Point of Inspiration: Devotionals for Personal and Corporate Worship

Robert D. Pace

The book of Revelation describes the “Great Tribulation” as a time when God’s wrath is unleashed against rebellious men. For over 2000 years God’s grace will have appealed for man’s repentance, but during the Tribulation he unleashes judgments upon a generation much like Noah’s—depraved and unrepentant. Moreover, the Four Horsemen are unleashed, vials of wrath spill forth, horrific earthquakes rattle the land, meteorites descend, and the seas heave with ferocity. Man has picked a fight with God and he is outmatched for the showdown. Yet, during this time of retribution God commands an angel of wrath, “do not harm the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6:6). Why this prohibition? Why the restraint? It’s because God is sending a coded message. This command shows that even the climactic moments of God’s wrath appear with mercy. The Lord never forgets man’s frailty, and his provisions for “the elect” remain steadfast!

It’s interesting that in various places Scripture uses “oil and wine” to symbolize that which is essential for living (Deuteronomy 7:13; Hosea 2:8). In the Old Testament, the Prophets taught that Jehovah used it to supply for man’s basic needs; in the New Testament the Good Samaritan poured in the “oil and wine” for the beaten traveler’s recovery. Thus, when Revelation depicts God’s wrath poured out with unequalled vengeance, and yet preserves the “oil and wine,” it demonstrates how God’s grace provides for the survival of the redeemed ones amidst a generation of woefully wicked sinners.

What about you? Are you surrounded with sins, failures, and wrong choices that make you feel unworthy of God’s provision? Do you sense you have forfeited a legal right to claim God’s purpose for your life? Remember something: The ancient Israelites did not claim the Promised Land or God’s blessings because of their “righteousness or the uprightness of [their] heart” (Deuteronomy 9:4-5). The Bible makes it clear that God granted blessings to Israel for the sake of His Name! And God always fulfills His promises to preserve the integrity of His Name–even for you! So lift up your head, God has preserved the “oil and wine,” even now, for your well-being. Praise Him for His promises, for His name is “Faithful,” and He will stand by His Word.