Mourning Kings

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.””
Revelation‬ ‭18:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Let’s work backwards, starting with Babylon, the global secular, materialistic and evil religious system. Any allegiance to God was sacrificed long ago on the altar of a global economic trading and social system that delivered more and more luxurious goods and hedonistic practices. “If it feels good just do it” is the increasingly strident cry echoing round the corridors of societies everywhere. There are no limits to the depravity of mankind. Shame and guilt have become forgotten words and emotions. But a series of catastrophes, a.k.a. the plagues, dismantle and destroy what had been built by the “kings of the world” under the directions of the beast. 

Nations all over the world were now in shock, and their leaders, their kings, were suddenly facing into a situation that left them bereft of the lifestyles they had previously enjoyed. A global economic crash totally beyond any previous experience had put them back to the survival days of subsistence farming and bartering. And the charred, smoking remains of banks, shopping malls, the vestiges of a previous age, literal and symbolic, smouldered on. Terror and mourning replaced immorality and luxury. And it all happened “in a single moment”.

But it was a different story for the pilgrims still alive at this time. Their mourning was turned into dancing. They remembered Psalm 30:11-12, “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Pilgrims remember also the prophecy from Isaiah 61:2-3, “He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favour has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory”. Yes, God’s people still alive will be suffering too from the collapse of the world system, from the death of “Babylon”, but they take the long view. They would soon find themselves in God’s presence.

Dear Father God. Thank You that worldly commerce will not find a home in Heaven. Your Kingdom is built on pure, holy and proper foundations. we’re eternally grateful. Amen.

Joyful Dancing

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever!” Psalms‬ ‭30:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In this Psalm, David writes about the various problems he has encountered. His enemies are giving him bother. He has become seriously ill, almost to the point of death. He has suffered financial challenges. And he ends up pleading with God for mercy. Put in those terms, it seems he suffered in a way that is not unknown in lives today. During this pandemic, people have become sick, to the point of death. Loss of employment has led to money problems. And just as in David’s case, suffering people end up in a place of mourning. A natural response.

But David ends the Psalm with the realisation that God has the answer, the remedy, to his problems. He doesn’t say that God solved all that had gone wrong, bringing healing, and restoring his prosperity. But David does move into a place of joy, realising that in God there is no place for mourning. Easy to say, but there is a key here. As we set aside the problems and instead focus on our wonderful Heavenly Father, offering Him our praise and thanks, then we will move from a place of sadness and mourning into a place of joy and worship. Perhaps even to the extent of joyful dancing. And find there is so much more to thank God for. Amen?