Where is God when things go wrong?

habakkuk-2-ptr-vetty-gutierrez-10am-morning-service-1-638

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.

But…

IN CONTEXT– When the prophet COMPLAINS of God’s INACTIVITY, God gives him an ANSWER that distresses him even more.

JUDGMENT!!!

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!

WATCHTOWER
WATCHTOWER

(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.

So…

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…

Several years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida, a little boy decided to go for a 1437516296_0ccededa8aswim in an old swimming hole behind his house.

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).

So…

GOD REVEALS THE FAITHLESS PATHS THAT THE COUNTRY IS ON:

polls_Wrong_path_0727_660578_poll_xlarge

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.  

SO…

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!

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CREDITS:

Photo Credits by,  Photo Pin & Google Search – Images; Melinda Todd (Isaiah 45:2).

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

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“When the Roll is Called Up Yonder!”

ISAIAH 2:2-5:

[2]  In the last days the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.

[3]  Many peoples will come and say,  “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”  The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

[4]  He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples.  They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

[5]  Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

[New International translation]

THE TEMPLE – (verse 2 a.):

SOLOMON'S TEMPLE -Artist's Rendition
SOLOMON’S TEMPLE -Artist’s Rendition

Solomon’s Temple was built on the mountain of the Lord, Mount Moriah, highly visible to all the people of Jerusalem.

[For more on the Temple’s significance, See 2 Chronicles 3-6].

“In the last days…”

Bible prophecy is much like peeling an onion.  As you peel the onion, it gets stronger the farther down you go and at the same time, each layer is significant in its own right.   This certainly applies here in Isaiah.  [https://theworddetective.wordpress.com/2012-03-13/peeling-an-onion:-the-many-layers-of-biblical-prophecy/.]

Revealing the Core
Revealing the Core

 

 

VERSES 2-5–“A Hymn of Hope for Zion”–

This is the looking forward to the “someday” of the LORD.  In the Old Testament, the “someday…” had reference to a time of the victorious interposition by GOD for the overthrow of the foes of Israel, e.g. Isaiah 2:12.  [Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary.]

Then in VERSE 6…HOPE is dashed in fragments:

Surely [LORD]  You have rejected and forsaken your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled  [with customs]  from the east and with soothsayers [who foretell] like the Philistines; also they strike hands and make pledges and agreements with the children of aliens.  (Amplified Bible)

THE WORLD TODAY:

VERSE 6 can be talking very much of the world today, where the church has largely abandoned its people.  The indifference of Christ’s teaching is diminishing as we allow, even encourage the teaching of foreign religions.

We sing songs proclaiming that we will not serve foreign gods, and society still encourages others to do so.

THE RESULT?  

We have a growth in the Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Eastern and mystical worship in our society and a confusion of belief.  Even church leaders talk about acceptance and incorporation of foreign worship into the worship of the One True God!

Exodus 20:3, 4 – King James Bible:

Thou shall have no other gods before me.  Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Living In Today As Christians…

There will be a tomorrow, and a sense of tomorrows after that.  We’ve rested on our laurels; do we really believe Christ will return for His people?  Christ’s second coming becomes empty, a set of words which gives us comfort, becomes diluted, has little meaning.

THE SOMEDAY OF THE LORD – another layer of the onion revealed–

The day of the LORD will come…

JESUS has promised it… (Matthew 26)

The prophets foresee it…

The apostles affirm it…

Malachi 4:1, 2 a – NIV Bible:

“SURELY THE day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day this is coming will set them on fire,”  says the LORD Almighty.  “Not a root or a  branch will be left to them.  [2] But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings…

Joel 2:30, 31 – AMPLIFIED:

And I will show signs and wonders in the heavens; and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.  [31] The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood BEFORE the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.

WE NEED TO  KEEP WATCH– 

“What!  Are you so utterly unable to stay awake and keep watch with Me…”  (Matthew 26:40).

The Greek word “watch” is Gregorio; translated means: “spiritual alertness”; “be vigilant”.  [i] See Footnote.

Keeping WATCH of World Events Occurring…

Matthew 24:6-8:

[6]  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.

[7]  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place;

[8]  All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birthpangs  [of the intolerable anguish].

Our attention these days is being focused on the trials and problems of our own lives; the increasing interest rates, inflation, negative equity for mortgage loans, increasing personal debt in America.

I read this week in my WORD STUDY investigation, an article entitled Debt Slavery:  30 Facts About Debt In America That Will Blow Your Mind  [ii] See Footnote.

“When your finances are dominated by debt, it makes it really hard to ever get ahead.  Incredibly, 43 percent of all American families spend more than they earn each year.  According to the Federal Reserve, median household debt in America has risen to $75,000.

MEN AND WOMEN IN THE LAND…

Across the land people are working hard in offices, factories, schools, etc., just trying to keep up…forgetting sometimes to WATCH!

Matthew 24:41, 42:

[41]  Two women will be grinding at the hand-mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

[42]  WATCH therefore, for you do not know in what kind of day [whether a near or remote one] your LORD is coming.

You may be sleeping in your bed, and some will be taken…and some will be left behind.  These are the words of JESUS himself!  We ignore them at our peril because a great and terrible day of the LORD is coming.

THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD  (Isaiah 2:3):

GOD  WILL JUDGE (Verse 4), and we shall have to stand before Him.  The Big Question is,  “in what frame of soul will we stand there?”  

As the story of our lives are REVEALED, what will you be thinking?

What matters even more…the Book in Jesus’ hands, the Lamb’s Book of Life–Revelation 20:12

The Book of Life
The Book of Life

“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”

IF our names are written there, have NO FEAR…for all of our past sins, our failures will be washed away.  Our past has been nailed on the Cross at Calvary.  We’ll be standing in WHITE ROBES, washed in the Blood of the Lamb!

Perfection is Attainable!

Here lies the great JOY that one day we will know:  PERFECT LIGHT–PERFECT PEACE–PERFECT JOY–PERFECT LOVE–in the eternal presence of GOD!  Nothing can take that perfection away from us, absolutely nothing!

Do you find yourself sitting on a pile of poop these days?

“Job was stuck on his dung hill”

I’ve been reading in my devotion time in the mornings, about the life of Job.  Living as I do in “dairy country”, I’m quite familiar with cow “dung.” You can see it, smell it every time one takes a walk in the morning or evening.

Job’s family had mainly been killed in tragedy.  His wife was against him and his best friends could only tell him he was in this situation because…he was a terrible sinner and GOD was punishing him.  FRIENDS can be that way sometimes, well-meaning as they may be.

Still… Job could say, in the middle of it all…

Job 19:23-27 – NAS Bible:

“Oh that my words were written!  Oh that they were inscribed in a book!  That with an iron stylus and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! 

“And as for me, I know my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes shall not see another.  My heart faints within me.”

In spite of his present circumstances, Job could confidently know and say,  “I KNOW MY REDEEMER LIVES,”  “IN MY FLESH I WILL SEE GOD.”

Rev21_1_New_Jerusalem_Gustave_Dore_L_Sotka_2012IN THE “LAST DAY” A New Jerusalem–Revelation 21:2:

“And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband;”

Do you have the same confidence of Job?  Do you know on the last day of judgement, your Redeemer lives; that you’ll see Him with your own eyes?

You can know it, right where you’re sitting.  All it takes is for you to accept Jesus Christ as your LORD and Saviour.  He will stand there with you… and for you as your advocate.

I know I’ll be standing there, when The Roll is Called Up Yonder  for the children of God  [iii] See Footnote.

Yes, our past is nailed on the Cross at Calvary, but our future is tied to the RISEN CHRIST; the RISEN CHRIST who is going to return for His bride, the Church.

JESUS is coming again…

An old hymn I used to sing every sunday morning, while the choir came from the basement of the church, into our places on the platform.  It was a song written and composed by John W. Peterson:

Coming again,  coming again;

Maybe morning, maybe noon, maybe evening and maybe soon!

Coming again, coming again;

O, what a wonderful day it will be,

JESUS is coming again!

But will you be ready?

Or, will you’ve been diverted into the concerns of this world?  That doesn’t mean, using the cliché,  “We’ve become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use.”  

There will be a day…

When JESUS is standing with you as your ADVOCATE–claiming us as His own!  So, when “the Roll is called up yonder,” will you be there?  Just come to JESUS as you are, and claim Him as your own!

The Bride of Christ--The CHURCH
The Bride of Christ–The CHURCH

 

PHOTO CREDIT: The First Temple – Solomon’s Temple from the Jewish Virtual Library.org/…/The-Temple.html.; New Earth, New Jerusalem ONION STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY – http://www.inmagine.com;  christimages.org/biblebooks/Book of Revelation.html.

Footnotes:

[i]  Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary;  

[ii] Alex Jones’ INFOWARS.COM

[iii]  Title for this Blog came from:  Words & Music by James M. Black, 1893 cyberhymnal.org/htm/w/h/e/whenroll.htm.