The Righteous Will Live by their Faithfulness to God

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HABAKKUK 1:1-3:19 | REVELATION 9:1-21 | PSALM 137:1-9 | PROVERBS 30:10

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Habbakuk was one more prophet who lived about 600 years before the birth of Christ who had an interesting name and a temperament that caused him to have quite a conversation with God.  It is a dialogue that takes place in these three short chapters where Habbakuk engages the Lord in a candid exchange of views. 

He says to the Lord:

2 How long, LORD, must I call for help,
   but you do not listen?

And the Lord answers him with:

3 If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
      for it will surely take place.

It seems that at times, I am more in need of that answer than Habakkuk!

Perhaps the most telling and significant piece of information and advice that the Lord gives to Habbakuk is this:

4 “Look at the proud!
      They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.
      But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.

That last line of that verse in the King James Version of the Bible reads as:  …but the just shall live by his faith. 

This is a reference that will pop up later by many an apostle in their writings in the New Testament books.

And are these lines not reminiscent of the lines of David, the Psalmist?  Read carefully… but this is the Lord asking the rhetorical question to Habakkuk:

2:18 “What good is an idol carved by man,
      or a cast image that deceives you?
   How foolish to trust in your own creation—
      a god that can’t even talk!
 19 What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols,
      ‘Wake up and save us!’
   To speechless stone images you say,
      ‘Rise up and teach us!’
      Can an idol tell you what to do?
   They may be overlaid with gold and silver,
      but they are lifeless inside.

Habakkuk, in turn, is a humble man, and answers with respect and adoration:

3:2 I have heard all about you, Lord.
      I am filled with awe by your amazing works.
   In this time of our deep need,
      help us again as you did in years gone by.
   And in your anger,
      remember your mercy.

When you plead God’s mercy, you will always come out better in the end. 

Because it is not your goodness or self-worth that allows you to succeed; it is the blessing of the Almighty who gives and takes away, and shows mercy and makes his face to shine upon you.  And even if that face might be turned away from you in anger, may it be that you also might be able to echo Habbakuk in saying as he did:

17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
      and there are no grapes on the vines;
   even though the olive crop fails,
      and the fields lie empty and barren;
   even though the flocks die in the fields,
      and the cattle barns are empty,
 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
      I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
      He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
      able to tread upon the heights.

Continuing now in our reading in the book of Revelations, we find John recounting his vision of the opening of the seals, and of the actions and reactions of those around the throne of God.  This was an interesting observation concerning certain people who evidently weren’t distraught enough even after the plagues to turn from their ways. 

John says:  20 The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood—idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21 Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Turning now to our Psalm for the day, we find in these verses the stark despair of the children of Israel who were taken into captivity into Babylon.  For those who can remember, these verses also happen to be the lyrics to a popular song by the group Boney M!

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
   when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
   we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
   our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
   they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
   while in a foreign land?

Finally, a verse from the book of Proverbs concerning the prudence of being scarce with any criticism concerning a servant toward their master.  Solomon, wise king of Israel, says:

10 “Do not slander a servant to their master,
   or they will curse you, and you will pay for it. 

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.  Amen.

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