This week my daily devotions gave me great insights into the dangers of marveling. I believe I have mentioned that I am not so happy to arrive at Revelation 13 in my daily devotional reading because it focuses so much on that ancient dragon-satan-whose name I purposely do not capitalize. I can see the advantage of reading a text I don’t’ naturally like very slowly. Each day as I focused on a word or phrase from the text, I was able to notice a pattern of how evil gets a hook in us.
It begins with marveling after anyone other than God. Be careful who you find marvel worthy. In Revelation 13:3-4 it says: “One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’”
While many read this text and make predictions as to who this beast might be, how he came to have a mortal wound that healed, I don’t have any way of knowing so I don’t get sidetracked by it. What I do notice here is how subtly people are drawn into worshipping complete evil—the dragon—the one I would rather not even honor with my thoughts. God has shown me over and over in the Bible that I need to be aware of evil even if I don’t like it. While the people who marvel at the “beast”—the one whom satan empowered, and ask who is like him and who can fight against him? I am asking “Why do you marvel at satan’s power?”
Isn’t it because they marvel at satan’s beast and his mortal wound that was healed, that they lost their senses and worshipped him? Isn’t it because they worshipped the beast that they came to worship evil itself—the dragon? Isn’t it because of the beast—satan’s minion, that the people came to submit to satan’s power and believe the lie that no one could fight against this power?
There seems to be a flow here. Most people would turn away from pure evil. Why? Because we are created in the image of God and it’s that Imago Dei that can’t stomach right out evil. But you get hooked by a coconspirator who has a sensational story, and you allow yourself to lose touch with the truth that there is one God out there who created you in His image. You worship evil because it is so powerful-even over death, and you fail to realize that there is an answer to your question of who can fight against the beast? There may not be a human on the earth at the time this verse is referring to who is greater than the beast, but there has been a Divine human who lived on earth and died in the most unimaginable way to become a sacrifice needed to reconcile us to God. My questions are who can compare to Jesus Christ and who can fight against Him?
The only one who is truly marvel-worthy is Jesus Christ, and God His Father, for coming up with the idea of eliminating the evil the dragon brought into the world through His life, death, and resurrection. If you do not marvel at the cross, then worship Jesus and God through the Holy Spirit, you will not understand who can fight against the dragon and his accomplice-the beast.
The bottom line of this description for me is to be careful of what you find marvelous because at some time you will end up worshipping it and that worship will lead you to worship satan and find his power irresistible when it has been resistible all along through the armor of God (Ephesians 6) and as 1 John 4:4 records: “ Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”