John sees a second beast, which “performs great sings, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth” (13:13,14). Just thinking here . . . We are so easily confused and mistaken. When things get bad, we think they have never been worse. When things are good, we tend to think they have never been better, or that the prospect is for the best it’s ever been. Satan can use such deception to great and harmful effect. For instance, when things are really bad, and we conclude that everything is hopeless, we take our eyes off the Lord. But we need to remember that he never comes down off his throne. He is never not in charge. He is never surprised. He is never weakened. And never are his plans and purposes ultimately thwarted. When the really bad times arrive, we should be looking to God and resting and trusting in him, knowing that he is still at work to accomplish his will.
When things seem really good, we need to be careful that we do not get so caught up in the abundance of the moment that we fail to look to God ultimately. Also, we can become so ecstatic that “something new” is about to take place, that if it doesn’t, we become desperately discouraged. We need to keep an even keel always, remembering that God is always at work. Always, he has his people and is raising up even more. Always, he is putting the pieces together for the accomplishment of his end goals. Perhaps this text in Revelation is not particularly concerned with the matters about which I am writing, but the notion of Satan and his deceptions just got me thinking along these lines. Always rest in God and trust him, no matter what!
Guide me, O my great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but you are mighty;
hold me with your powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore. -- William Williams (1745)