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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Living By Faith

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. “See, he is puffed up; his desires are not right—but the righteous will live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:2-4

Perhaps the toughest job of a prophet was to foretell of future events without being able to witness them. Already in the first Chapter God foretold of Babylonia’s conquest, but there was an appointed time for it, and that time was not then (when he was speaking to Habakkuk). God told Habakkuk to write down the prophecy plainly. He is telling Habakkuk to be patient and to have faith that what He has said will come to pass.

It’s difficult at times to wait for God, especially when we know what’s waiting “on the other side.” Sometimes we want Him just to “cut to the chase” and get on with eternity already! But God would have us be patient. He wants us to trust Him, just as Habakkuk had to trust God.

We can trust Him with the Big Things (end times events, new heaven/new earth); we can also trust Him with the little things (everything in our lives).

The righteous will live by faith.

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I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Habakkuk 2:1

Have you ever had burning questions that you needed God to answer: who will I marry? What will my career be like 10 years from now? Should I join the military? Which college should I go to? Those answers are rarely cut and dried for us. Unfortunately, we don’t hear a voice from heaven saying “do this!” I’m not even sure we’d want that deep down since part of the fun of arriving at the destination is the journey it takes to get there. Sometimes it would be nice, but most of the time there’d be no satisfaction of knowing you’ve made the right decisions.

So, Habakkuk was waiting for God to respond. He’s not going anywhere for a while. I think we can learn a very simple lesson from this: God will speak to us if we’re willing to wait for his answer. Then, once we have his answer, we’ve got to act on it, regardless of what that means to us.

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Where are the Reluctant Leaders?

You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy? Habakkuk 1:14-17

Habakkuk speaks truth when he states that men (and women) often have a "we want a leader" mentality. They (we) look for a leader far and wide, and when we find one who is promising, we're not discerning about him/her. Granted, we may not have a lot of information initially, but once the person is in power, the individual is difficult to replace.

Leaders who love power (and the benefits and privileges it brings) are all over the place. Rare is the leader, however, who is reluctant to take the leadership reins but passionate enough to make a difference.

Our leaders at every level (federal, state, local) need our prayers more than they know. The power they hold over others can be intoxicating and dangerous. The more power they have over others, the more they want, and the cycle continues.

Pray that your leaders will take their oaths of office seriously.

Continue Reading Where are the Reluctant Leaders?