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.




Daily Devotions 2020