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By: Larry Shaffer
Today is my birthday (turning 59) so I thought it would be a good day to post the picture and flyer Leigh produced to invite friends to my surprise 40th Birthday Party.
Habakkuk speaks first in this debate between the prophet and God. “How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and You will not hear?” Ever felt that way? The prophet begins by focusing on the situation from his point of view. Yes, the situation is dire in Judah. Sin and wickedness is rampant. It’s understandable, but the opening statement is about the prophet; how he feels and his perspective. Hey God, I cry for help and You don’t listen. You are not there for me. You devote Your time and attention to something else and not me. This approach is not advisable but we all do it, sometimes more overtly than other times. Habakkuk uses or infers “I”or “me” seven times in the opening three verses of his statements to God. We pretty much live life and view the world from our own perspective. I suppose, therefore, it’s natural for us to also view God primarily from our perspective. Think about that statement for a moment.
Me, Me, Me
Now, I shouldn’t be too hard on the prophet because his concern stems from the dire state of his people. He is praying for the nation and not for a bigger home or a new chariot. But as he continues, he remains focused on the problem from his personal viewpoint. “Why do you make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me, strife exists, and contention arises. Therefore, the law is ignored, and justice is never upheld.” Judah is in a terrible state. What is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. Common sense is overshadowed by immorality, violence and wickedness. Judah is worse than even the current state of America, which isn’t in such great shape itself.
Hello, is anyone there?
His prayers are that his people would change their ways and return to morality. He’s mad because God isn’t answering! Does he pray this prayer because he loves his nation, or does he pray it because he personally doesn’t like to live in such an environment? The former is outward focused toward the welfare of the nation and the latter is self-focused. My sense from reading the text is that he is focused on himself. In the next few verses God responds, and He doesn’t respond in a way that Habakkuk expects. More on that next time.
Lord, this study reminds me of how self-absorbed I am. Like Habakkuk, I’m often amazed that You don’t do what I want you to do, do it how I want You to do it and when I want You to do it. I humble myself before You this morning and ask that You guide me toward a Godly viewpoint on all things. I must know You to think like You. May I continue to learn from Your Word and know You more. As a result, may I think like You and live in a way to honors You. Amen!