habakkuk

2 Chronicles 7, Habakkuk 2

Today we’re scheduled to read 2 Chronicles 7 and Habakkuk 2.

This devotional is about 2 Chronicles 7

This chapter in 2 Chronicles 7 is a spiritually satisfying one to read. The temple has been built and it is a wonder to behold. Nothing man makes is truly worthy of the Lord but God was pleased to show his presence there (v. 1) because it was a structure built with love for him and it was done to the very best of human ability at that time. When God demonstrated his glory to the people, they worshipped him in thankful prayer (v. 3), animal sacrifices (vv. 4--5, 7) and music (v. 6). The people enjoyed a festival of dedication (vv. 8-9) and went home “joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done.”

Then God told to Solomon that he would answer his prayer of dedication (vv. 11-16) and the Lord affirmed to the king that he would bless Solomon’s kingdom for as long as he obeyed the Lord (vv. 17-22). Verse 10 describes the fitting conclusion to this event: “On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel.”

I usually feel this way at the end of a good pastor’s conference or an encouraging retreat. Spiritual crescendos like the one described here leave me feeling like I have spiritual momentum to walk with God without ceasing. But it doesn’t take long before living in a sin cursed world with a sin nature drags you back to reality.

But days like this are a preview of what all eternity in God’s kingdom will be like. We will work in God’s kingdom and live in a society there but we will also spend much time learning about the Lord, praising the Lord, and fellowshipping with other believers in the Lord. These activities will bring us more pleasure than any entertainment or recreation we enjoy in this life. That’s because our sin nature will finally be eradicated and we’ll be perfect by the grace the of God.

Hopefully you’ve experienced something like what is described in this chapter. I hope our Sunday services feel this way to you regularly. Moments like these give us a boost in our walk with God and remind us what God has promised for us in eternity. So savor those moments and be encouraged! God has so much in store for us when his promises are finally and fully fulfilled.

2 Chronicles 6:2-42, Habakkuk 1

Today, read 2 Chronicles 6:2-42 and Habakkuk 1.

This devotional is about Habakkuk 1.

Habakkuk, a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, was very upset with the Lord in the first four verses of this chapter. He saw so much sin and violence (v. 3) among the Lord's people but, when he called for God's justice, he got nothing (v. 1).

God may have declined to respond to Habakkuk's earlier complaints but he was more than happy to answer Habbakuk's questions in verses 2-4 with an answer in verses 5-11. And what was that answer? God would punish the violence and sinfulness of the Jews by delivering his peopel in defeat to the Babylonians (v. 6).

Now Habakkuk had a much bigger theological problem. He couldn't understand why God wouldn't judge his countrymen but, when God did promise to punish them, Habakkuk couldn't understand why he'd use a wicked nation like the Babylonians (v. 15). God is holy and eternal (v. 12a-b), so why would he use such unholy people? It made no sense.

We'll have to wait until tomorrow's reading of chapter 2 for God's response but, in the meantime, consider the problem of the sliding scale of righteousenss. Habakkuk knew God's people were doing evil (vv. 2-4) but the Babylonians were worse! Verse 13 asked the Lord, "Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?"

We can probably identify with Habakkuk's complaint. If you've ever felt outrage when a good person died young while evil men live into their 90s, you know how Habakkuk felt. If you ever cried, "Unfair!" when you were punished for something when someone else was doing something worse, you're using the same kind of reasoning that Habakkuk used.

The truth is that we are all guilty before a holy God. What Habakkuk said in verse 13a was right on the money: "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing" so his next statement could have been, "...so we deserve your punishment, no matter how it comes." But part of our sinful state is to demand that we be tested on a curve. "I am sinful, but not as bad as others" we reason, "so let God go after the worst offenders first! And, when he comes for me, I should get a much lighter sentence!"

But God's justice is always just; that is, he pays out the wages of sin according to the pricetag that every sin has---death--regardless of how many or how few sins we accumulate. Instead of complaining to God about our circumstances and wondering why he hasn't treated others worse than he treated us, we should take a very hard look at ourselves. We are guilty before a holy God. One violation of his law carries the death penalty so none of us has anything to complain about.

In fact, Judah had God's law, their own history, and prophets like Habakkuk. The Babylonians were wicked but they were also going on much less truth than Judah had. As Jessu told us, the more truth you have, the greater your accountabilty will be before God.

In God's great mercy, he poured out his justice on Jesus so that you and I could be saved from the eternal condemnation we deserve. God may allow the natural consequences of our sin to play out on this earth but at least we will be delivered from hell based on the righteousness of Christ. So we should be thankful for that.

But more than that, the awful cost of our sins that Jesus bore should teach us the truth about divine justice and adjust our expectations accordingly. So, have you found yourself complaining that you're paying too much for your sins why others are not paying enough? Then think about this passage and let it realign your understanding of justice accordingly.

We have nothing to complain about and everything--because of God's mercy--to be thankful about. Let's thank God, then, for his perfect justice and for the mercy that Jesus provided us with by taking God's justice for us on the cross.

2 Chronicles 8, 3 John, Habakkuk 3, Luke 22

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 8, 3 John, Habakkuk 3, Luke 22. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Habakkuk 3.

From the time we were children we’ve heard stories that had a happy ending. Stories that end happily are emotionally satisfying and make us feel encouraged that the problems of the present might still turn out well in the future. 

Habbakuk ended here in chapter 3 with hope, but no happy ending. His prayer here in chapter 3 recounted the fearful power of God’s wrath from verse 3 through 16. His reaction to God’s judgment, however, was full of faith despite the circumstances. In verse 2 Habbakuk began his prayer by telling the Lord that he had heard of God’s fame--a reference to the victories of Israel’s past and that he stood in awe of God’s works--again a reference to the past. In verse 2b, though, he humbly asked God to do it again: “Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” God’s word to him was about prophetic judgment but in faith he looked to the Lord for his mercy and a spiritual revival among his people. 

Likewise, Habakkuk’s prayer ended in faith. Although he felt great fear (v. 16) and knew that there would be great devastation (v. 17), it did not ruin his faith in God. Instead, despite these things, Habakkuk told the Lord, “yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” I trust that these words give you hope. Even though your diagnosis may be bad and might not change, even though your rebellious child may never return to the Lord, even though your marriage may end despite all your prayers to the contrary, God calls you and me to look to him in hope when we are sad, disappointed, discouraged, and defeated. And, to those who trust him, he provides that hope in who he is: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” God may not change your reality for the better, but he will secure your passage through it if you count on him in faith.

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.

2 Chronicles 7, 2 John, Habakkuk 2, Luke 21

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 2 Chronicles 7, 2 John, Habakkuk 2, Luke 21. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Habakkuk 2.

We have read so many prophesies about the judgment and destruction the Lord promises to visit on Israel and all the nations of the world that forsake him. We understand that the purpose of this destruction is justice--to punish all those who have defied the Lord and who are disobedient to him. But as important as God’s justice is, there is a greater reason for the coming judgment. After talking about the ultimate futility of all the hard work people do for the kingdoms of this world that will be destroyed, verse 14 said, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Think of how deep the chasms in our oceans are and how vast the oceans are in width. Yet the waters cover those chasms completely. This is the image the Lord chose for how the knowledge of him will some day fill the earth completely. The destruction of earthly kingdoms and the punishment of all unredeemed sinners not only satisfies God’s justice, it removes all the barriers to the full Christianization of the earth. God judges the nations to make room for his kingdom where everyone will know him, the only true God. The only way to experience this amazing promise is described in verse 4, “...the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.” 

Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.