And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
The Bible records for us two opposite, yet related, events where men are afflicted by sores:
The first event is recorded in Exodus 9:8-11…
“And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.
And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.”
In this event, sores were placed upon men by the Lord as PUNISHMENT FOR WILLFULLY REBELLING AGAINST THE LORD in refusing to release the Israelites from Egyptian captivity.
The second event is found in Job 2:7-8…
“So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.”
In this event, sores are placed by Satan because Job was SUBMITTED TO THE WILL AND WAYS OF THE LORD with His life.
Folks, from all outward appearances both the affliction of Job, and that of the Egyptians, was the same. However, when we study these accounts more closely, we can see these are, in actuality, opposites in their origin and the motive behind their dispensing.
What can we learn from these two examples? The need to refrain from making judgments about why times of hardships come upon others.
In some cases, hardships come upon people due to sin in their life. It is the Lord trying to get their attention and show the suffering one the need to repent of their wrongdoing. However, in many cases, hardships come into the life of those who are faithful to test, strengthen, and prepare them for upcoming areas of service. Many times hardships come upon us to move us into greater levels of willingness to sacrifice ourselves for Him.
Folks, when we place judgments upon others who are suffering, we are pridefully saying that we can, with certainty, discern God’s will and ways. As fallen human beings, we cannot begin to understand the parts of His will and ways that are not revealed to us in His Word. By making assumptions about His will, we are committing blasphemy against our Lord, by placing ourselves in the same level as He.
Isa 55:8-9 KJV – “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Folks, when we see others who are suffering, may we not judge the purpose of that suffering. Let’s not use their affliction as an excuse to gossip and speak ill concerning them to others. Let’s not use their suffering as an opportunity to bring past sins they have committed to light, or to do anything to harm their testimony and reputation.
Instead, may we all humbly seek to help those in need through prayer for the suffering; a willingness to render help and comfort to those in need; and seek to live our lives in such a way as to show the love of Christ through our actions to those who are living in pain.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: