Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘Habakkuk’

Contingency Plan

What should one do when disaster strikes?  When one’s own nation is sinking and enemies are about to invade, when total crop failure are imminent and the financial system collapses?  No, this is not about the present day (though it very much applies!).  It’s about the situation in the Jewish nation of Judea 2600 years ago, shortly before it was overthrown by Babylon.  Habakkuk, God’s prophet, complained first about the corruption in his own nation and then about the drastic measures (foreign invasion) God was going to use to address it.

At the end of this short book of the Old Testament, Habakkuk acknowledges God’s power and wisdom, and he prays a beautiful prayer.  I want to adopt for myself his threefold response to impending disaster:       

1) Wait patiently for God to set things right.
2) Rejoice in the Lord. 
3) Find my strength in God no matter what the circumstances. 
     (Notice how God is the focus in all of these!)

I will wait quietly for the coming day
   when disaster will strike the people who invade us.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
   and there are no grapes on the vines;
   even though the olive crop fails,
   and the fields lie empty and barren;
   even though the flocks die in the fields,
   and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights.  (Habakkuk 3:16b-19)

What if…

Habakkuk is famous for his statement of hope in the the face of impending calamity .  First he describes the total devastation of all the staple foods of his land, then he switches the focus to his all-sufficient God and holds it there. 

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength! 
(3:17-18)

How might we paraphrase this for our day?

Even though drought burns up the crops of the Midwest
and super hurricanes devastate coastal cities;
even though the stock market crashes, 
our jobs disappear and fuel grows scarce;
even though mysterious diseases run rampant
and nuclear war breaks out;
(and all the other horrible things we imagine and fear)—
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign LORD is my strength!

AMEN!!  Rainbow

Why Do Rocks Cry Out?

What sense of justice did God weave into the earth itself when He made it?  I find four times in the Bible when an inanimate thing “cries out” in protest:

In Genesis 4:10, Abel’s blood cries out to God from the ground where Cain has spilled it.

In Genesis 18:20, God had heard an outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah about their grievous sin.

In Habakkuk 2:11, the stones and rafters of the Babylonians’ homes would cry out because of their excessive cruelty against the nations that they destroyed. 

In all of these, there is a moral outrage that demands—and receives—divine retribution on oppressors.   

Luke 19:40 is different.  If the cheering children are prohibited from praising Jesus, the stones would have to cry out and do it. 

The expression of God’s glory is as much of a moral mandate as is the justice due to oppressed people.  Elsewhere we read of the heavens declaring God’s glory and the trees of the field applauding.  But His ultimate praise is from the mouths of humans He’s created.  Is that why at times I just have to burst out in song?  Smile

The darker the night…

A diamond is most effectively displayed against a black background. 

Total darkness is needed in order to see the stars in all their glory.

This gem shines in the center of the bleakest of books, as Jeremiah wept over the total devastation of his beloved land:

The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

And Habakkuk’s triumphal climax arises from a scenario of total ruin:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
  (3:17-18)

Lord, help me to remember that my little candle can make a bigger difference as the darkness closes in around us.  May it shine brightly until the dawn of Your return!

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