TEXT for this Blog: Habakkuk 2:1-20
This weeks blog-post all began with a question my nephew-in-law proposed. He was commenting on and trying to get a discussion started on Facebook. Now there’s a challenge.
The QUESTION: “If God is real, why would he create us to watch us destroy ourselves and the world?”
It was interesting to read some of the comments and answers to his question–which in turn, prompted me to search out answers found in God’s Word: Where IS God when things seem to be deteriorating all around us?
When you ask a question, what do you want?
I know what I want–I want an answer! Not only that, I am fussy. I would like the right answer as well!!
In the Book of Habakkuk, we notice right away, there is a DIALOGUE going on between the prophet and God. In today’s religious circles, we might call it, CONVERSATIONAL PRAYER (I do, anyhow).
We can plainly see that Habakkuk is looking for ANSWERS from God. As he watches the faithlessness of his nation’s people, he wonders why God doesn’t change it.
So, HABAKKUK complains about God’s seeming lack of concern.
IN CONTEXT– When the prophet COMPLAINS of God’s INACTIVITY, God gives him an ANSWER that distresses him even more.
God is going to send the wicked nation of Babylon as an instrument of judgment. Now that is definitely NOT the answer Habakkuk was looking for.
In fact, he finds it hard to believe that God would use an even more sinful and evil people to establish His righteousness (Do you know any people, leaders who you think could be evil?).
For Habakkuk, this seems inconsistent. It doesn’t make sense. But he doesn’t give up on God.
Learning to Wait!
(verse 1): “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the rampart; I will look to see what He will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” [N.I.V. Bible]
GROWING CONFIDENCE –
Proverbs 3:5 Amplified Bible:
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
“WATCH” = a military term.
HABAKKUK CONSIDERS HIMSELF A MILITARY MAN THAT LOOKS FAR OFF –
The Need for a Better Perspective–
At this point, Habakkuk is reserving any more comment until he understands. For as confusing as he thought God’s INACTIVITY was, His ACTIVITY is even more confusing.
So Habakkuk comes to the conclusion that not ALL WORKINGS of God can be understood by our own reasoning. He would agree with Solomon when he wrote:
“TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART
AND LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.”
HABAKKUK MOVES TO THE HIGH TOWER –
What a great vantage point in getting yourself above and away from the world’s distractions. Habakkuk is no longer doing all the talking–he’s listening! He is no longer arguing–“Why not?”–“What for?”–he is submitting.
God Responds to Habakkuk’s Waiting (verses 2-3)…
“And the LORD answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by. For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day.”
God wants His ANSWER to be permanently recorded because… of future generations who are going to read it (or, should read it).
God says, ‘Mark my words! Mark it down!’
I love God’s last statement. Oh, how impatient we get for answers to our prayers. God literally says, “Though it delay…it will not delay.”
Simply put; Though the timing is not ours…it is not a delay in God’s timing. He is in control!!! There are not random circumstances.
Our CONFIDENCE on Display –
How can we become CONFIDENT in our asking?
GOD IS MERCIFUL:
God gives us a contrast here in Scripture: BABYLON thinks that they are powerful, but in reality, foolish.
God wants us living by FAITH–
It is not what I do that puts me in right standing with God; I will never be good enough. But instead, I need to LIVE A LIFE of Dependence on God.
– WE MAKE IT BY FAITH.
– WE MAKE IT LIVING IN ASSURANCE of God’s Grace.
When we are not living by FAITH, God, in His MERCY will go to extraordinary means to get us there! I don’t know about you, but that sure gives me CONFIDENCE!!
God is always working for our best. The truth is, however, when God works for our best interest, often we go through a very painful process of acknowledging the TRUTH.
AN “ALLIGATOR STORY” –
It takes DISCIPLINE going through the process…
Being in a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind his shoes, socks, and shirt on the floor.
He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an ALLIGATOR was swimming toward the shore.
His mother–in the house was looking out the window–saw the scene unfolding before her eyes. In utter fear, she ran toward the water yelling to her son as loudly as she could.
Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed, making a U-turn to swim to his mother.
IT WAS TOO LATE!
Just as he reached her, the ALLIGATOR reached him.
From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by his arms, just as the ALLIGATOR snatched his legs. The incredible tug-of-war began.
The ALLIGATOR was much stronger but the mother was much to passionate to let go.
A farmer happened to drive by and heard her screams. He raced from his truck, took aim, and shot the ALLIGATOR dead!
Remarkably, after weeks in the hospital care, the boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred and on his arms, were deep scratches from his mother’s fingernails that .dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
A newspaper reporter interviewed the boy after the trauma and asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, said to the reporter, “But look at my arms. I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my Mom wouldn’t let go!”
We Have Scars, Too!
Some of those scars are from our own foolishness because they are unsightly, causing deep regret.
But some wounds are because of God, in His Mercy, has refused to let go! He will go through extraordinary means to get us where we need to be, even if it’s PAINFUL.
WE CAN BE CONFIDENT BECAUSE GOD IS MORAL (verses 5-19) –
(verse 14): “But [the time is coming when] the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
God desires to REVEAL Himself…
As we know Him better, we discover He is holy!
When we know God, we understand HIS STANDARD. He is a holy God and rightly condemns SIN.
Throughout this section of Chapter 2, we find the description of SIN as practiced and lived by the nation of BABYLON.
God is telling HABAKKUK that He knows they’re bad–they are evil. And yet, God’s own people were headed down the same PATH.
God hast to stop them, discipline them. get them back where they belong…LIVING BY FAITH! They needed to be a people who live by faith!! (2 Cor. 5:7; Eph. 2:8; Heb. 11:6).
GOD REVEALS THE FAITHLESS PATHS THAT THE COUNTRY IS ON:
HEADING DOWN THE WRONG PATH IN OUR LIVES:
THE PATH of GREED (5-8):
Babylon is never satisfied. It is always gathering and collecting for itself; It makes itself rich carrying out material pursuits in a way that shuts out all other concerns.
THE PATH OF INJUSTICE (9-11):
I found it interesting in my studying, the verses that the road from righteousness changed direction to a path of wickedness. A Nation full of people who are outraged by the SIN around them. And yet, they’re still characterized by INJUSTICE because they tolerate the SIN that is within them. They not only sin against others, but also sin against themselves.
This is the type of INJUSTICE that is spoken of here:
It’s the breaking of one’s own MORAL CODE.
A PATH OF SENSUALITY (15):
HEARTS that are adrift in sexual permissiveness–
There exist a carelessness in the society during Habakkuk time; of sexual activity, instead of seeing it in its proper sacred place (Sound familiar?).
Finally, the PATH is one of…
DOWN THE ROAD OF IDOLATRY (18-19):
SIN doesn’t go unpunished (verse 16)–
Babylon was serving the creature rather the Creator.
They sought their own substitute which demonstrated their own ignorance of REALITY–
– It was a god of their own making…
– It was a god in their own image…
Yes, there were deliberate failures made when it came down to God’s standards, but they too would learn. SIN doesn’t go unpunished.
And this was the message that God has for Babylon (16):
“You will be filled with shame and contempt instead of glory…”
Their own SIN will find them out! God is going to have the last Word!!
GOING DOWN THE RIGHT PATH gives the confidence we need:
WE CAN FIND CONFIDENCE IN GOD BECAUSE HE IS MAJESTIC (20)
Note the end of God’s MESSAGE to HABAKKUK in verse 20:
“But the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth hush and keep silence before Him.”
GOD is very present!!!
– IN HIM WE LIVE & MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING!
We may try to shut Him out, ignoring His purposes over our own. THE FACT remains–GOD IS THE WITH-US GOD!
WORSHIP IS FOR GOD ALONE –
We continue to be creative in searching for the answers we seem so desperately need in our daily lives.
Perhaps, we are more spiritual in following certain preachers religiously.
Perhaps it is PLEASURE that we really worship or the accumulation of things, with the thinking that, “He who dies with the most toys…wins.”
If you wonder in your WORSHIP, and realize that God is in His holy temple–
CONFIDENCE BUILDERS FOUND IN WORSHIP:
The Lord our Creator, our Redeemer, and the self-existing, everlasting, un-caused cause lives…
No one makes Him…
He’s not a conceived and developed concept…
He is not controllable or manipulated…
In Majesty, He reigns.
WORSHIP IS FOR GOD ALONE, EVEN WHEN WE DON’T UNDERSTAND HIM.
Where is God when things seem to be going wrong? When it’s not going the way we expected…
It is time to trust; time to live by FAITH…
For…this is how the JUST live out their lives, they LIVE BY FAITH and not by sight!
Photo Credits by, Photo Pin & Google Search – Images; Melinda Todd (Isaiah 45:2).
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible, except where noted.