Out of the stovepipe from hell – opened by Satan himself – came locusts. God had handed humanity over to those who would destroy it. At least, he handed over those who did not have the seal of God. He handed over those who persisted in idolatry and sin.
The description of the locusts is perplexing. They looked like horses ready for battle. They had crowns on their heads. Their faces were like human faces. Their hair was like women’s hair. Their teeth were like lions’ teeth. They had breastplates of iron. The sound of their wings sounded like chariots and horses rushing into battle. And they had tails like scorpions.
If you saw something like this, how would you describe it? What is it? Is it a horse, a human, a woman, a lion, a scorpion – or something else? A locust?
This is a mixed up kind of a creature. Things that don’t normally go together are joined together in this image. It is both confusing and scary.
Maybe a way to look at this is that things that don’t normally go together were thrown together in these “locusts.” Things that can’t happen seem to be happening in these creatures. Things that shouldn’t be mixed together – at least not in God’s good created order – are mixed together. Lines are blurred. It is chaotic. And frightening.
And people are tormented by these things. This is the way of Satan. This is the way of the world.
The horrors of the Apocalypse have a lot to do with God handing the world over to itself and to its leader, Satan. Like in Romans 1, the “wrath of God” seems merely to be God’s permitting Satan to do what Satan wants to do and, of course, permitting humans to continue to do what they want to do. Paul wrote God “gave them up” (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).
Sin, of course, is the taking of God’s created order and his law and breaking it. Our own desires oftentimes create confusion in our hearts and minds just before we sin. We’re all mixed up.
I can’t help but notice how confusing the world can be at times. And this is where my thoughts went I as I read Revelation 9. We are good at bringing confusion into our lives, and the world (under Satan) is good at bringing confusion into our lives as well.
I’ve found this to be something worth mulling over. When have I experienced fear, doubt, confusion in the last day or so? On the flip side, when have I experienced confidence, stability, and certainty? As I look back on those moments, what kinds of spirits were at work in my life in those moments? This might be a good exercise for you today, as well.