2016-03-15 - Habakkuk
Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land. The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: “Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”
Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.
Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst. Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, her revelers and he who exults in her. Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low. But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich.
Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!” Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right!
Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
He will raise a signal for nations far away, and whistle for them from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come! None is weary, none stumbles, none slumbers or sleeps, not a waistband is loose, not a sandal strap broken; their arrows are sharp, all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs seem like flint, and their wheels like the whirlwind. Their roaring is like a lion, like young lions they roar; they growl and seize their prey; they carry it off, and none can rescue. They will growl over it on that day, like the growling of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and distress; and the light is darkened by its clouds” (Isaiah 5:8–30).
As you know, my favorite example of walking or not walking by faith is Peter, and his walk on the water. Here is how the author McNeil used Peter as an illustration of faith:
When you see Peter climbing down out of that boat, as one has said, with the storm light on his face and the spray in his hair, you get just one glimpse of what Peter, by the grace of God, was always meant to be, and what you and I, by the grace of God, were always meant to be – a people filled with such a vision of the eternal Christ of God that all things seen and temporal fall away from us and utterly lose their power to hamper or discourage us; a people in whom faith is sublimed to its highest reach and its loftiest and most noble exercise.
Walking on the water was impossible; but Peter did it so far. “When Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.” He did it; that is the puzzle of the commentators. It was not a commentator he was going to, or he would have said: “Stay where you are, you fanatic! Stay where you are.” No, he was going to Jesus; and Jesus said: “Come! Come! Come!” He is always glad to see faith come and lay hold of Him.
“When Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid, and began to sink, and cried: ‘Lord, save me!’” What marred this beautiful story was that the commentators’ spirit got into the poor fellow. After beginning so well he began to get cautious. After beginning at such a sublime height of faith he feared and came down to the poor, pitiful level of a Kantian philosopher, subject to the categories of space and time. He began in the spirit, and he ended in the flesh. He became carnal, and walked as a man – or, rather, he sank as a man. ~ McNeil
Judah was in trouble because the people hadn’t been living by faith. Nevertheless, God was giving them a prophecy which was intended to be a source of future, faith. But for now they were to experience the consequences of their own sin, the iron hand of Babylon.
- McClure, Editor, J. B., Pearls from Many Seas, The Master Christian Library, AGES Software, Albany OR, Version 8.0, © 2000.
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
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CFD | March 2016
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