Why Some Repent
Do you know why some repent and others do not? How do you explain the widely differing responses of people to the severe adversity of God’s judgment? The answer is clear in Scripture.
Today’s reading: Haggai 1-2; Revelation 16
14 And the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the Lord of hosts, their God, Haggai 1:14
8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. 9 They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. Revelation 16:8-9
During Haggai’s time, the people of Judah in captivity in Babylon had been allowed to return to Jerusalem. They had settled down and begun to build their comfortable and fashionable homes. Haggai was sent to tell them that God was not pleased with their wrong priorities. They had left the temple in ruins while they focused on their own houses. God sent them drought. The crops failed.
The message of Haggai and the failure of the crops seemed to get their attention. But in the case of the people living under the outpouring of God’s wrath by the seven angels of Revelation 15-16, there is a completely different reaction. No matter what bowl of wrath is poured out the people do not repent and give God glory. They do not recognize His power and their sin. Their response is completely irrational. The only exception is the voice coming from the altar who give God the praise for the display of His justice and power (Revelation 6:9-11).
Adversity, in and of itself, does not produce repentance. As the bowls are poured out and one judgment is piled upon another, the cursing of God continues without diminishing. How do we explain this insane attitude toward the Sovereign and Holy God? Why did the people in Haggai’s day repent after a crop failure while the people of John’s vision dig in and curse God? The difference is that “the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people.” This turned them to obedience and service to rebuild the temple.
Do not expect repentance and praise to God to come from rebellious sinners unless the Lord stirs up their hearts. Pray that God may show mercy to those who are under His wrath by not only sending adversity and a messenger with the gospel, but by also stirring up their hearts. That is why some repent and others do not.