“No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.”
Revelation 22:3-5 NLT
The word “curse” isn’t commonly used in Western society today. If it is, it would be in connection with some sort of expletive. In other societies, curses are taken much more seriously. So what is a curse? A dictionary definition is “a solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something”. But in the society in which I live, anything to do with the supernatural is discounted or even ignored.
Moses warned the early Israelites about blessings and curses. We read in Deuteronomy 30:19, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Moses listed the pre-requisites for living a life of blessings, and the consequences of making the wrong choices.
In the New Jerusalem, curses won’t exist, because everyone by definition will want to live God’s way. But curses became much more widespread after the sin committed by Adam and Eve. Snakes became cursed (Genesis 3:14). The ground became cursed (Genesis 3:17) and a previously fertile environment became difficult to grow anything, thorns and thistles abounding. So we look around at our world today in sadness. Isaiah pointed out the consequences of sin. We read in Isaiah 24:6, “Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive.” Paul pointed out the difficulties being experienced in the created world around us. We read in Romans 8:22, “For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” In the Spring, I’m always excited and impressed by the explosion of new growth. Fresh colours. New life. And I remind myself that if this is a world under a curse, how amazing it will be to see a New Earth with the curse removed.
The verses today continue with a wonderful description of the relationship between God and His servants, that’s us pilgrims when we get to join Him one day. We will see the face of God – something that has always been denied mankind. His name will be a part of us, written on our foreheads. And He will shine on us.
There will be no doubt as to who we follow when we get to Heaven. But what about now. Today. Will the people we meet know who we follow? We may not have God’s name tattooed on our foreheads, but will His light reflect from us into the lives of others? Bringing hope to the hopeless? Bringing healing to the sick? Showing the way to eternal life? As servants of God, will our lives reflect our worship of Him? It’s not just singing songs in church or genuflecting at an altar. Our worship of God extends into our everyday lives. How we treat our wives and children. How we behave in the office or school. What we say on social media. We may not be specifically holding out our arms, or be on our knees, in an overt act of worship to God, but worship is all about honouring our Father in Heaven. Keeping His name holy. Bringing His influence to bear in everyday situations. In the supermarket. On the bus. We pilgrims are His servants and His ambassadors here on Planet Earth. We enjoy a little bit of Heaven’s Son-shine, but are we reflecting it to those around us?
Dear Father God. We worship You today. All other gods pale into insignificance in the light of Your glorious face. Amen.