Repetition

August 6 2020

Habakkuk 3:16–19

16 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

Notice what he says, verse 18, the famous verse, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Now something happened there that happens so often in the Bible. It’s such a deep pattern in the Bible you get used to it. Those of us who have read the Bible for years get so used to it we don’t even notice it, but I want you to notice it. What happened in that verse? He repeated himself. “Huh?” It says, “I will rejoice in the Lord …” and then he comes right back and says, “I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Why did he say it twice? Is this a man in horrible need of an editor? The Bible never says anything once. Never! The Bible constantly repeats itself. If you look carefully, it’s saying the same thing but a little differently.

By saying, “I will rejoice in the Lord …” and then saying, “I will be joyful in God my Savior,” it’s a little different and therefore, you understand it better by having it said twice. It goes a little deeper into you and your understanding is a little bit richer. This is a deep pattern in the Bible. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Why four Gospels? Why wasn’t one enough?

They’re covering the same territory; by the time you get to the third Gospel you say, “Yeah, I know he rose on the third day. I know he ate with his disciples the night before he died. Why do I have to learn about this four times?” The answer is because every time it’s the same and yet every time it’s different and it goes in deeper. Your understanding is better. It’s over and over and over.

Pharaoh. God warns Pharaoh, sends him two dreams. Joseph gets two dreams about the future. Nebuchadnezzar has two dreams. Jesus feeds the 5000 then he feeds the 4000.

Nothing happens in the Bible once. Everything is happening over and over and over and over again. Why? Psalm 62:11 says, “Once God has spoken, but twice I have heard it.”

God teaches us by this method of repetition through scripture for a very good reason. The human mind has a difficult time focusing attention. We think we get the point but then our minds wander to something else. Try and retain something in the center of your thinking and what happens? Our minds fly off in a tangent. Our minds must be made literally to concentrate… con-centrate… to stay on center.

So, you take a text and you study it yourself. Then you take a text and you talk about it with your friend. Then you take a text and you study it in your small group. Then you take a text and you hear Marcus or me preaching about it. Every time you get it, it goes a little deeper and a little deeper. That’s the only way you’re going to change your thinking, by the renewing of your mind with the word of God. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to handle suffering. Repetition. The discipline of repeating, of going over and over as it permeates your mind and soul and does it’s work of guiding our thoughts and emotions.

I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. Two lights focused on the same subject.



Choose to Rejoice

August 5 2020

 Habakkuk 3:16–19

16 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

As a pastor I have had many occasions to sit with people who are suffering. Some suffer because of emotional distress, maybe they lost someone to death, someone died, or a husband or a wife gave up on a marriage and walked out… they lost because of betrayal. Some have had children who for whatever reason have abandoned their parents and left. All this pain builds up in our hearts and we suffer.

Some suffer because of health problems. Stroke, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia… there are so many ways our bodies let us down. The physical pain is only one component, the loss of mobility and the suffering that comes with the inability to do the things you once did… these things cause great suffering.

We try to comfort people with words, but words do not often help. So, we sit with people and we feel unqualified to help. When does rejoicing in the Lord come? Is it after the calamities have passed? We cry out to God for healing, thinking if things get better, then I will be rejoicing.

I have learned from people who are suffering what Habakkuk reminds us in this book. Rejoicing happens in the middle of suffering, not after it has passed. I have learned in my own suffering, in my own loss, in my own mental anguish and pain what it is to feel the presence of Jesus Christ comforting me in sorrow and grief and pain.

Habakkuk says, “This is how I feel: My heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.” He can hardly stand, fear has gripped him and staggered him. But notice what he says? “Yet I will wait patiently… yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

Rejoicing is a choice.

Years ago, my young friend Craig was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a fast-growing cancer and he was given very little time. I was amazed at his response to the news. He told everyone who would listen that God had chosen him to suffer so that his life might have significance. God was going to use his brain tumor to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whatever time he had left was going to be committed to that purpose.  But Craig didn’t die in six months like the experts predicted… he lived another 7 years. And Craig lived his life rejoicing in the Lord. “Yet, I will wait patiently for the day of calamity. I will rejoice in the Lord.”

Craig chose to draw near to God in his calamity. Life was difficult for him, chemo, operations… all the mess that comes with the territory… but at the end he told me he would not have changed a thing because of the closeness he felt with his savior Jesus Christ. He chose to rejoice, and that made all the difference.



The High Ground

August 4 2020

 Habakkuk 3:17–19

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

In 1851, an English missionary named Allen Gardiner was shipwrecked with a number of other people on a little remote, uninhabited island off the bottom tip of South America. They all died one at a time; he was the last one to be alive before he died. He kept a journal and they found the journal next to his body. The last entry in the journal cited Psalm 34:10, “Young lions do lack and suffer hunger.” Now here’s a man dying of hunger. “But they that seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”

The very last thing he wrote in his journal was essentially this, “I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God.” Here’s a man dying of starvation. Here’s a man far from home. His body is broken. All his hopes are dashed. His last words are, “I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God.” Now let’s think about that for a second. How do you and I ordinarily come to the conclusion that God is good? When do you say God is good? When things are going well for you.

When your fig trees are blossoming. When the money is there. When health is there. When things are going the way you want. When the circumstances of your life are doing well, then you say, “Ah, God is good!” But wait a minute. This man found a way to contact, to access, the goodness and love of God apart from life’s circumstances.

Everything in his life had gone wrong, yet he was in contact with the goodness of God. He was overwhelmed with a sense of it.

See, you and I infer the goodness of God from good things happening in our lives. Then we feel like God is good. But he came into direct contact with it and he knew the goodness and love of God in spite of life’s circumstances and as a result, he could face with poise anything that happened.

Now how do you do that?

Here Habakkuk has learned how. He’s doing it. He says though the fig tree … In other words, in spite of nothing going right, I can rejoice in the Lord. Do you know how he does this? Verse 19 says rejoicing in your suffering is like walking sure-footedly on the mountaintops. After he says I’m rejoicing in my suffering, then in verse 19, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Now what’s he talking about? That’s the metaphor. To rejoice in your suffering is like walking sure-footedly on the mountaintops.

Here’s what the image is getting across. To go up high on the mountain is very dangerous. You know, it’s dangerous enough just walking here on level ground, but to climb mountains is incredibly dangerous. One little slip and you’re gone, so to go up there is very dangerous. But if you’re able to navigate it, if you’re able to walk sure-footedly, if you’re able to be up there and live up there … it was the safest place you could possibly be. The people who inhabited the high ground were free from the constant attacks that went on below. There is a freedom in living above the fear of things that happen to you. Habakkuk can rejoice in that.



Glory and Shame

July 31, 2020

Habakkuk 2:14-16

14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

15 Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies. 16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.

Who is he talking to? The Babylonians. Why? Because all of their lives (proud people) … A proud person uses the people, instead of serving them.

We use people to get glory, to feel good about ourselves, to boost our ego, to prop up our esteem. We put others down to make us feel better. We use them. Therefore, we deserve shame. We deserve the opposite of what we’re looking for.

 We have no glory – only shame. We desire glory and we are willing to do all kinds of things to get it… But there is one who had all glory and willingly gave it up for us. Jesus traded his glory for shame.

 Philippians 2 says Jesus Christ emptied himself of his glory. Then he went to the cross.

 Hebrews 12, says we must “… fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame …” The most hideous, disgraceful possible execution was the cross, but Jesus Christ drank the cup of God’s wrath. Remember the Father’s cup in the garden of Gethsemane? What does that mean?

 Jesus Christ emptied himself of his glory. The Babylonians (and you and I) tried desperately to cover themselves with glory. Jesus emptied himself of his glory, lived a life of serving others, not using others, but at the end of his life, he took our shame. He took the shame we deserve so when you believe in Jesus Christ, the Father clothes you in the honor Jesus deserved. We seek our own honor and, therefore, deserve shame, but Jesus Christ took our shame so we could have his honor.

 When you say, “Father, accept me because of what Jesus has done,” to know then that at that moment we are clothed in his beauty and in his righteousness and his honor so the Father sees us as beautiful, we’re no longer struggling to win at all costs. We’re no longer struggling to achieve at all costs. We don’t have to use people. We can serve people. Now we’re part of the solution, not the problem, in every culture.

 When evil times come, people get cynical and angry, and they blame others. They lose hope. Christians are the opposite. We should be humble and be willing to admit our part in what’s wrong, and we should have all the hope in the world because the gospel humbles us out of our pride but in such a way that we have more confidence than we had before.

 Have hope. Have humility by remembering this. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”

 



Comfort for Evil Times

July 30, 2020

Habakkuk 2:12-20

12 Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime! 13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?

14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

15 Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies. 16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.

17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed man’s blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

18 Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.

19 Woe to him who says to wood, “Come to life!” Or to lifeless stone, “Wake up!” Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.

20 But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

There are two wonderful verses in the midst of all this darkness. You notice how there’s all this darkness … death and judgment and wrath and bloodshed. Then all of a sudden in verse 14 and in verse 20, there are these flashes of light in the darkness. I love that.

14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

20 But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

They’re stunning and sharp and surprising. You’re reading along, and all of a sudden it says, “But the Lord is in his holy temple …” All of a sudden it says, “… the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” It’s sort of like a flash in the darkness. I believe this is how hope works.

If you understand the hope in these two verses, even in your darkness you can face anything. Do you know what they are?

 Let’s look at the second one first. The ultimate hope you have in all bad times is verse 20. It’s the sovereignty of God. “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”

What is that saying? What it’s saying is no matter how bad things are, God is in control. And he doesn’t need your help. He is sovereign. He is not gone. He is in charge. No matter how chaotic everything is, he says, “I am still in charge!”

“But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” What does that mean? On the one hand, you can really screw up your life. Your decisions count. You’re responsible for them, and yet God says, “I have a plan, and I’m going to overrule all evil, all bad choices. I’m going to have my purposes for you and for the world fulfilled.”

That’s the first gleam of light in your darkness. He never leaves his throne. He is always there. He is always controlling everything. God is still in charge.

  



Pride and Idolatry

July 29, 2020

 Habakkuk 2:18-20

18 Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.

19 Woe to him who says to wood, “Come to life!” Or to lifeless stone, “Wake up!” Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.

20 But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

I was reading an article about great movie directors and was struck with their common response to their motivation for making another movie. Even those most notable, famous, wealthy directors like Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg… have this feeling that they need to tell their story, not for the masses but for themselves. They are the best in the world at their craft and they know it (that’s the arrogance) and without the involvement of making another movie and power they feel, and the glory and wealth they receive they feel empty.  The success doesn’t fulfill them, they need the movies more than the movies need them.

Celebrities have the same need for power, fame and fulfillment. Did you know the Mic Jagger turned 77 on Sunday? And he’s upset because he’s not out on tour… not because he needs money, not because he needs more fame… it is to stave off the emptiness that hits him every time he comes off the road.

The reason why the Babylonians were out burning down cities and the reason why Martin Scorsese is still making movies and the reason you and I do so much of what we do, even if it’s preaching or whether it’s singing or whether it’s making money or whether it’s moving ahead in your career or pursuing your education, if you know your own heart, you’ll know, to a great degree, it’s because we’re insecure.

We’re trying very, very hard to cover ourselves with honor. We want to feel useful. We want to feel loved. We want to feel significant. That’s why we’re working so hard. That’s the source of the evil. And it exists in all of us.

So, you see, at the one end of this list of sins is pride.

At the other end in verses 18 and 19 is idolatry.

Any life and any culture that is not based on the glory and the grace of God will be based on an idol. It will take something good and raise it to an ultimate. It will take something relative and make it an absolute. We do that because of our pride.

For example, if making movies is the way you feel good about yourself, then making movies is an ultimate. It’s an idol! You have to have it. You have to win. It drives you into the ground. It’s an idol. Every culture, every society, corporately, everyone takes some good thing and makes it an ultimate thing, looks to some created thing to give you and do what only God can give you and do. That creates seeds of destruction in every culture.

Do you have an idol? Is there something you have that you cannot live without? Is there something God has given you that you have made more important than him? Is there something you have created in your own life that has become your ultimate? If you get your approval from it, if it has become your basis for significance, if your personal glory is derived from it… this is your idol.



Pride and Glory

July 28, 2020

 Habakkuk 2:15-20

15 Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies. 16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.

 17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed man’s blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

 18 Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.

19 Woe to him who says to wood, “Come to life!” Or to lifeless stone, “Wake up!” Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.

 20 But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

 At the top and at the bottom of the description in chapter two, up in verse 5 that we read yesterday and down at verse 18 near the end, there are two bookends, you might say, two sources of the evil that when we look at them, we begin to realize aren’t so remote. I mean, it’s very easy to read this and say, “Oh yeah, these Babylonians. How awful! They’re out there burning cities to the ground, killing, raping, taking captives… they are the evil ones.” But the source behind all the things they do exists in us as well.

 indeed, wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples.

 18 Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.

 The reason why the Babylonian culture is filled with people who are trying to make money and have militaristic power is that in their center, they’re proud (arrogant), and they’re empty. They need to clothe themselves with glory. Over in verse 16, it tells us the Babylonians were trying in all of their effort to accrue power and wealth, to cover themselves with glory and honor.

 It is important that we understand the source of the evil because it is not just “those people” who are the problem, it is also us… we possess the same evil within. It may not come out in the same ugly way, it may not manifest itself in the same kind of violence we see in the Babylonians but it is there. The source of our evil is also pride. Pride demands glory and therefore we are constantly seeking glory… and when we don’t get it we are empty.  

 Some of you may remember an old Loreal commercial. A beautiful woman says, “Yes, it is expensive, but I am worth it!” It was the most effective commercial they ever produced and sales went through the roof. Why? Because her glory was in her appearance and her pride would stop at nothing to have her glory.

 They tapped into what Habakkuk was learning… we all desire glory, to be successful, to have people admire us, to think we are smart, fit, beautiful, wealthy… whatever your particular brand of glory might be. We desire it and we are proud enough to think we deserve it and we do not rest until we have it.



Waiting with Obedience

July 21, 2020

Habakkuk 2:1–4

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous will live by his faith …”

Habakkuk uses the image of being a sentry in a tower. He says, “I will stand at my watch …” If you’re in the military, you certainly know this, but even if you’re not in the military, you know this from common experience and what you’ve heard.

If you are a sentry on duty, if you’re on guard duty, it doesn’t matter whether you feel bad, it doesn’t matter whether you’re sleepy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re bored. It doesn’t really matter how you feel. It doesn’t matter your circumstances. You may not leave your post. You can’t. The whole city could be lost. You can’t say, “Well, you know, I’ve been up here day after day. There have never been any enemies. I’m going to knock off early.” Or, “I’m tired. I’m bored.”

It doesn’t matter. You cannot leave your post. You must do your duty. This is Habakkuk’s way of showing us that even though he is struggling with God … We saw that last week, and we will later too. He is struggling enormously with God. He is emotionally and intellectually very realistic. He doesn’t get it. He is asking God some really hard questions, but he will not leave his post.

What that means is really simple. You may be weary. You may feel God is absent. You may be getting absolutely nothing out of your Christian walk at all. You may be incredibly confused about what’s going on. You may be experiencing disappointment after disappointment after disappointment. You may be getting none of your prayers answered. You can’t leave your post. You have to obey him.

Do you know why? Because the word waiting even in English doesn’t mean waiting around. Why do they call them “waiters” and “waitresses”? They’re certainly not waiting around. They’re running around. Why? Because to wait means to serve. Ladies in waiting or servants in waiting are not waiting around. They’re serving. One of the things waiting on the Lord means is, even when you don’t feel like it, you still do your duty.

What does that mean? Well, on the one hand, what very often happens when God seems absent, evil times, disappointments, difficulties, one of the things we do is we just stop doing a lot of things we usually do. We stop coming to worship. We stop private prayer. We stop reading our Bible. We stop going to our small group if you go to a small group. You stop serving people. You stop doing for people. Why? Because you’re filled with self-pity. You feel bad, and you’re not getting anything out of it, right?

At the court-martial for the sentry who just left his post, the judge says, “What do you have to say for yourself?” He says, “I wasn’t getting anything out of it, so I left.” That could never happen and the judge will not let him off with that answer.



Waiting on God

July 20, 2020

 Habakkuk 2:1–4

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous will live by his faith …”

 We started looking at this little book in the Old Testament, Habakkuk. We’re doing it because it’s a book about how to handle and problems, even to face evil times.

Because the Bible, in these places, says, “No, don’t expect, don’t count on, good times. That’s not really the norm, but even in disaster and evil, God is working and there are ways for you to face it.” That’s what we’re looking at in these devotionals in the book of Habakkuk.

 Last week, we started with chapter 1. In 1, Habakkuk starts with a great complaint. He is complaining to God, saying, “Why? Look at all this evil and suffering you’re allowing to happen in my society.” God’s first response is, “It’s going to get even worse. I’m going to bring the Babylonians. They’re going to invade your country. It’s going to get even worse.” Habakkuk calls out and says, “I’m even more confused now. I’m even more upset.”

 Then he waits to hear God’s second answer. He prayed. God has a first answer. He prays again. Then God will have a second answer. In this interlude, here (2:1–4), Habakkuk waits. Actually, in this little section, you have a number of metaphors and a number of verbs that tell us a lot about this very key theme in the Bible and really, I don’t know if you can call it a skill but this is all about of the main ways in which we’re able to handle evil times.

It’s what the Bible calls “waiting on the Lord.” This is a major theme in the Bible, and it’s a major theme here. It’s almost a cliché because people talk about this. People say, “I’m just waiting on the Lord.” People say, “You need to wait on the Lord.” I’m not sure any of us knows what that means. Do you know what that means? It sounds spiritual. I want you to know there is a meaning to it, and it’s a rich meaning.

 The Bible, in many places, tells us what it means, and maybe no better than here, because there are at least five aspects or five ways to wait on the Lord and they are all here in this text. We are to wait on the Lord with obedience, perspective, patience, focusing on God, and with joy.



Salvation out of Judgment

July 17, 2020

 Habakkuk 1:5–7

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.

When God said, “I am doing something in your day that you will not believe. I’m doing something out there in the nations that you will not believe. What he is saying is:

 I am going to be bringing salvation out of judgment. I’m going to be bringing justice out of injustice. I’m going to be bringing salvation and justice out of violence and oppression and injustice. He says, I know you don’t understand it, but that’s what I’m doing,” what does that mean?

 Years later, Paul in Acts 13:38, says this amazing statement. He is talking to them. He is preaching the gospel. He is talking about Jesus, and he says, “… God raised him from the dead … Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.”

 Okay? Then Paul adds, “Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: “Look … and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” Paul looks at Habakkuk 1:5, where God says, “I am going to be doing something you’ll never believe, something most astounding. I am going to bring salvation out of judgment. I’m going to bring salvation and redemption out of injustice and violence.”

 Paul says he was talking about Jesus. You say, “Wait a minute. No, he was talking about the Babylonians.” But see, what Paul is saying is the thing God said to Habakkuk, that principle, “I bring light out of darkness. I can bring … and I do bring … salvation and redemption out of injustice and wrong and evil and suffering,” finds its ultimate and supreme expression in Jesus Christ. Do you see why?

 When Jesus came into this world and went to the cross, he took the judgment we deserve. He didn’t come in strength. He came in weakness. He didn’t come in triumph. He came and essentially, he experienced a kangaroo court. He experienced absolute injustice. He was tortured, and he suffered, and he died. Why? Because he is holy. See, Habakkuk says, “I don’t understand why you put up with injustice, how you can bring salvation out of injustice if you’re holy.”

 God says, “On the cross, I’m going to explain everything.” Because on the cross, because he is holy, because he can’t just forgive us, because our sin has to be paid for, because what we’ve done toward him and toward each other has to be paid for, because he is a just God, he experienced judgment on the cross.

 He paid our penalty. He took the judgment in himself. He is the ultimate example on the cross of bringing salvation out of judgment and therefore bringing light out of darkness and therefore bringing redemption out of suffering and evil and difficulty.

 



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