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The Rewards that Follow Suffering

What a blessing we have in God’s word to encourage us in our most difficult times. This morning, a passage from Revelation 14 has lifted my soul from weariness to hope, both for the strength I need today and the joy to come.

The main passage that stood out read:

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13)

Definitely, “rest” stood out as I’ve been crying to the Lord for rest from my pain, and the labors that follow. This passage follows an “encouragement” to the saints (v12), and this morning I feel like I see anew how it can encourage me.

The key to the rest begins with the blessed status and help that those who “die in the Lord” have uniquely. Those who will not die under God’s protection will suffer far worse. The verses after this describe those End of Days as akin to a great sickle harvesting wicked people like grapes ready to be pressed by God’s wrath.

“There is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

I can know right now my status concerning this wrath.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

God’s wrath has already been spent on Jesus to resolve the wrath on my account. This is huge! A huge work, and going back to our main verse, it becomes my central focus on the blessings that follow work, and how I can emulate Christ’s example.

I’ll paste it again with the last part emphasized:

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13)

Their deeds following them is one reason they are blessed. I think of Hebrews 12:2 and how Jesus was able to endure the cross “for the joy set before Him.”

Revelation 14 says we are blessed through Jesus’s works, and that the works He enabled us to perform will reward us in the future. Thank you God for the way your Word gives me rest through the bigger picture! And what better book to see that in than in Revelation.

There will be rest for the saints in the Lord. When the Sovereign Lord calls us to His glory, our work here will be done. The need to get out of bed when my spine is a razor’s edge will one day stop. Then the true rewards.

This passage encourages me in my faith to do works today that will be there when it really matters.

Prior to this I read Habakkuk and his vision of the future. Those who work to make idols of wood and expected them to speak will find that the strength of the flesh will fail them. Only God can save us with works that matter for our good. That first work was Jesus’s on Earth.

The blessings to follow can be present in your life today because Jesus’s work for you has achieved its purpose. John says that we are “purified” as we put our hope in Jesus’s work. So take the example to sing and serve in full faith that one day we will get rest to truly enjoy what’s been done for us, and what we’ve done to love the Lord and His cause.

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll

and to open its seals,

for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God

from every tribe and language and people and nation,

and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,

and they shall reign on the earth.”

(Revelation 5:9-10)

Then angels shout about Jesus:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might

and honor and glory and blessing!”

(Revelation 5:12)

Sometimes the loudest voice finds volume in faith and works. I pray you’ll see your strength for today in this way that God lives and gives life. For He is God of the living and the dead. With us always who are in Christ. It is always ultimately Him that we long for, and to please, even when the road feels long.

A clear picture of our future helps close that gap. By faith I am practically there in Revelation 5, singing because of Jesus being slain for me, and because I will one day enjoy life in His kingdom. That’s the life I really long for, and the better I do here, the better my life will be there. To God be the glory.

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