Some Things Never Change

As I mentioned yesterday, today is the commemoration of the Prophet Habakkuk.

Habakkuk is a conversationalist – his book records a dialogue with God. He’s got some things on his mind. I’m thinking he may be a teacher in an English secondary school because he asks God,

Why do You show me iniquity,
And cause me to see trouble?
For plundering and violence are before me;
There is strife, and contention arises.
Therefore the law is powerless,
And justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.

Then God says, “Look, the baddies are gonna get theirs. It’s a-comin’. But not just yet.” (Habakkuk 2:3, Holford Paraphrase)

And the rest of chapter 2 describes how people think they can work hard and gather and accumulate and step on people, all to build themselves up in their own eyes, but God has given Habakkuk the key that is picked up three times in the New Testament, “The just shall live by faith.” One of the perversities I saw growing up on the fringes of the Faith Movement was that this was often put into practice as, “The just shall live by faith to accumulate.”

It takes no imagination to read Habakkuk 2 and see that late 7th century Judah shares much with early 21st century Britain in terms of moral decay. It is a scene so depressing, it is no wonder that God dropped in a little verse of hope in the middle:

For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea.

Most of chapter 3 is Habakkuk’s response declaring that God is the great Warrior coming to vanquish evil and evildoers. However, at the end he realises he must still wait in faith for the appointed time. God is still God whether I see Him do the thing He has promised to do.

This is in such sharp contrast to the view of God I face on a daily basis. So many people have been programmed to believe that God cannot be God, because He has not done the things they’ve demanded of Him to do, whether on a global or personal scale. This self-justifies their behaviour mirrored in chapter 2. But God will not be mocked. For every chapter 2 there’s a chapter 3.

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