March 23, 2017 by genelup
Recently I read:
“Wherever I look there is oppression and bribery and men who love to argue and to fight. The law is not enforced and there is no justice given in the courts, for the wicked far outnumber the righteous, and bribes and trickery prevail.”
Sounds familiar? However, that was said nearly 3,000 years ago by prophet Habakkuk. Violence was all around him, just like it is today in the United States. “O Lord, how long must I call for help before you will listen? I shout to you in vain; there is no answer,” Habakkuk wrote.
Finally, the Lord answers him in Habakkuk 1:5: “Look, and be amazed! You will be astounded at what I am about to do! For I am going to do something in your own lifetime that you will have to see to believe. I am raising a new force on the world scene, the Chaldeans (Babylon), a cruel and violent nation who will march across the world and conquer it. They are notorious for their cruelty. They do as they like, and no one can interfere.”
Habakkuk didn’t want to hear that. God said Judah would be destroyed by this evil nation. Habakkuk knows God hates evil, and is amazed that God would use a nation even more wicked than Judah to punish Judah. In the end, however, the Babylonians eventually got theirs too.
Fast forward to today. We live in a wicked society. Is God angry with the United States? Can God still become angry with nations that stray from him? Not that America ever was Christian per se. But at least in past generations the standard of right or wrong certainly was more consistent with the teachings of scripture than now. Christians have been clinging to this Bible verse: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
If that didn’t happen, would God send an evil force to destroy or punish our nation? ISIS and terrorists already have killed and injured some of us. Russia, China, North Korea, Iran with nuclear weapons thrust toward our shores? How about EMP (electromagnetic pulse) over the United States set off by a foreign weapon? It could cause millions of deaths from starvation and disease because almost everything from transportation, food supply and fresh water would be disrupted or non-existed.
Habakkuk is the only Old Testament book consisting entirely of a dialogue between God and a man. From that experience Habakkuk becomes the prophet of faith. The Lord tells Habakkuk in chapter 2, verse 4: “Note this: Wicked men trust themselves alone (as these Chaldeans do), and fail; but the righteous man trusts in me, and lives.” In other words…the righteous will live by his faith.
Contrary to what some teach, salvation in the Old Testament has always been by faith and never by good works, keeping the law or performing sacrifices. Habakkuk 2:4 is quoted with different emphasis three times in the New Testament: Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38.
No matter what may happen in our nation … or in our own personal lives, out faith in Jesus Christ will sustain us. A foolish man will keep questioning God: “Why? “Why?” “Why?” God is always in control … whether in our country or in our own personal lives. May we become a person of faith Habakkuk became. Whether our nation is punished, or tragedies occur in our own lives.
(Scripture quotations used here are from “The Living Bible,“ not a translation but a paraphrase)