Jonah or Habakkuk?

LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. Habakkuk 3:2b

This is an interesting and overlook-able four words right in the midst of Habakkuk‘s prayer to God. First he praises God for his awesome deeds, asks Him to make those deeds known, then he takes a twist and asks God to have mercy when He’s doling out His wrath. It’s almost as if Habakkuk’s saying, “go easy on those who can’t really see your awesome deeds!”

Contrast this with another prophet, Jonah. After Jonah preached to Nineveh, he sulked because he knew that God would spare Nineveh if they repented. And God did spare Nineveh (one instance of Habakkuk’s prayer being answered).

I find that I fall into Jonah’s camp of desiring God to completely destroy civilizations much more often than Habakkuk’s view that God should exercise mercy when He’s angry. It’s a tension we need to experience occasionally to keep our emotions and thoughts in check. It probably wouldn’t hurt us to err on the side of mercy.

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Go God. Do it again!

LORD, I have
heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our
day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.
Habakkuk 3:2

A number of years ago I saw a simple Ziggy cartoon. Ziggy was on a cliff watching a brilliant sunrise and said, “Go God! Do it again.” In childlike faith, the cartoon character expressed what we often want to say.

God, you are awesome!” This is the essence of Habakkuk‘s prayer. Like Ziggy,
Habakkuk is saying, “you did it before, there’s no reason why you can’t or
won’t do it again.”

Praising God like this seems like such a simple thing to do, but it’s a subtle
acknowledgment that we aren’t in control. And that’s not always easy because
we like to be in control. The more we acknowledge that we aren’t in control,
the better it will go for us.

Go, God. Do it again!

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Let the Earth Be Silent

You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the LORD’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.

The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed man’s blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

“Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.

Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.

But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” Habakkuk 2:16-20

The Lord continues his response to Habakkuk about how He would deal with Babylon because of her atrocities, and “it ain’t pretty!” He mocks wood and stone in verse 18. Today he could substitute green paper called “money”, and it would have the same effect. Money would give the same answers, which is to say, none at all.

There is nothing hidden from God’s sight (Hebrews 4:13). We know that. We’ve probably memorized the entire verse, but the worries and cares of life crowd us and we forget.

  • We forget that when we glance at the sun rising in the morning that Creator God caused it to happen.
  • We forget that every amount of injustice caused by others is seen and noted.
  • We forget that some of the most miserable and unhappy people in the world are the people who have fame, fortune, and looks in their favor (e.g., Hollywood).
  • We forget that God is continually trying to draw us unto Himself.
  • And lastly we forget that God will silence those who have opposed Him and mocked Him and spat upon His name.

Today, take a few minutes to be silent before the God of the Universe.

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On Our Watch

“Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
You have plotted the ruin of many peoples, shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.
“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime!
Has not the LORD Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 
Habakkuk 2:9-14

This is a continuation of yesterday’s verses on the judgment of Babylon and its rulers. And it could be straight from the headlines of some of the nations in the news today.

More than a decade ago, the nations of the world sat back as the small country of Rwanda was embroiled in what is now called “ethnic cleansing” or genocide. More than 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered in a period of 100 days. I say that the world sat back because it was happening in front of us and we toyed around with the word “genocide” because we couldn’t believe it was actually happening “on our watch” or we didn’t want to get involved.

Sadly, it is happening again in a few nations that do not get a lot of press. The region of Darfur Sudan is one such place. The Muslim Khartoum regime is slaughtering unarmed innocents in that region and the world debates the real meaning of the word “genocide.” The death toll is rising, though not as quickly as it did in Rwanda. Make no mistake, though, if nobody was watching or monitoring the situation, there would probably be nobody left alive in Darfur, and quite probably all of south Sudan.

Pray that the Church will continue to thrive and be a powerful force against Satan and his minions in Sudan. One day, as Habakkuk 2:14 states: the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

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Here Comes The Judge

Indeed, wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples. “Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying, ‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! How long must this go on?’ Will not your debtors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their victim. Because you have plundered many nations, the peoples who are left will plunder you. For you have shed man’s blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them. Habakkuk 2:5-8

God, in his response to Habakkuk, is describing the Babylonian King, and by extension, those who are arrogant. What God’s describing is really no different than the kind of society we’re living in today. Arrogance. Greed. Unsatisfied. Extortion. Murderous. Destruction. Because of these (and more), harsh judgment is on its way.

Even though Babylon will be bringing judgment against Judah, God saw Babylon’s arrogance and haughtiness. He sees what they’re about and is waiting to judge them as well. He has taken notice and will act in His time.

An old Russian proverb goes like this: God sees everything but waits. In other words, it’ll be okay because God is a righteous judge. We don’t understand God’s patience, especially when it comes to blatant evil. We want the judgment to happen now, or better yet, yesterday!

Be encouraged that there is a coming judgment, and The Perfect Judge will preside. No judgments will be too harsh; no verdicts will be too lenient.

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