Was God just being capricious?
Did Babylon just draw the short stick? Was it God’s day to shoot lighting at the Babylonians1? Did she get zapped because God was in a bad mood? No, that is not it. The gods of Greek mythology behave that way, but they are mere figments of a devil-fired, human imagination. The right way to interpret scripture is to study what it says. With that in mind look at verse 6. The voice from heaven said, “mix a double portion for her in the cup she has mixed” [emphasis mine].
Babylon’s judgments grew out of Babylon’s judgments.
She held a cup mixed with a vicious approach to others including Christ followers. As she judged others she would be judged. My parents would say, “be sure your sins will find you out.” Others speak of karma, or “what goes around comes around,” or “chickens come home to roost.” I don’t know what your family told you along these lines, but I bet that concept makes sense to you. Babylon figured she could play the odds better than all others. She figured that the chickens won’t find their way to her roost, but then again she was not considering that she was playing a game with an all-powerful, all-seeing, person-interested deity: God.
In life that stretches to the eternal God is the one who metes out the judgments. He sees all the way down to the level of motivation grasping without difficulty or obscurity the details of choices made, the way people mix their lives. From that clarity he offers mercy and grace. When mercy and grace are accepted but not paid forward a powerful odor rises up, a gong clangs and a great stone of retribution is set to rolling. It may bump and chase for years and decades, but it grows ever closer and will eventually crush those it was rushing after.
God does the judging…we do the trusting
While some Christians have to wait for eternity to experience their reward not all do. Some will see a reward rise around them even while their feet still walk the earth. The same goes for the wicked. Flames of problems will lick up around many of them as their first payment. Then the double payment of eternal judgment shall hit with none to rescue.
Christianity teaches that all will come out in the end. The road to the end has a lot of pot-holes and many people Christian and non-Christian alike will break their axles driving over and through the pot-holes of life. That being said, God is not naive nor delinquent. He is right on his own time. In the lesson on Revelation 18:1-5 we made note of the following: “It must be good if God said it.” In this lesson we find that we should also say, “God’s timing must be perfect if he is doing it that way.” It is our job to let it be, fussing not. As our pastor, Mark Sterling, once said in a sermon of his we do well to shift our self-talk from “I have to trust” to “I get to trust.”