I don't spend a lot of time on the apocalyptic stories in the Bible. I am much more concerned about what I will do this day to further the kingdom on earth. In fact, my attitude has been more of not worrying about what happens and instead living the life I am meant to live during my brief time on earth.
But, maybe I'm missing a big part of the story. God does not waste a lesson learned. Every action, every story, every seed planted in the Bible has a specific reason for existing, and all of it is meant to make His purpose known to us, or if not known, at least give us direction toward that end. So, how much of Revelation am I meant to understand and how can I use these verses, including today's reading, in my everyday life?
As pointed out by the other devotional writers of this week, repentance is a big part of Revelations. Certainly this book, more than perhaps any other, paints a compelling picture of why we should repent. If we don't or can't repent for repentance sake, then surely we will if we are faced with the demons painted in this book. Every chapter is full of gruesome explanations of horrible things that happen for those who fail to repent. So one of the most important lessons of this Book is to repent.
But the Book of Revelation is also a book of hope. There is no question about what happens to the faithful - they reach their ultimate home with God. Revelation further establishes God's power over everything evil and His absolute ability to protect and shield his believers from those things. He promises that there will be no more darkness for those believers - only the perpetual light of God.
Now that is something worth striving for.