Thursday, April 25, 2013

Nothing New

Violence is nothing new to us, just as it wasn’t new to Israel in Habakkuk’s time.

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! (Habakkuk 1:2)

So, we’re not the first to wonder why it appears God is not hearing, is not saving.

Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. (Habakkuk 1:4)

God did answer:

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. (Habakkuk 1:5)

An answer that Paul was inspired to repeat in an Antioch synagogue:

Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you. (Acts 13:40-41)

Even when God’s work is promised, declared openly and laid out simply in order to be understood, it is not believed. Israel knew this from Moses’ time, which included the loss of an entire generation that failed to follow God’s direction into the promised land.  Do a comparison between what God requires of us and how people respond.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40)

All the law, all the preaching, all contained in just a couple of verses. Nothing onerous, nothing beyond the capability of any one of us, yet we all fail and require God’s grace.

It is not God who does not hear, for He has provided salvation. It is mankind that ignores, and eventually pays the price for that ignorance. Just as Habakkuk saw the vision that was to come, the price to be paid for disobedience:

When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: (Habakkuk 3:16-17)

He was able to see God’s mercy and salvation:

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18)

Can we see ahead and still rejoice? Do we acknowledge His salvation? Do we accept that we need it?

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