Out of Control

Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. Habakkuk 1:5-6

This is God's response to Habakkuk's complaint. God was raising up a very specific group of people who were feared and hated among God's people. Think about that. It was almost as if God were saying, “Yes, Habakkuk, you see evil now but wait until the Babylonians come to town. You ain't seen nothing yet. AND I'm raising them up to do just that!”

The longer I'm a Christian, the more puzzled I become at some of the things God allows to happen. Of course there are the indescribable atrocities occurring in foreign lands (mass rape, genocide, children being used as sex slaves), but we don't have to go far to see what God allows. We too shake our heads and question the rightness of it all.

But this was God’s point to Habakkuk. Of course Habakkuk wasn't in control of events around him. God was. As the world seemingly spins out of control, God still is in control. He knows what He's doing. We need to be reminded of that often.

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Habakkuk: The Reverse Prophet

The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received: How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore, the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. Habakkuk 1:1-4

How many times this year have you felt this way?? This opening passage could have easily been written last week. Habakkuk (and every generation since) has experienced the utter despair at the violence and injustice occurring all around. He seemed frustrated at his inability to do anything about the corruption and conflicts.

Normally a prophet received a message from God and delivered it to a people. With Habakkuk, the reverse is true; he is speaking on behalf of the people to God. Habakkuk is an honest seeker of the truth, perplexed by the evil and injustice around him. He knows God is still around but carries a "boy, wouldn't it be great if He actually did something about the evil" attitude.

God is stirring hearts all around you. He is stirring yours. He wants to continually draw you near to Himself. Forget about the evil and injustice and terrible things happening in the world today. What is He saying to you? Today. Right now.

Listen. What is He saying to you?

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They Won’t Understand

The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing. Psalm 112:10

Have you ever had a non-believer look at you in disbelief at something you did or couldn't do because of your beliefs? I've had that happen on a number of occasions. They simply cannot figure out what's making you tick at the moment.

When I lived in Mongolia, drinking three shots of vodka "to the bottom" was standard fare among any group of people. Early in our stay there we had decided that drinking in Mongolia would be disastrous for our Christian witness. It was a personal belief based on the out of control drinking we saw wherever we went. So, I was at a party and one man across the table had downed his three shots of vodka and reached across the table with the upside down shot glass, indicating it was my turn to do the same. I refused. He held it there. I still refused. Others around me said I was offending the host. To put the matter to rest, I addressed the host, “Sir, can I still be your friend even if I don't drink a drop of vodka?” He nodded. I held out my hand and said, “then please let me be your friend without the vodka.” I held it there as the man sitting in front of me held the shot glass in front of me. The host shook my hand and his head, then explained in Mongolian what I had told him.

You will possibly be misunderstood for what you believe and your belief in God. People won't “get” you. That’s okay. Continue to make clear and thought out stances. Continue to fear the Lord, much like the entire Psalm 112 exhorts us to do.

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Hoard No More

[Blessed is the man who fears the Lord]…He has scattered his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever. Psalm 112:9

Search the Bible and you’ll see that God clearly has a special place for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the foreigner, and the downtrodden. Entire laws were written to protect them from the ruthless and uncaring. And rightly so.

Without question, God has compassion on the poor. He had compassion 4000 years ago when He wrote the laws, and He has compassion now in the crazy world we live in. He knew about the poor then and He knows about them now. And verse nine still remains: [the man who fears the Lord] scatters his gifts to the poor.

Again, I’ll relate it to the times we live in. As the economic downtown continues, our tendency will be to hoard as we have fewer resources. It will then become more and more important for us to be generous in our giving, and in our giving to the poor. Hopefully God’s people will be able to lead the way in generosity. God will show us how we should then give.

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God’s Pilot Light

[Blessed is the man who fears the Lord]…His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. Psalm 112:8

There is an entire multi-billion dollar industry built around Security. Whether it's security for your home, your car, finances, or even as simple as your computer, we all want to feel secure. But as we're beginning to see, the security we once knew in America is unraveling, especially in the financial markets. Everyone is looking for a secure place to park their hard earned dollars. Even the experts say there is no place to hide that’s full proof.

But when we trust in God, our security is different. It is safe and solid with nothing to fear. Well, in an ideal world, that is. We let fears and worries creep into our thinking, sometimes to the point that it immobilizes us. Deep inside, though, like a pilot light in a gas stove, we have God’s security to lean on during those insecure times. It's always there; it's always on; it's dependable. We need only to call out for that security.

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