Reader: “Write my answer plainly on tablets,”
Response: “so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.”
Scripture: Habakkuk 2:1-5
I will climb up to my watchtower
and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the Lord says
and how he will answer my complaint.
Then the Lord said to me,
“Write my answer plainly on tablets,
so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.
This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
“Look at the proud!
They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.
But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.
Wealth is treacherous,
and the arrogant are never at rest.
They open their mouths as wide as the grave,
and like death, they are never satisfied.
In their greed they have gathered up many nations
and swallowed many peoples.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
“When violence and corruption abound and evil appears to rule, the faithful may be tempted to wonder whether God really cares or is really in control.” words from The NLT Study Bible, p.1504. Habakkuk was in a troubling and unsettling situation. Once again, Israel was in trouble for her rebellion against God. They had broken the Covenant again and again and were now the subject of a Babylonian attack. God’s own words were, “I’m raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands. They are notorious for their cruelty and do whatever they like.” Ouch! God is siding with the Babylonians against his own people! Habakkuk asks God the same question we ask in regards to similar situations in our day. His words, “Will you let them get away with this forever?” Our words, “Lord, the bad guys are winning. Are you going to do anything? Whose side are you on?” Notice, the Lord honors honest questions. His response is the text you just read. God’s message is very plain and clear. His words . . . It may seem slow to you, but wait patiently. We are working on my timeline, not yours. Yet you want to avoid the consequences of your actions. You people are absorbed in your perspective, not mine. You respond to the way you think it ought to be if you were in charge. You’re not. This is how I think. I will describe the end for you. Their wealth and arrogance are never satisfied as they overrun people. They have become wealthy by extortion, but that too will abruptly end. It is certain and it is final. While this was God’s answer to Habakkuk’s question, it is also the answer to the world situation today. The Lord is coming back and he will judge the actions of everyone who has ever lived. Yes, their evil lives are crooked, but you who are righteous are to live in faithfulness to God. God will bring justice. Take heart! No one “gets away with it.” In the bustle of this Advent season, the truth of God’s judgment seems so very remote, perhaps even unreal. That’s because we think like earthbound people and the devil is pleased with our thinking! But God came to the manger in Bethlehem, he has come into our hearts, and he is coming again to bring justice in establishing his eternal kingdom. Tell the news!
Music: “Go Tell It on the Mountain” Home Free ―an energetic setting!
O Lord, if only my will may remain right and firm towards Thee, do with me whatsoever it shall please Thee. For it cannot be anything but good, whatsoever Thou shalt do with me. If it be Thy will I should be in darkness, be Thou blessed; and if it be Thy will I should be in light, be Thou again blessed. If Thou vouchsafe to comfort me, be Thou blessed; and, if Thou wilt have me afflicted, be Thou ever equally blessed―Amen. ―Thomas à Kempis, Prayers Ancient and Modern, p.92