The Lord’s Second Reply (Day 4)

Read Habakkuk 2:1-20
   The watchman and watchtower, often used by the prophets to show an attitude of expectation (Isaiah 21; Jeremiah 6; Ezekiel 3), are pictures of Habakkuk’s attitude of patient waiting and watching for God’s response. Stone watchtowers were built on city walls or ramparts so that watchmen could see enemies or messengers approaching their city while still at a distance. Watchtowers were also erected in vineyards to help guard the ripening grapes (Isaiah 5). Habakkuk wanted to be in the best position to receive God’s message. 
   Evil and injustice seem to have the upper hand in the world. Like Habakkuk, Christians often feel angry and discouraged as they see what goes on. Habakkuk complained vigorously to God about the situation. God’s answer to Habakkuk is the same answer He would give us, “If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.” It isn’t easy to be patient, but it helps to remember that God hates sin even more than we do. Punishment of sin will certainly come. As God told Habakkuk to wait patiently, we must trust God even when we don’t understand why events occur as they do. 
   The wicked Babylonians trusted in themselves and would fall; but the righteous live by their faith and trust in God. Verse 4 has inspired countless Christians. Paul quotes it in Romans 1 and Galatians 3. The writer of Hebrews quotes it in Hebrews 10, just before the famous chapter on faith. And it is helpful to all Christians who must live through difficult times without seeing signs of hope. Christians must trust that God is directing all things according to His purposes. 
   Idolatry may seem like a sin that modern people do not commit. But idolatry is not just bowing down to idols; it is trusting in what one has made and, therefore, in one’s own power as creator and sustainer. If we say we worship God but put our trust in bank accounts, homes, businesses, and organizations, then we are idolaters. Do you trust God more than you trust what your hands have made? 
Idols have no life, no personhood, no power; they are empty chunks of wood or stone. Temples built to idols are equally empty; no one lives there. But the Lord is in His Temple. He is real, alive, and powerful. He is truly and fully God. Idolaters command their idols to save them, but we who worship the living God come to Him in silent awe and reverence. We acknowledge that God is in control and knows what He is doing. Idols remain silent because they cannot answer. The living God, by contrast, speaks through His Word. Approach God reverently and wait silently to hear what He has to say. 
  Babylon’s riches had come from the misfortunes of others, but these riches would only be fuel for the fire. The victims and their cities would cry out against Babylon. Money is not evil, but God condemns the love of riches and the evil means of acquiring them (1 Timothy 6). Be careful not to hunger for wealth so much that you lose your appetite for God. Do not allow money to take the place of family, friends, or God.