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In this new season God has told us to run fast. He has made us alive to thrive empowered to trust in Him, regardless of circumstances. God is the one who leads us beside the still waters and gives us rest, even within the storms of this life.
As we live in this world of injustice and inequality, God’s continues to pursue humanity in love and advance His kingdom. His kingdom is a place of justice and equality, truth and freedom, acceptance and purpose, love and belonging. The fullness of His kingdom is realised when His will is done on earth, as it is in heaven and all things become one in Jesus. When Jesus returns in all His glory, evil and the destructive forces of our selfish desires will be totally eradicated. Yet until that appointed time, they still exists and continue cause havoc upon the earth.
Yet in amongst it all, God has always been working, pursuing humanity in love, to set humanity free. Free of the controlling, destructive forces of evil and humanity’s selfish desires. Throughout history He has continually revealed His glory and heart for humanity in ways that we can understand.
the gift of faith in the days of old
In the days of old, God chose the smallest of people groups to do this. They were the Hebrew people. Through His covenant relationship with them, the world would come to know of His great love for all humanity.
The Hebrew people became a great nation, just as God had said He would do, yet they turned against Him. Saying they were His, but in their hearts they chose to align themselves with the gods of the surrounding nations.
Not only did they turn their back on God and the covenant that they made with Him, but they even attributed all the mighty works of God that He had done for them to the gods made with human hands.
Back in the day when Moses was their leader, they were told of the consequences of aligning themselves with evil, yet they knowingly chose this path.
Their kingdom became one where evil ruled. Leaders corrupted justice and abused their power. Their community oppressed the weak and vulnerable. Cruelty and violence brought destruction and devastation. This was the work of their doing.
Living amongst all this was a man who did not choose to be one with evil, instead He chose to be one with God. His name was Habakkuk. He laments to God, how long? How long does he have to live amongst this evil? Habakkuk questions that God is not listening because He has not brought deliverance. He reasons the law as given to the nation through Moses is powerless for evil abounds in his people’s hearts.
God’s work of faith
Turn with me to Habakkuk 1:5-6 and let us hear God’s response.
Habakkuk 1:5-6 “Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
The word that God uses that has been translated as work, was first used by Moses in a song. It was a song that warned the Hebrew people of their choice to become one with evil and what would happen when they chose to align themselves with the gods made by humanity.
Moses declares to them that God’s work is perfect and all His ways are justice. That God is a God of truth and without any injustice in Him.
The prophet Habakkuk knew the scriptures and had just accused God that the law given to the Hebrew people through Moses had no effect.
The work of the hands of the Hebrew people is the product of or fruit of, in this instance their injustices and giving power to the destructive forces of their selfish desires and evil is the product of their evil choice.
God speaks to the prophet Habakkuk in a way He would understand. God’s work is not injustice or the violent ways of humanity that the Hebrew people had chosen to align themselves with.
God’s work is the acquisition for us of justice, equality and freedom is perfect and pure. His work is one with His character. Justice, equality and freedom for all humanity is the treasure of God’s heart.
Only in God’s kingdom and being aligned with God is there true justice.
the gift of free choice
God is always working, yet He never interferes with free choice. His heart breaks for the oppressed, the lost, the outcast and desires that all would choose life, equality and freedom in Him.
God explains to Habakkuk to explain to the Hebrew people that God knows the secret of their heart. That they knowingly, even after God had shown them what would happen, they aligned themselves with the violent ways of the surrounding nations. They chose the way of inequality and injustice, oppressed others and became oppressed themselves.
For a brutal nation will rise against them, with no regard for their laws, which they themselves also disregard as they had aligned themselves with the ways and gods of such surrounding nations. The nation that will invade will cause havoc and destruction amongst the Hebrew people for this is what they chose to align themselves with. The invading nation is not only destructive and vicious but they delight in evil.
This brutal nation that will invade is the Babylonian empire.
Through the Babylonian invasion God would reveal to the Hebrew people that this oppression is in fact the work of their hands. That is their choice of being aligned with the gods of the surrounding nations and their violent ways.
God’s heart for all people
Yet in amongst all this evil and destruction God is still working, pursuing each one in love. God’s sole motive of both the law they disregard and the word given to the prophet is to reveal both the Hebrew people and the surrounding nations their need for a saviour from the pathway of destruction they had chosen. So that they can be free of their selfish desires and the work of evil.
Through the book of Daniel we learn that one Babylonian king comes to know God and so do some of the people. We also discover that within captivity their were those of the Hebrew people who did not choose to be one with evil and align themselves with the gods made by humanity. These are the ones who thrived in captivity and adverse circumstances. They were truly free where the circumstances of this world could not control their belief or deep inner self. Their belief and trust in God never wavered.
So like Daniel who will come after him, the prophet Habakkuk knew God and chooses to trust in His character. That is God’s character that never changes, unlike everything of this world.
So Habakkuk continues with his dialogue with God. God responds to reveal His justice and truth to him.
Habakkuk 2:2-4 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
God’s gift of true justice
God is in an eternal state of forgiveness and waiting for all to come to Him who will come to Him. In His amazing grace and love, God makes the truth plain to Habakkuk.
God again links Habakkuk’s claim of injustice with the law given to Moses. For the law cannot justify, the law cannot save, the law cannot transform. Humanity cannot make themselves right or just, save themselves or transform themselves. The prideful are blinded to this truth and refuse to enter in.
Religion cannot save or transform humanity. Good works cannot save or justify humanity.
But the good news is, it is God who makes us right or just and saves us from the destructive forces of our selfish desires, evil and death.
The God who created heaven and earth and all things good is the only one who can set us free. For He is the source of life itself. He is perfect, just and eternal.
faith in God
The Apostle Paul had a wonderful revelation of this truth and wrote a letter to the people of Galatia.
Galatians 3:5-14 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”
Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Abraham believed in God, the eternal one. God, the eternal one declared Abraham was right or just because He believed in God. It is through Abraham’s tribe that God Himself would come and save humanity.
the gift of God Himself in jesus
God Himself in Jesus became the sacrifice for us to be able to believe Him and receive all that He has given to us. That includes His rightness or justice, His eternal salvation and life everlasting.
To believe God and be transformed by Him, to be more like Him, is a daily journey. Through surrender of self will to that of the Father’s will, He is working in even the hardest of places. That is to receive more of His character within us. More of His love, His joy, His peace, His patience, His goodness, His kindness, His gentleness, His faithfulness and His self control. It is in surrender of self will, to that of the Father’s will that brings freedom, no matter the circumstances. All this is a work of God in all those who are willing to give their allegiance to Him and receive His right to rule and reign.
This world is finite. It is wearing out like a garment. Injustice and inequality continue to exist. Yet God continues to pursue each one in love. Waiting for all who will come to Him to come to Him. So for us today we will live in the belief and trust in God, our salvation. His joy in us is our strength. By His Spirit in us, around us and upon us, He is with us and empowers us to be triumphant.
regardless of circumstances
Therefore we are made just by Him. It is God who empowers us to live in the belief and trust in Him. That is unwavering faith in Him regardless of the circumstances of this world.
This was the conclusion that Habakkuk came to after he received a revelation of who God is and what He does and will do.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.