Living in the Modern Times of Habakkuk
I was sickened as I walked through the university arena at my 15-year-old son’s robotic state competition. At every turn, we were confronted with rainbow flags, teens wearing transgender capes, and LGBTQ buttons. The assault on today’s youth was more evident to me than ever before.
As I sat in the arena, I prayed hard for these kids – and for my son.
Why Lord, is this happening? What will you do, Lord, to cast out this evil and protect our kids?
That is when the prayer of Habakkuk came to my mind. The prophet saw the wickedness in his world and pleaded for God to intervene. Habakkuk’s sincere concern was a mix of righteous indignation and hopeless impatience with the way things were.
God responds to him with a declaration that He is going to do something wonderous and astonishing – something that Habakkuk would not even believe (vs. 1:5)! I can only imagine the prophet wringing his hands with eyes wide and a big smile, expecting God to make all things good.
But sometimes, our arithmetic is not God’s calculus. Or as Isaiah says, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD” (Is. 55:8). God’s amazing work for Habakkuk was to bring the Babylonians in fury against the land of Judah and take them captive.
Ecclesiastes tells us there is nothing new under the sun. Might God be using the evil of our present day to revive His church and call all people to Him?
Knowing God’s goodness and His nature, Habakkuk stations himself on a watchtower to gain a new perspective and wait on God. It is here that God declares that “the righteous shall live by his faith (v. 2:4),” a phrase quoted three times in the New Testament and one that caused Martin Luther to rethink his attempts to work out his salvation on his own, leading to what we now know as the Protestant Reformation.
Everlasting life is a product of our faith, not our works, and it’s grounded in both the nature of who God is and the wonderful calculus of Jesus’ resurrection.
The transformational truth of God’s calculus – His solution to the problem of our sin - is what we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday. It takes us from hopelessness to hopefulness, just as we see in Habakkuk. It’s the transformation that awaits each of us when we come to the cross. No matter the evil that surrounds us, we rejoice in the LORD and take joy in the salvation that is ours through Jesus Christ.
I remain concerned by the rapid and serious affronts to the truth of the Bible in culture, but I know what God has done on the cross. It is wonderous and astonishing. It is hard to believe, and it is hope for each of us!
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