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#199 – The Seduction of Immorality and Idolatry (Revelation 17:6)

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Revelation chapter 17:6. It says, “When I saw her, I marveled greatly.” Now who’s the her that he’s talking about here? That John, who’s writing the book of Revelation is talking about? Well, that takes us actually back up to verse 4, which describes this woman who is arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup. The whole picture here is of a woman who in many ways evokes marveling and attraction and awe. Verse 7, in Revelation chapter 17, says the angel said, “Why do you marvel? I tell you the mystery of this woman,” and then begins to talk about how this woman represents all of the seduction and evil and idolatry and immorality in the world. Even this golden cup in her hand is full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.

Satan entices us with that which looks good, but in the end

sin leads to death.

The picture here in Revelation chapter 17 is an alluring, enticing picture of immorality and idolatry, and this is the way sin works. This is the way temptation works. This is the way the devil works. It’s not like the devil comes with a red suit and a pitchfork and says, “Hey, do this, and you’ll experience death.” No, the way sin, temptation, the devil works is he allures, he entices us with that which looks good, that which marvels our eyes or our desires, and seems to promise that which is good, seems to promise that which satisfies. We want that. Something that we might desire.
The whole picture here in Revelation chapter 17 is a reminder to us that sin is appealing. It’s enticing, and we need to run from it. In our lives today, we’re all tempted in different ways, and we’re tempted in ways that look like this would be good for us. Think this, desire this, say this, do this, decide this, run after this, and you will be happier. You will be more satisfied. It will give you what you want, when it doesn’t. It doesn’t. We need to hear Revelation chapter 17 just shouting out over and above the enticing beauty, so to speak, of immorality and idolatry. It doesn’t satisfy. It’s not beautiful.
God, we pray for your eyes when we look at the world around us. God, help us not to be allured in our lives. I pray this in my own life today. I pray this for people who are listening to this. God, help us not to be allured by the enticements of immorality and idolatry around us. Specifically, even here, sexual immorality, but then idolatry and all kinds of forms and ways, and immorality that tempts us. God please. Please, please open our eyes to see that it doesn’t satisfy. Sin never leads to our good. God, help us to see that. Change our thoughts, change our desires, change our words, change our lives, that we might live in a way that glorifies you, in a way that we run from sin. Help us not to flirt with it, toy with it, rationalize it, and help us to run from it today, and experience true satisfaction, true beauty that’s found in obedience to you, in holiness before you. God, may that be so in our lives. Keep us, we pray, from marveling at the ways, the temptations of this world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt
David Platt is the president of the International Mission Board (IMB), Teaching Pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington D.C., and founder of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Follow Me, and Counter Culture.
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