Month: September 2023

Brokenhearted But Not Broken

As we have seen the prophet Habakkuk was greatly burdened by all of the corruption and iniquity within his own nation of Judah. He was also concerned and deeply troubled by the rising Babylonian empire that was threatening their safety. The Chaldeans (Babylonians) were ferocious and cruel invaders who God was going to use to discipline and humble Judah not many years from the time of Habakkuk’s writing. Yet, there are two encouraging aspects of the Lord’s actions at this point that we can cling to even today: God did not chastise Habakkuk for his questions that were asked in faith and with respect; and, even more reassuring is the fact that the Lord answered his questions. Secondly, God always carries out his perfect justice at the right time and in the right way.

References: Luke 18:8; Colossians 3:25; Isaiah 30:18; Deut. 32:4; 2 Thes. 1:8-9; Romans 12:19; Romans 3:26.

Key to Habakkuk’s faith-building was the following declaration he made after the Lord answered him—“I will stand on my guard post, and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what he will speak to me…” (Hab. 2:1). This is a declaration of faith, a pledge to wait for the Lord to act and to listen to what more God would say to him. Likewise, we can determine to “station” ourselves to hear the Lord and trust in His plan:

Brokenhearted Over the Nation

Habakkuk 1: 3-4, “Why dost thou shew me INIQUITY, and cause me to behold GRIEVANCE? for SPOILING and VIOLENCE are before me: and there are that raise up STRIFE and CONTENTION.

Therefore the law is slacked, and judgement doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous: therefore wrong judgement proceedeth.”

The wisest king who ever lived, King Solomon, concluded :

From today’s point of view, we could state the above truism in the following manner:

“Surely no other nation has witnessed this level of evil.” However, King Solomon declared that what [evil] that has been done will be repeated; and, it will be much like what has taken place in the past. When examining the traits of society from Habakkuk’s time with ours today, it is clear that, indeed, things are similar to the past:

GRIEVANCE- Causing uneasiness or complaint; affliction

SPOILING- Ruin, destruction, devastation

VIOLENCE- Violence, injustice, cruelty

STRIFE- Conflict, contention for superiority

CONTENTION- Discord, controversy

It is easy to draw a strong parallel between culture today and that of Judah and the ancient world surrounding it.

Furthermore, it was the wicked that surrounded the righteous; in other words, the people of God were completely surrounded by those who were hostile towards God and guilty of terrible sins. Because of this, wrong (twisted, crooked, distorted) justice was carried out in the land; and, as noted in the last post, the people tolerated heinous acts by way of corruption in their judicial system.

Despite all these things, we will discover in the book of Habakkuk reassuring and unchanging traits of God that will sustain us even through the most trying of circumstances.

Brokenhearted Over Evil

Have you ever been brokenhearted over the evil we see around us? The prophet Habakkuk was so distraught about the evil within his country of Judah as well as the threatening rise of their enemy—the Babylonians—from without, that he cried out to God about it repeatedly and for a long time (see Habakkuk 1:2). According to the literal Hebrew meaning of “cry,” his cries were probably shouted audibly and were full of tearful emotional pain. The truth is, if we love the Lord, we will also—as Psalm 8: 13 teaches—hate evil. That is, believers who love our righteous God, will be greatly concerned and disturbed by the unrighteousness in the world.

We can easily gather from the scriptures that Habakkuk was witnessing plenty of troubles all around: violence, stealing, contention, lawlessness, and injustice to name a few. One commentary notes that the peoples’ hearts were focused on material success rather than living by God’s laws, which were fair and humane. They were wicked—“they committed and tolerated heinous acts through corruption of the courts.” There seems to be a clear parallel between their ancient corrupt society and what we are witnessing today in our fallen world. The good news is, we can gain great insight on how to handle current trying times by gleaning wisdom from Habakkuk’s questioning exchange with the Lord.

In the next few posts, we will explore the book of Habakkuk more closely to glean these wise lessons.

Keeping Our Confidence

Confidence: A feeling of assurance; trust or faith; a trusting relationship—

Our trusting and secure relationship with the Lord will help us endure everything that comes our way until we dwell with Him forever.

Confidence is intimately associated with trust and hope; you could say that it is an attitude of faith. Baker’s Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines this attitude as:

Confidence – “A multifaceted word that encompasses within Christian thought a range of aspects—faith in God, certainty and assurance of one’s relationship with God, a sense of boldness that is dependent on a realization of one’s acceptance by God, and a conviction that one’s destiny is secure in God.”

What confidence is not: It is not a struggle to compensate for a lack of personal resources; that is, Christian confidence is not a building up of self-confidence—Philippians 3:3 admonishes to “have no confidence in the flesh.” Instead, the supremacy of Christ must become our focus. Jesus is the One in whom our confidence must rest because of what God has done through Him for us; and, He is enough!

The Greatest Weapon

Focus Bible passage: Matthew 4: 1-11

In this passage, we read about the time—right before Jesus began His formal ministry— when the Spirit lead Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The devil relentlessly tried to tempt Jesus into sin by offering desirable things. With each temptation, Jesus quoted scripture to counter the words of the devil, including the words Satan misquoted from scripture. Jesus was victorious and commanded Satan to leave; and, as we would expect, “the devil left Him.” (v.11)

Jesus Christ commands the devil to leave as they stand on a mountain.

Suppose an aggressive and deadly enemy was attacking citizens and their families. They have in their possession a few possible “weapons” to employ in defense of their loved ones: a butter knife, a glass bottle, or a ball bat …which weapon would they choose? It is probably safe to say most people would opt for the bat because it would be the most powerful and effective weapon at their disposal. However, would it be surprising to you that many Christians often fail to use the most powerful spiritual weapon available against our very aggressive and sometimes deadly spiritual enemy? Instead, we may try gritting our teeth and slugging it out in our own strength; or, we may resort to a diversion from our problems such as watching a movie or eating our favorite comfort food. Perhaps we might just give in and accept the offense, self-pity, or depression when Satan makes the offer. Looking back, I can recognize times I did just that; and inevitably the problem grew worse or soon returned.

Therefore, let us choose our most powerful (spiritual) weapon!

HERE ARE LIVING AND ACTIVE WORDS OF GOD THAT WE CAN TAKE UP AGAINST OUR SPIRITUAL ENEMY:

1 John 1:9- vs Satan’s accusations and condemnations

Philippians 4:19- vs the enemy’s threat of lack

Is. 41:10 & Is. 40:31- vs taunts about our weaknesses

Romans 8:28- vs lies about the strength of the enemy

James 1:5- vs lies about our inadequacies and lack of wisdom

+ many other promises from God’s word that enable us to stand in victory over Satan, so that he must flee! ( James 4:7)