Day 12

The Seven Bowls

from the Revelation reading plan


Revelation 15:1-8, Revelation 16:1-21, Exodus 15:1-18

BY Erin Davis

When it comes to how to respond to the righteous judgment of God, we only have two options. We can worship in wonder or we can wave a rebel fist. There is no middle ground, no gray area, no third option. Just worship or rebellion, reverence or revolt.

Here, in Revelation 15–16 we see a picture of the wrath of God poured out. It’s a terrifying image, bowls filled to the brim with the righteous judgment of God. As squeamish as God’s wrath may make us, deep down, we know He is justified. We look around at mankind and inwardly at our own wicked hearts and must repeat the cry of heaven:

“They deserve it!”…
“Yes, Lord God, the Almighty,
True and just are your judgments” (Revelation 16:6–7).

Notice that in these passages, no one is arguing with God’s justice. No scales are needed to weigh and consider the justice of God. Over and over we read that these grisly judgments are in line with a fair and true God. This is justice in its purest form. And yet it’s possible, even when His justice is deserved and devastating, to choose insurrection over His goodness and mercy. Though the judgments certainly take center stage here, there is still an undercurrent of the people’s rebellion within these passages:

They “blasphemed the name of God… and they did not repent and give him glory” (v.9).
They “blasphemed the God of heaven… they did not repent of their works” (v.11).
They “blasphemed God” (v.21).

Consider those pummeled by the final bowl of wrath. Though buried under hailstones weighing a hundred pounds, they still shook rebel fists at God. If we are honest with our own hearts, we see that our own rebellious streak runs just as deep. Our own eye for justice is just as distorted.

But God, in His infinite mercy has unclenched our rebel fists. We are shielded from God’s ultimate judgment and are now “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Instead of continuing in rebellion, God’s grace has taught us to respond like Israel when the nation witnessed God’s wrath on Pharaoh and His men.

“Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said:

‘I will sing to the LORD,
for he is highly exalted;
he has thrown the horse
and its rider into the sea…

LORD, who is like you among the gods?
Who is like you, glorious in holiness,
revered with praises, performing wonders?’” (Exodus 15:1,11).

God’s righteous wrath isn’t all penned up for the Day of Judgment. Even now He judges the wicked. Even now He has the right to rule our hearts and lives. When face to face with His judgment we only have two options. Because He is so worthy, may we choose to worship the God who is just.

Post Comments (19)

19 thoughts on "The Seven Bowls"

  1. Angie says:

    Tina, I just read your comment from yesterday. Your worship is like Daniel’s…windows open for all to hear. Beautiful and so honoring to God. My neighbor will often sing worship songs at the top of her lungs as she mows – it is precious. I will sometimes, late at night or early in the morning, sing and/or pray to the Lord on our balcony. We have lots of Amish neighbors whose windows are usually open. Sometimes I can hear them talking, I’m guessing they hear me sometimes as well. My balcony songs are usually songs that I know…with an actual melody and tune. I can’t help but smile, and even giggle a little, when I think about my efforts to “make up a joyful noise” in praise and worship to the Lord and how thankful I am that God hears the tune of my heart. Worship is so wonderful.

  2. Sarah-Jane Beaudry says:

    I love that this study is happening so soon after Easter. I don’t know about you ladies, but as I read through Revelation I am so overwhelmed with thankfulness for my salvation! That because of His sacrifice, I won’t experience His wrath, even though I deserve it. He is so good to us!

  3. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

    This book of Revelation can be overwhelming. I certainly don’t understand all the imagery, but I do understand that God is merciful even in His anger. I don’t understand how people, when they can see and personally know the wrath of God, would continue to rebel against Him. It just boggles my mind. But then, I do the same. God loves me so much, I know that, but sometimes I just turn the other way and do my own thing.
    These chapters in Revelation cause me to sing praise to the Lord, but also to cry and be fearful for those who do not yet know Him as their Lord and Savior. Lord, fill me with Your Spirit, that I might continue to share you with all I know and come in contact.
    I am grateful for you ladies and your comments and insight. I’m also grateful to my Father who sent His Son for me so that I don’t have to suffer His wrath. Have a blessed weekend!

  4. Carrie says:

    Wow, I guess I’ve always been too overwhelmed by the magnitude of the what’s going on in Revelation and trying to keep up with angels / bowls / trumpets etc to stop and notice how strongly this section connects to the Exodus story and the plagues… I’d love to pause and learn more about that…

    Meanwhile, connecting it to God’s saving his people out of Egypt and his righteous judging of the false gods does help me to refocus on the Lord’s victory and provision for his own, instead of just stewing on how utterly TERRIFYING this all is…

    1. Tara HoltJackson says:

      Their 2018 Lent study is a study of Exodus. Might be worth checking out once done with this one! I went thru it, and it was/is AWESOME!

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