help me.’”
Answer this simple question: Do you love Jesus? Are you his child? Is he your high priest who intercedes for you? If so, the Scripture says it doesn’t matter what you’ve done. You have the right to enter into his presence, to find all the mercy and grace you need. In fact, it’s at just such a time that he acts as your high priest.
“We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Christ is telling us, “I can discern your every thought, good or evil. I see every secret ambition, every secret lust and deed. Yet still I invite you to come boldly to my throne. I long to give you all the grace and mercy you so desperately need.”
Some Christians think their prayers won’t be accepted because they’ve neglected to pray for too long. For months, even years, God’s Spirit has urged them to come closer but they have built up a reservoir of guilt which made them neglect to pray.
“They go down again to the depths … Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm … Then they are glad” (Psalm 107:26- 30).
You can trust God to love, forgive and care for you even though you’ve neglected him. If you can forgive a loved one who has hurt you, how much more will our loving Savior forgive and bless you — his beloved child!
“War broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail … So the great dragon was cast out … he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).
We are in a war between two eternal powers: Satan’s principalities and powers, and God’s only Son, Jesus. This war started eons ago in heaven with the archangel Michael and an army of angels fighting against Lucifer and the rebellious angels who had aligned themselves with him.
Satan lost the battle and was cast down to earth with the other insubordinate angels (who comprised a third of all the angels of heaven) and he began waging war against God’s people. He appointed demon-possessed people to be prophets, teachers, even rulers of nations, and he sent them forth to spread his unholy “gospel.” But the devil had a problem. He couldn’t win converts through his teachings or persuade anyone of his gospel because it didn’t produce life or provide peace, joy or power over enslaving sin. So he had to resort to warfare.
The war Satan wages has always been against God’s people, those who believe and preach Jesus Christ as Lord. But our Lord is never caught off guard. He knows the end from the beginning and he knew Satan’s flood against the church had to be thwarted before it consumed them.
The Lord proclaims: “The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings … You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet” (Malachi 4:2-3). When hell seems to have won, heaven will cry, “Help is on the way. Don’t fear! The gates of hell will not prevail against God’s people.”
What a day it will be when evil men realize that the very name they tried to wipe out completely now stands before them as their Judge. Our Lord’s divinity will be undeniable and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
Jesus asked the twelve disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter answered, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29). May our answer be the same as Peter’s — and may that be our confession before the whole world, now and forever. Jesus has won the war!
“Early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them” (John 8:2, NLT).
Jesus’ reputation had spread far and wide because he spoke profound words and performed powerful works of God. Yet, no sooner had this crowd of commoners gathered than the religious leaders showed up.
“As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. ‘Teacher,’ they said to Jesus, ‘this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?’” (8:3-5). These leaders saw Jesus as a threat to their authority because he exposed their rigid, self-justifying practices and they were trying to trap him (see 8:6).
The scene unfolded dramatically. Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger and, as they continued to demand an answer, he stood up and said, “All right, let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped again and wrote in the dust — and the accusers slipped away one by one.
“Then Jesus … said to the woman, ‘Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more’” (8:10-11).
As Jesus defused a highly charged situation, he used the moment to deliver one of his most famous teachings: “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life” (8:12). God’s light in that moment altered everything!
Jesus transformed every heart present — what an amazing moment. The powerful love behind God’s grace was revealed and in the crowd’s eyes this was a miracle that immediately transformed them. Jesus used that stunning moment to teach about the cross: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand I am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me … Then many who heard him say these things believed in him” (8:28-30).
Every time you act as Jesus did, extending grace to those marginalized by sin, you take part in a great transformation. All through the amazing grace of our Savior!