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.




Daily Devotions 2020