Enough’s Enough

He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, the ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan under distress, the tent curtains of the land of Midian were trembling. Habakkuk 3:6-7

As sure as I’m sitting here, there will come a day when the Lord will have had enough of evil, and he’ll ride onto the scene. All will quake at the sight, men and nature both. Terror will grip the earth. No one will escape his piercing eyes as he surveys the land. His bow will be ready. His spear will glisten in the sun. And then he’ll act.

In Habakkuk’s mind were also vivid scenes from the past. For example, the power God exerted over the Red Sea.

As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. Exodus 14:16

The Lord parted the sea as if with his own hands and the Israelites went through on dry land. He then released the waters to engulf and destroy chariots of the pursuing Egyptians.

There was also the day when he caused the sun to stand still (Joshua 10:12-14).

Sun and moon stood in their places; they went away at the light of Your arrows, at the radiance of Your gleaming spear. Habakkuk 3:11

What he saw and what he knew from the past–the Lord’s reputation preceded Him–caused Habakkuk to “stress out.”

I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us. Habakkuk 3:16

At the conclusion of the Great Tribulation described in Revelation, the Lord will finally pull out all the stops. I happen to believe that I won’t be here, but will join the conquering army. So, I’m not stressed.

For all others, you might not want to “hasten the day” until you take care of business.

For added incentive, read this. And I’d try to get on the winning side. It won’t be pretty.

You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for the salvation of Your anointed. You struck the head of the house of the evil to lay him open from thigh to neck. Habakkuk 3:13

Posted in Devotionals, Habakkuk | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flashes of Brilliance

His splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise. His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, and there is the hiding of His power. Habakkuk 3:3b-4

Ever since smartphones became our permanent appendages, the common man has set forth to snap the penultimate sunset or sunrise. As brilliant as these may be, they are just a glimpse of God’s glory.

Fact is, when light is discussed in conjunction with God it’s normally blinding, issuing forth from fire or lightning.

As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire. Ezekiel 1:4

You can’t really capture God’s power with a lens. There’s no neutral-density filter capable enough to get off a shot. It always ends up being blinding white light, unbearable to behold.

It’s good that he hides his power from us (v. 4), or only allows us to witness his radiance from afar.

We just see the fringes of the Lord’s work. We see faintly that which is being done in the distance. Job 36:14

Outside of an occasional bolt of lightning that strikes close by, which is terrifying to witness, we continue to enjoy the sunsets and sunrises. We snap them, apply our own filter, and post them, taking all the photo credit.

We don’t know who we’re messing with!

Posted in Devotionals, Habakkuk | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Wrath Remember Mercy

Lord, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. Habakkuk 3:2

What Hababbuk had heard was enough for him to quake in his boots. His people had been caught dead to rights. Sometimes when you know that punishment is warranted and coming, you just want to get it over with. Here the prophet twice calls for the discipline to be done “in the midst of the years,” a plea for promptness.

The second request was for mercy. Since the hand of reproof was on its way down, he emotionally asked for it to be restrained by compassion. Here he recalled God’s mercy in the past and his covenantal promises for the future.

We all make mistakes. We all sin. This should also be our frequent prayer, “in wrath remember mercy.”

We can draw comfort from this passage.

He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:9-12

Posted in Devotionals, Habakkuk | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

House of Cards

You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor. Now you yourself drink and expose your own nakedness. The cup in the LORD’S right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will come upon your glory. Habakkuk 2:16

Evil abounds on earth just as it always has. The machinations of men drive them to do foolish and evil things, as if there was no sheriff in town. “Your sins will find you out,” they say, and they do!

Day after day we hear of powerful, successful men who took advantage of who they thought were weak-armed or weak-minded. They’re called out and lose everything. They get their just deserts, as they say, in the end.

What a shame! All that creative energy and brilliance employed imbibingconniving and bribing. How fast the house of cards comes tumbling down!

In the end, the righteous man of meager means is left standing. He’s cheerful and content, having looked back with no regrets, because he lived his life by his faith.

But the righteous will live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4

Posted in Commentary, Habakkuk | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Bigger They Are…

Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4

Even though God would use the Chaldeans to discipline his people, their access was limited by his mercy and subject to his covenant. He allowed this violent, sinister, drunken, insatiable, insidious, usurious, and idolatrous nation to run roughshod over his people only so long. He still hated them, and he would let them bury themselves.

It’s interesting to remember that the Chaldeans were conquered by the Persians while preoccupied in a bacchanalian feast, where they were mocking God.  See Daniel 5:1-4 below.

Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand. When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

“Therefore it says, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Live by by faith and be faithful. That’s all he asks of us. Try not to learn the hard way.

Posted in Daniel, Devotionals, Habakkuk | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take It and Run With It!

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, and how I may reply when I am reproved. Then the Lord answered me and said, “Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:1-3

What was prophesied will surely come to pass, in God’s perfect timing. It’s like the aging process. Nothing can be thrown at it to stop it!

It’s amazing and distressing to see big chunks of the Bible passed over that relate to things to come. The prophets of old were given these visions to warn future generations. Men like Daniel and Ezekiel were stunned by what they saw, and most of it remains around the corner. John had his staggering revelation of the Great Tribulation and the return of Christ. Make no mistake, what resides in the last book of the Bible is imminent! Jesus himself sat on Mount Olivet and warned his disciples, prefacing his words with “When you see.”

“Therefore when you see (italics mine) the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” Matthew 24:15-16

Note the Lord says “let the reader understand.”

Back to Habakkuk. He’s vividly witnessed the Lord’s plans to discipline his people. It wasn’t pretty. So real was this vision, he was to etch it in stone.

Historically, we know that what was prophesied to Habakkuk came to pass. The same can be said for all of the Bible’s prophetic words. Again, what was prophesied to Habakkuk came true! Let that sink in. Can we not expect all other oracles from God to do the same, no matter how abstract?

What’s scary is there’s so much more to come and even Christians are not well versed in it! Peter talks about the importance of prophecy in his second letter and in one of his sermons.

You should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles. 2 Peter 2:2

But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Acts 3:18

God tells Habakkuk that he needed to record what he saw in order that “the one who reads it may run.” What does this mean, to run away? No, it means to run and tell others.

We Christians need to continually remind each other that there is more to come. We needn’t shy away from all that is eschatological. And we should be absolutely confident that what has been written down and has yet to transpire will, and exactly as described.

Let’s not run away from prophecy. Let’s pick up the ball and run with it.

Posted in Commentary, Devotionals, Habakkuk | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spoiler Alert

All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. Habakkuk 1:9

Habakkak saw the “horde of faces” moving forward as we’d view an approaching enemy in an epic movie in high definition, with images from all angles. Only this wasn’t some kind of big-screen fantasy, but very real. In a matter of time the Chaldeans would swoop down like eagles to devour them, all the while laughing in their faces.

These were people whose God was their strength, who prayed to their nets, and whose justice and authority originated with themselves. Sound familiar?

Habakkuk’s dismay was how God could allow this! But God is a just god, and his people had not “humbled themselves and prayed, sought his face, and turned from their wicked ways.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 and others) Many a preacher has incorrectly used these words to lecture the complacent Church. But it was his chosen people Israel, with whom this covenant was cut, who did not keep their side of the bargain. Justice was due, and he chose to use a people who were astonishingly pale in comparison to all past enemies (Egyptians, for example).

What can a Christian gain from all this? On a grand scale, what we know from prophecy (e.g. from Daniel, from the words of Jesus, and from Revelation), and witness in this age, we can envision the denouement, The Grand Finale, on the horizon.

As menacingly evil as the thundering hordes were in Habakkuk’s eyes, even more so will be the opposing armies in the Last Days.

For me, I’m glad my God is not my waning strength, or tattered net, or rickety chariot. And he’s shared the most tantalizing of all spoiler alerts:  I don’t die in the end!

Posted in Commentary, Devotionals, Habakkuk | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment