What an incredible description of the new heaven and new earth. Reading about gold so pure it’s clear like glass, and all these precious gems and stones, and pearls as big as gates practically blows my mind. I’m intrigued, but somehow I can’t relate. It’s hard for me to get excited about these things because I’ve never had much in the way of gold or jewels.
But, when I read the part in verse 3 and 4:
3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. For the old world and its evils are gone forever.”
Sorrows, pain, goodbye, rejection, abuse, crying – these things I can relate to. When I think of heaven, the absense of these things is what gets me excited. And, like I heard about last night in the Tampa Wildmen, my reward, like that given to Moses, will be the actual physical presence of God, not the gifts (as nice as I’m sure they’ll be).
The other thing in this chapter that caught my attention is found in verse 8:
8 But cowards who turn away from me, and unbelievers, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those who practice witchcraft, and idol worshipers, and all liars – their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.
Look at this list again. These are descriptions of horrible, utterly despicable people. But look again at what the list starts with. Cowards. I remember the first time I heard this (I think it was in a John Bevere study) – it really struck me. Cowards are at the top of the list of those rejected by God.
What is a coward? It has something to do with fear, no matter how you describe it. Dictionary.com defines coward as “one who shows ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain.” This is not a fear of God, this is fear that doesn’t come from God. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the enemy – these things God hates.
It’s high time we Christian men took a stand and understood who we are in Christ. It’s the only way we’re going to reach other men, who are, for the most part, turned off by what they see happening in the Christian church. Did you know that the Muslim religion is the fastest growing religion on the earth? Did you know that more and more men (especially non-middle-eastern men) are converting to Islam? Why? Men admire the stand that men take in this religion.
Lord, give me the ability to see who I am in You. Let me see and understand how you’ve wired me up to not be a coward, but a bold and mighty warrior in your army, a prince and a son of the most High God. Help me to encourage my brothers to do the same. Fill this planet with powerful, effective Christian men that have no fear, but the fear of the Lord.