Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wednesday, April 10th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Joshua 11-12, Psalm 72, John 4
Today's scripture focus is Habakkuk 1:12-2:1

12 Are you not from everlasting,
    Lord my God, my Holy One?
    We shall not die.
Lordyou have ordained them as a judgment,
    and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.
13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
    and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
    and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
    the man more righteous than he?
14 You make mankind like the fish of the sea,
    like crawling things that have no ruler.
15 He brings all of them up with a hook;
    he drags them out with his net;
he gathers them in his dragnet;
    so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net
    and makes offerings to his dragnet;
for by them he lives in luxury,
    and his food is rich.
17 Is he then to keep on emptying his net
    and mercilessly killing nations forever?
I will take my stand at my watchpost
    and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
    and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

David Legge's sermon: Watching and Waiting

So far we've seen that Habakkuk was absolutely distressed about the sin and violence that had taken over his people, and he was absolutely burdened by it, and he was desperately begging God to do something about it.

And God says, yes, I have seen it and I am doing something about it.  But then God gives Habakkuk the answer he did not want to hear.  God said that He was bringing the Chaldeans (the Babylonians) to destroy the Israelites.

And our passage today is Habakkuk's response.

He is shocked.  This is not the answer he expected at all.  He was wanting God to tell him that a revival was about to sweep the land, or that he would raise up a new king like Josiah had been, who would bring the people back to worshiping God.  He was not expecting judgment via Babylon.

And Habakkuk questions God.

God, You are eternal.   You exist outside of time, and You can see all of time right now, and so You know what will happen if the evil Babylonians come and attack us.

God, You are a holy God and they are even more sinful than we are, so why are You using them?

God, You cannot look upon sin with approval and yet You're going to watch them come annihilate us? What's going on?

God, our Rock, You are our stable rock of refuge, the cleft in the rock.  How could You destroy us?

Habakkuk knew the Babylonians would be judged.  He knew that.

Habakkuk knew that he and the rest of the Israelites were God's chosen people, as he calls God, "my God", "my Holy One".  And deep down he knew that God would draw His rebellious people back to Himself.

But he didn't see this coming.  He was unable to look at it from God's perspective.  And from Habakkuk's perspective it looked like abuse.  But from God's perspective it was discipline.

He felt like God was leaving His people to fend for themselves (v14) and that when the Babylonians came and swept them away (v15) they would praise themselves for the victory (v16) not knowing that they were actually pawns in the hand of God.

Habakkuk couldn't see past the rod of discipline to the love that was behind it.

But Habakkuk brought all those doubts, all those questions to God.  And then he said he was going to watch and wait until God answered him.

The truth is, we cannot understand God and His ways.  If we could, what a puny god that would be!  But we try to bring God down to our level.  We try to fit Him in a box and say this is the way it's supposed to be.  We need it to make sense.

The truth is, it doesn't matter who sins more, the Israelites or the Chaldeans, me or you.  We all sin.  The issue is, who repents?  The issue is, who turns to God to save them?

The truth is, sometimes we will feel forsaken.  That doesn't mean we don't know God.

Jesus knew God the father.  Jesus knew the plan of redemption.  Jesus knew that He would be born to die a horrible death on the cross. Jesus knew that the full wrath of the Father would fall on Him, in order to pay the punishment for our sin.  And yet, knowing ALL of that, when He actually experienced it He cried out - My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?!

Jesus felt forsaken by His Father.  He WAS forsaken by His Father.

We will feel forsaken too.

But then what will we do?

What were Jesus' next words?  Into Your hands, I commit my spirit.

Will we commit ourselves to God? Will we trust Him with our souls?  Will we lean on Him through the trials there are no answer to?  Will we trust Him?  Will we watch and wait?

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Habakkuk 2:2-4
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Joshua 13-14, Psalm 73, John 5

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