February 20, 2018

The Debate Continues

By: Larry Shaffer

Here’s a birthday message & pics to me from Brooke when she was 10 years old and I was 40!

Habakkuk 1:5 and following

The debate between Habakkuk and God has just begun. Who’s going to win? What do you think are the Vegas odds here? Habakkuk started from a selfish place of asking, or I could say, whining about why God doesn’t hear and respond to his prayers. Habakkuk was sick of the escalation of wickedness, debauchery and sin in his nation. Why is God indifferent?

Why doesn’t God change their hearts, bring a revival of morality and ultimately bring glory to Himself? Seems like a good plan to Habakkuk, right? He is thinking, after all God, these are Your chosen people and they represent you on earth. They are making a mockery of You. Do something!

You won’t believe it!

God is going to do something. God responds to Habakkuk and He responds in a way that shocks him. Verse 5 is God’s opening line. “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days you would not believe if you were told.” God provides a dramatic intro to a shocking revelation. In the following verses, 6-11, God discloses His plan to respond to Israel’s complete moral and religious collapse. He is going stir up the Chaldeans, a godless and evil people, to attack and ravage the Israelites. God describes them as a “fierce and impetuous people.” They are “dreaded and feared” warriors who raise their boys from childhood to be heartless, stone-cold killers. They are bent toward evil, they fear no one, they laugh at kings, they swoop in and ravage cities, they kill and take the spoil and then move on to the next. V8 says, “their horses are swifter than leopards, and keener than wolves in the evening. Their horseman come galloping, their horseman come from afar, they fly like an eagle swooping down to devour. They are dreaded and feared. Their justice and authority originate with themselves.” They are godless people whom God is going to use for His purposes. So, God is going to use evil for righteous purposes???? Yes, you heard me. God is going to us evil men for His own righteous purposes.

Where’s the love?

So, let’s take a moment to rationalize what’s happening, if that’s possible, and I don’t know that is? God’s attributes are many and they all work in synch within Himself so that He is fully righteous altogether. Righteous in its simplistic meaning is that He only does what is right. When we take all the ingredients of His attributes, put them in a bowl, mix them up, what emerges is righteousness. God is always right. However, let’s face it, it takes some faith to believe this, does it not? Case in point; the text before me in Habakkuk this morning. Where’s the love? Where’s the grace? Where’s the mercy?
There’s a principle of biblical interpretation that states, “scripture helps interpret scripture.” So, we can go to Acts 13 where the apostle Paul quoted Habakkuk 1:5 in one of his sermons. Now that’s cool. When God gives us other passages to understand the difficult passage before us….now that’s cool. Maybe Paul can give us some insight. I’ll pick that up next time.

Lord, there’s a warning for us here. Let us not wander from You. Let us stay close to You. May we humbly gather under Your wings of comfort, care and protection. May our hearts be bent toward You and our minds set upon Your truth and Your precepts. We have nothing to fear when we stay close to You. Draw us and our loved ones close to You. Amen!