A few months back a dear friend and prophet in my life challenged me to make wisdom my best friend, to go back to the Proverbs and meditate my way through the Proverbs – one a day. That was in February – so I have just started my fifth month of journaling a Proverb a day. What a blessed gift this dear friend gave me!
While reading through the Proverbs is a practice I have used many times over the years, the meditating and journaling are not. This is longest I have ever journaled on a consistent basis. All I can say is, WOW! I am reaping great rewards in my depth of understanding and communion with the Lord as I question and search and dig deeper and seek Him in the process.
I must admit I have had great difficulty with the chapters that put so much emphasis on avoiding the promiscuous, adulterous woman. I am not attracted to hanging out with or making promiscuous women my best friends, nor am I interested in becoming one. The Lord has been faithful to work in my life over the years to bring me to a place of truly understanding what it means to “give my heart” to Him. It has become a very literal act of faith and trust and walk of life. And while I may get sidetracked for a brief time, the Holy Spirit is alive and active in me and faithful to remind me to Whom my heart belongs! Promiscuity does not a place in one whose heart belongs to God.
So, what about all these warnings in Proverbs (both chapters 5 and 6 specifically) to stay away from the promiscuous woman? Well, as I have gone before the Lord yet again and asked why I need to read these chapters again and could He please give me something fresh and relevant – He has. He sent me to Revelation 17 and 18. In need of a wake-up call? Then go and read the book of Revelation, particularly these chapters.
I was pierced. I have been struggling for some time as I look at the church, the body of Christ, and see such disparity in lifestyles and particularly the tendency to hoard and focus on retirement savings and putting away for some undefined disaster that “might” take place in the future, while brothers and sisters are struggling to put a meal on the table for their families. And then there is the whole reaching out to others in need and showing them the love of Christ as we spread the Good News. Understanding God’s intent can be a struggle. I choose to focus on what He is directing me to do, living it out and practicing His Word to me, and then sharing with others wherever the opportunity arises. That’s how I cope with the disparity. I cannot answer for others, but I can answer for myself.
And then I read Revelation 17 and 18 and am convicted all over again. What is the church doing?! How are we breaking the heart of God because we do not heed His Word? How are we following after the world and living in the deception that pervades this world? Read the words of Revelation 18:1-20 – what do you hear?
After all this I saw another angel come down from heaven with great authority, and the earth grew bright with his splendor. He gave a mighty shout:
“Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen!
She has become a home for demons.
She is a hideout for every foul spirit,
a hideout for every foul vulture
and every foul and dreadful animal.
For all the nations have fallen
because of the wine of her passionate immorality.
The kings of the world
have committed adultery with her.
Because of her desires for extravagant luxury,
the merchants of the world have grown rich.”
Then I heard another voice calling from heaven,
“Come away from her, my people.
Do not take part in her sins,
or you will be punished with her.
For her sins are piled as high as heaven,
and God remembers her evil deeds.
Do to her as she has done to others.
Double her penalty for all her evil deeds.
She brewed a cup of terror for others,
so brew twice as much for her.
She glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so match it now with torment and sorrow.
She boasted in her heart,
‘I am queen on my throne.
I am no helpless widow,
and I have no reason to mourn.’
Therefore, these plagues will overtake her in a single day—
death and mourning and famine.
She will be completely consumed by fire,
for the Lord God who judges her is mighty.”
And the kings of the world who committed adultery with her and enjoyed her great luxury will mourn for her as they see the smoke rising from her charred remains. They will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will cry out,
“How terrible, how terrible for you,
O Babylon, you great city!
In a single moment
God’s judgment came on you.”
The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; things made of fragrant thyine wood, ivory goods, and objects made of expensive wood; and bronze, iron, and marble. She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, chariots, and bodies—that is, human slaves.
“The fancy things you loved so much
are gone,” they cry.
“All your luxuries and splendor
are gone forever,
never to be yours again.”
The merchants who became wealthy by selling her these things will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will weep and cry out,
“How terrible, how terrible for that great city!
She was clothed in finest purple and scarlet linens,
decked out with gold and precious stones and pearls!
In a single moment
all the wealth of the city is gone!”
And all the captains of the merchant ships and their passengers and sailors and crews will stand at a distance. They will cry out as they watch the smoke ascend, and they will say, “Where is there another city as great as this?” And they will weep and throw dust on their heads to show their grief. And they will cry out,
“How terrible, how terrible for that great city!
The shipowners became wealthy
by transporting her great wealth on the seas.
In a single moment it is all gone.”
Rejoice over her fate, O heaven
and people of God and apostles and prophets!
For at last God has judged her
for your sakes.
Babylon IS the promiscuous woman! While we do need to heed His words and stay away from lives and actions of promiscuity and adultery, there is a far greater and deeper warning in the words of these Proverbs. We need to look more carefully and search deeper to understand the warning God is giving us. Babylon is a spirit, an attitude that pervades the heart of the world. Babylon embodies the heart and intent of Satan, the great deceiver and destroyer of life.
Where are our priorities? What is it we are seeking from God? Are we seeking God Himself or the “blessings” we want from Him to “feel” fulfilled and worthwhile and respected by those around us? Are we partaking of the riches of this world and calling them the blessings of God? Are we in cahoots with Babylon and not even recognizing it? I believe the test comes with what we do with our “wealth” – do we cling and hoard and spend it on ourselves – or is it surrendered back to Him and invested in the Kingdom? Do we see ourselves as somehow more worthy than those who do not have the wealth, who are not receiving the “blessing” of God? Is it puffing us up or drawing us into greater humility and faith and challenging us to walk out Jesus’ call to go into all nations and make disciples of all men?
It all boils down to this: Are we consuming what is given or are we allowing God to pour it all out onto the lives of others as a sacrifice of praise and glory to His Name?
Oh, how I desire to please my Father and bring joy to His heart! I want nothing more than to be a vessel for His work here on earth! A jar of clay filled with this unmeasurable treasure! It is not about me – it is all about Him!!!
May your day be filled with the haunting of Almighty God as He draws you closer and calls you deeper into Himself!