Hope in God, A Reasonable Act (Habakkuk)

Hope in God, A Reasonable Act (Habakkuk) July 18, 2019

Do you ever get tired of the times?

I do.

Sometimes I am tired, just sick of the noise, failure (some mine), and ugliness of these times. Evil seems to prevail and good flustered. Why stand for the right? Why not just despair and go play some endless online game? But if we are tired, there are those at the very bottom, with not even the time or ability to read online. Seeing injustice triumph, decadence spread, tyranny empowered grinds away at our hope.

The prophet Habakkuk saw the government of Jerusalem crushing the poor. He asked God what was happening and God said in God’s great plan the Babylonians were coming to deal justice. Habakkuk was horrified. Weren’t the Babylonians worse? They were, but God was going to bring justice to them as well.

Justice was coming for everyone. Habakkuk realized that he also wanted mercy! Justice is severe: there is a line and we must walk it, but we are drunk on our broken desires. We cannot walk as we should. Mercy so easily can slip into injustice, excuse making especially for the rich and powerful. Mercy acknowledges the wrong and yet spares all that can be spared without creating further injustice. Justice draws the line and mercy helps us to graciously find the way and to walk in it.

And yet when everything is going wrong, when the circumstances are grim, we cannot lie to ourselves or other people. The situation is what it is. What Habakkuk knew was the very nature of God. There were two pieces of data: the world as it was and the God who had the power and will to make the world better. The world may be broken, but reason demands betting on the All Powerful and All Good to make all well over eternity.

Some pastors, failing to read the Bible, claim our “positive confession” is what changes the world. Instead, the prophet sees that God is the source of change. We can tell the truth and one truth is that God will bring justice with mercy. To tell the truth is good and to bet on the All Mighty is better.

The result of this hope in God is that we become greater as truth sets our mind free. We see God and know that whether in this life or the life to come all will be good as good can be. Faith, rational trust, is liberating.

This is how Habakkuk could say:

Hab.3.17 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: Hab.3.18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Hab.3.19 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.

 


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