"As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so give her alike measure of torment and grief..."
"The city is doomed! Run away! RUN AWAY!!" That's the essence of Revelation 18. 'Babylon' is going down, says God (note: Babylon is actually a code for Rome - the early church couldn't speak openly against Rome, so they disguised it as Babylon!). Then follows a long litany of offenses she has committed. In verse 7, God says part of her sin is because "she glorified herself and lived luxuriously."
Now, I don't know enough about ancient Rome to speak on their self-glorification and luxurious living (and I didn't get to watch the HBO series on Rome, either! lol). But I do know about MY LIFE. I think we humans (or is it we Americans?!) have a tendency towards self-glorification. We want to be recognized... to get the credit when we do well... to be "right" in our discussions/arguments... to feel important. A healthy dose of this is fine, but when we go back for seconds & thirds, believing the lie that "it's all about me!", then we lose sight of the rest of the world around us, and our interconnectedness. And of course, we here in the US like to live luxuriously. We are one of the wealthiest nations in the world. We live in abundance & excess. My trip to the Philippines recently reminded me of this. Most of the world doesn't live like us. We have a responsibility from God to be mindful of that, and to do what we can to share with others.
PRAYER: I don't want to live life as though it's all about me, Lord. Help me with humility and generosity. Help me to live in harmony & partnership with my brothers and sisters all over the globe. AMEN.