Archive for November 15th, 2013

I have a younger brother—eight years younger. During my teen years, he resided in brat mode. One spring morning the windows were open and little brother’s loud voice rang out. Outdoors. Underneath my window. Reciting my diary.

The little varmint had swiped my secret treasure and was sharing it with the neighborhood. I immediately petitioned for parental power, “M-o-o-om! Get ‘im.”

If he wasn’t doing brat, did I enjoy my brother? No, I ignored him as a necessary nuisance. Just like I’m apt to ignore God. But like me hollering for Mom, when things aggravate, hurt, or frighten me, I shout “Get ‘em God,” and assume that the Holy God of the Universe is my go-to-guy in times of trouble.

At least that’s what we’ve all fooled ourselves into believing.

We’ve mistaken His patience for tolerance and His mercy for acquiescence. Ignoring Him when times are good and demanding His appearance when we can’t make it through the dense fog of grief, the brick wall of financial problems, or the heartache of family chaos. Then we turn to Him and whine.

We’re in good company, the prophet Habakkuk did the same thing before Babylon invaded Israel in 597 B.C. He experienced the same things we are experiencing in 2013. Probably worse. The temple goers were acting just like the non-temple goers. Judges were making unjust decisions—money bought favorable rulings in those days too. The governing class was downright corrupt. And robberies, murders, and psychopaths—just like our world today—filled the local news.

Righteousness was a joke, truth stumbled in the streets, and the desire to be holy? Oh, give me a break—just like today.

In Habakkuk 1:2-3 the prophet cried out:

“O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear? Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save. Why does 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…”

But Habakkuk slapped his hand over his mouth and said:

“I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”

Habakkuk knew God and was aware of his position before Him.

Do we? Do we realize there is a time to turn off the spicket of our groaning and complaining? Do we bow before the might, power and sovereignty of the Lord God Almighty, realizing everything comes from His hand—the good, the bad, and the ugly—because He is Holy, Righteous, and Just. He see’s the whole picture and He’s in control. We’re not.

In Chapter Two, God answered Habakkuk. And the prophet’s finger pointing was turned back on his own people. Yikes! Do you suppose if we quit griping and sat silent before Him, God would do the same with us? Would we listen?

I’ve spent a lot of years in front of the TV—finger-pointing. I grew up in the fifties and sixties, the time when the church went inside and shut the doors to keep the bad stuff out. Guess what? We are the bad stuff and it came inside with us.

God told us to “go tell and stand firm.” He didn’t say, “circle the wagons and hunker down.” We are suffering the consequences of our failure to obey. The church, like the Israelites, has become like the pagan, idol-worshipping, world. We want enough of God to dodge hell, but not enough of Him to be holy. To be transformed into the image of His only Son, Jesus, but just a little bit. Not complete transformation.

America has been sent warning after warning. God calls, “Return to Me so that I may return to you.” And we turn a deaf ear.

Habakkuk asked and God gave him a vision of what was to come. And come it did—in wide-screen, surround-sound, HD.

Chapter Three records Habakkuk’s response. He prayed. And the closing sentences of his prayer should require us to zip our lips and ask ourselves “Could I make Habakkuk’s confession of faith in God and really mean it?”

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall 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, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.”

This is not a fictional assumption of what’s to come. Just turn your TV on this morning and watch the pictures of the Philippine Islands last weekend. The terrifying loss of life and the devastation of their land, in just a few short horrific hours, could have happened anywhere in the world. Not by typhoon, but perhaps by fire, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornadoes. Or war.

Principles of truth in our nation cannot stand without righteousness. Principles of righteous cannot stand without justice and judgment. This nation was built upon these cornerstones. America’s foundation is anchored in the truths of the Word of God and belief in the mercy and grace provided by the death of our righteous Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. But over half of our people have taken pick-axes to this foundation and are chunking God’s truths on the trash heap.

When the foundation of a nation crumbles, the people perish.

What about you? Your family? Your church? When the grocery shelves are empty, and there are no crops in the field, and no sign of provisions on the horizon, will you still confess that the Lord God is your strength and Jesus is your Lord?

When everything you’ve put your trust in: your home, your possessions, your job, your health are gone, will you still find joy in the God of your salvation? And will you trust Him to give you the strength to walk with Him upon His high places. Or will you still be hollering “get ‘em God?”

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