February 22, 2018

I Prefer Revival

By: Larry Shaffer

She’s the love of my life!!! Happy Birthday today to my precious bride of 35 + years. She has a tender heart toward those in need, is gracious, kind and feels deeply. She doesn’t realize how much she has taught me and pushed me to care more, act more and be more. Plus, she looks beautiful even with cake on her face!

Habakkuk 1

What do we know so far? The prophet has been praying that God would bring about a “change of heart” among the Jews in the land of Judah. The nation had devolved into a wicked, violent and sinful place. We would do the same thing as Habakkuk did, wouldn’t we? America isn’t Israel and doesn’t have the same national blessings of God the way God called and blessed Israel.  Nevertheless, we pray for our nation the way Habakkuk did for his. So, imagine the shock Habakkuk must have felt when God said, no, I am not going to bring about a change of heart through a spiritual revival. I am going to use the Chaldeans to bring judgement and use the Chaldeans to forge a change of heart in Israel. After all, there’s a bi-lateral covenant between God and Israel. God has been true to the covenant and Israel has not. Therefore, God is obligated to take Israel through a time of cursing. Yikes, this isn’t all that fun for me to write. I bet it’s not all that fun to read either, is it? There’s a good chance you are not compelled to forward this devotion to a friend. Nevertheless, my motivation is to ingest the whole counsel of God and to learn from it and have it effect my life. It’s OK to struggle with certain aspects of God’s nature. It’s OK because He’s deeper than we are and His ways are not our ways.

It’s not fair

Habakkuk struggled with God’s response (as we sometimes do) and asks God the following in 1:12, “Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, My Holy One? We will not die. You, O Lord, have appointed them to judge; and You have established them to correct.” Habakkuk didn’t fully understand God’s plan, but he did cling to what he knew. Based upon God’s promises of the past, he knew Israel wouldn’t be annihilated. However, judgement is coming so this scenario caused Habakkuk to enter a further line of questions. V13 says, “why do you look with favor upon those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?” This is a reasonable question. In other words, why do You give the wicked Chaldeans favor in warfare against a more righteous people such as Israel? He continues with descriptive analogies along the lines of ‘why do you allow your people to be stomped on the way a creeping bug would be stomped on without any regard for their life? You allow Your people to be no more valuable than the fish of the sea. The Chaldeans will hook them and drag them away in their nets without a thought of the value of a human life.’ Lastly, why give favor to the Chaldeans when they give themselves glory only in themselves? They give no honor to God!

My arms are too short to box with God

These are good questions. If I were watching this debate in real time, I might start nodding my head in agreement with Habakkuk. So, God, how You going to answer that??? We will consider God’s response next time. Most likely God will sway me back toward His side. Amen!