Love Came Down with God-sight

globeThese days, global upheaval is normative.  With school shootings in America, ISIS in the Middle East and fears of global destruction, the seas are stormy across this beautiful earth.

Just peek at history and you’ll see peace is elusive for many nations for centuries.

With Habakkuk , national turmoil dominated his landscape as national corruption increased and the Babylonians advanced across the earth conquering every country in their destructive path.

In December 2012, the “end of the world” was a hot topic, as countless people prepared for the Mayan prediction of the world ceasing on December 21, 2012.  Savvy companies, grabbing hold of a marketing potential, started offering “end of the world” deals, as chatter increased across social media as many considered the possibility of imminent doom.

Jesus the Christ, Son of God, stated that no person knows the time of His return (Mark 13:32), thus it is improbable God would have informed the Mayans of His plans.  Without knowledge of Jesus’ words, without revelation, the people perish (Proverbs 26:18) and the fear that swept North and South America in December 2012 over this issue was intense.

One day later, on Dec 22, 2012, the apocalyptic Mayan hype seemed ridiculous.  I remember feeling stunned when I overheard people express disappointment that this mythical exit door had closed and life had to be embraced once more.  Christmas gifts still had to be purchased.  The mortgage still had to be paid.  Conversations resumed about holiday celebrations and all talk of impending global doom became a passé subject until the next crisis hit the news.

2014-10-14 16.15.01Unfortunately for Habakkuk, he couldn’t pass by the pain and call it a day.  As his peer Nahum had prophesied, the Babylonians defeated the Assyrians and demolished Nineveh by 612 BC.  As Habakkuk wrestled through the pain of global upheaval at the hands of the Babylonians, he cried out to God: “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” and You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble?” [2] Later he asked, “Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he? Why do You make men like fish of the sea, like creeping things that have no ruler over them? [3]

I love this man’s honesty.  In his search for understanding and justice, Habakkuk doesn’t dodge the tough questions. Going right to the source, he talks to God, stating, “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.”[4]

Habakkuk knew his understanding was limited. He expected God’s correction of his perspective! In mercy, God told Habakkuk to speak the vision and trust God with the timing:

Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets,so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it;it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud!Their spirit is not right in them,but the righteous live by their faith. [5]

Faith in Almighty God was Habakkuk’s only viewpoint to navigate the uproar of his present circumstance.  God promised his beloved prophet that as he trusted and believed in the greatness of His God, what was prophesied would surely come to pass, though God’s timing may not correspond with Habakkuk’s expectations.  Habakkuk’s surrendered response of worship reflects the intimacy he enjoyed with God, a beautiful reflection of a man named “embraced by God.”[6] :

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food;Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills [7]

2014-08-22-18-11-041.jpgWith both Nahum and Habakkuk, we find men who are willing to believe in God’s greatness  despite heartache, national upheaval and pain.  As Habakkuk shouts his surrender and worship to God despite his circumstance, he lays rightly positioned before the Lord.

Perspective is phenomenal in shifting the heart.  As Habakkuk encountered the greatness of his God, he found hope though his present conditions did not change.

God shifted Habakkuk’s perspective by challenging him to consider what he believed.

“The righteous live by faith” is a challenge and a comfort to God’s people.  As we live by faith, we stay close to the truth of who we are and who our God is for us, through us and with us.  When we believe God and seek His embrace, His strength in difficult days, we walk out trust with our God who startles nations, measures the earth and marches through the land.

Though children are slain in the streets of Nice, the Middle East implodes in chaos and violence, though justice seems distant while the wicked prosper, our hearts bow in worship before our great King, expecting, seeking and believing until His salvation is made plain, for God’s good will forever outweigh the present evil of the day.  God has promised, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”[8] and He is not changing His mind.

blue barrenWe just moved to Montreal as a family and things have been fairly tough to navigate.  The language barriers are greater than we realized, thus Paul and I begin intensive French studies in the fall.  The job offers promised in the spring fell through.  As we wait on God, knocking on every door we can, we stand in anticipation of our Father’s provision, knowing His goodness throughout our life in God. Like Habakkuk, we know the Lord is our strength; He has shown Himself faithful throughout our journey.  Like Jael, God gives us deer’s feet to navigate the tough places and just keep climbing.  All we have to do is just keep looking up and keep our eyes on our King…

Let’s pray: O Lord God, we bring our questions to You and await Your correction of our perspective.  With all time in Your hands, Lord Jesus, we confess You are the Alpha and Omega and joyfully place our hope and trust in You.  Like Nahum, we believe that You are good, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Lord, thank You that You see and know and love us forever.  Father, comfort Your people across this globe who suffer at the hands of the wicked this day.  Holy Spirit, lift up our eyes to behold the greatness of our God.  Keep our gaze firmly upon our Lord, and shine Your Light and hold it steady, until we see with God-sight, we see what You want us to see. Thank You, Lord God, that You are ALWAYS our strength. How we love You!jon

Reading This Week:  Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Haggai

Reading Next Week: Zechariah

Study Questions:

  1. What do you do when what you expect doesn’t happen?  How do you handle disappointment, in silence or in community?  With who?
  2. Do you see the Body of Christ as a support in this journey of ascent?  What does that look like on a Monday or a weekend?
  3. Global pain sure affects me.  I pray.  What do you do?
  4. Have you ever expected God and seen intense disappointment?  How do you share your sorrows with God, with others?
  5. Name a time when God gave you God-sight, a better perspective?  How did that affect you?  Others?
[1]The New King James Version. 1982 (Na 1:7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[2]The New King James Version. 1982 (Hab 1:2-3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[3]The New King James Version. 1982 (Hab 1:13-14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[4]The New King James Version. 1982 (Hab 2:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[5]The Holy Bible : New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Hab 2:2-4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
[6]Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson study Bible : New King James Version. Includes index. (Hab 1:2). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.
[7]The New King James Version. 1982 (Hab 3:17-19). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
[8]The New King James Version. 1982 (Hab 2:14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.