Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19, 2012 … From Frustration to Faith

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 232 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Habakkuk, Chapters 1-3 [NLT] To study these chapters, go to this link -

 Highlight Passage: Habakkuk 1: 1-4 :[NLT] … 1 This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received from the LORD in a vision. 2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence!” I cry; but you do not come to save. 3 Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. 4 The law has become paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery.
Highlight Passage: Habakkuk 3: 1-2; 17-19 [plus the note to choir director] :[NLT] … 1 This prayer was sung by the prophet Habakkuk: 2 I have heard all about you, LORD, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as you did in years gone by. Show us your power to save us. And in your anger, remember your mercy…. 17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; 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 will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. (For the choir director: This prayer is to be accompanied by stringed instruments.) . 

My Journal for Today: Well, today in my Chronological Reading Plan for this year, I was take to the writings of my favorite OT Prophets; and that is Habakkuk. Oh, it’s easy to like Jeremiah, Daniel, or Ezekiel, all BTW who were contemporaries of Habakkuk and who were those so-called MAJOR prophets because of the extent of their writings or the drama they encountered in their lives which seems so pertinent to today’s times. But the so-called MINOR prophets, who, like Joel or Nahum or Habakkuk, didn’t write as extensively; and the length of their books, poems, or journaling in what became the Jewish Bible is the only reason they are called “MINOR” Prophets.

But Habakkuk is one of the easiest prophets, I believe, with whom we can identify. Read the first few verses of the lyrics of the song Habakkuk penned, … those in Habakkuk 1: 1-4; and you’ll see how human Habakkuk seems, expressing his confusion and questions directly to God over what he was observing in his culture and times, especially with regard to the sin and degradation Habakkuk observed in God’s chosen people, who had so obviously rebelled from God’s will and were unwilling to follow, or even to read, God’s word. I look around and see what is going on in our world/culture today, and it’s so easy for me to go to God with my frustration, just as Habakkuk did, crying “Why, Lord; Why!!!”

But God didn’t leave Habakkuk hanging. After Habakkuk cried out to God, going first to God with his complaints, The LORD was there for this frustrated man of God. Yahweh noted that His man had comet to the Lord up-front-and personally, rather than keeping all his frustration bottled up inside himself. And, as you can read [mostly in the first two chapters of Habakkuk’s song, by using the links provided for God’s response] Habakkuk got an answer from God which was not easy to take. And I see what’s going on in our world today, taking my confusion to God; and His word comes back to me in NT passages like Romans 1: 18-32 and Romans 8: 28; and God gives me answers that are true, but still troubling [and if you don’t know these messages, please take the time to look them up!”] And from God’s very word, I hear the Lord saying to me, as He did to Habakkuk, “Bill, … if you think things are bad now, wait on Me, because things are going to get WAY WORSE before they get WAY, WAY BETTER.”

God told Habakkuk to go to a high place, to wait and watch, and to write down this song, which became the “song of Habakkuk’s faith” for the Jewish Bible. And God tells me, as He did Habakkuk, to wait on Him and trust Him that “all things work together for my good,” because I’m one of His faithful remnant, i.e., those who God will never abandon and will ultimately save. And Habakkuk finally got this incredible message of hope and faith from God; because when we go to the Lord’s word with our prayers of frustration, God will always provide His answers, either through His word directly or through discerning, Spirit-led, men like Habakkuk so that we can wait on God and not lose our faith.

That’s the message of Habakkuk’s prayer and song in Chapter 3 of the book by Habakkuk’s name, from which you can read the key verses above which I’ve copied for your study. And in Verses 17-19 of Chapter 3, copied above, are some of the most uplifting and faith-filled verses in all of the Bible, especially when you consider all the horror which was to be visited on God’s people as the Babylonian hoards were to consume Judah. Habakkuk ends up being able to write – and probably sing – his song of faith, which he instructed to be accompanied by music and which become a song of faith for God’s people.

What’s your song (and prayer) today? Is it a prayer of frustration; because if it is, as in Chapter 1 of Habakkuk, take your complaints directly to God. And let God turn your frustrations into a prayer (or song) of thanksgiving, trust, and faith in our Lord, Who will always be there for His remnant of faithful who await His plan to be worked out in our times or in glory.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, even in my frustration I wait on You in faith. Amen

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