December 18

Habakkuk 1:1–3:19

Habakkuk was an early contemporary of Jeremiah the prophet who ministered in the Southern Kingdom. Habakkuk was struggling with the sins of the people of Judah. He wondered how long God would sit idly by and allow His people to commit such wickedness. Habakkuk prayed for God to work, “How about a revival Lord?” (Habakkuk 1:1-4).

God responded by letting Habakkuk know, that judgment was on its way, and it would take place at the hands of the Babylonians. It was an astonishing response – – unbelievable! The Babylonians were a wicked nation fierce and violent, terrible and dreadful, “…ascribing power to his god.”

The prophet didn’t like God’s response. Habakkuk called a time-out. Wait, God, how can You allow this?

Habakkuk 1:13 (NKJV) “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?”

Habakkuk didn’t understand. In his eyes, the Jews were bad, but not as bad as the Babylonians! How could a holy God, who cannot look upon evil, allow such sinners to do such damage to people more righteous than they?

Again…the prophet waited for God’s answer, which came in Habakkuk 2:2-4. Habakkuk was to write it down, and messengers were to run and read it – judgment was coming, surely it was coming, but although physical suffering and death was probable, spiritual life and prosperity was possible; humble yourselves and place your faith in God and His provision of forgiveness. That’s where it starts. And then, let the just (the saved) trust God, keep the faith no matter what the circumstances may be, and no matter how deeply we don’t understand.

Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV) “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.”

This passage is such an important passage that it’s quoted three times in the New Testament, in very doctrinal books: Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; and Hebrews 10:38. It took three letters to describe one Old Testament passage. In Romans we learn about the just and justification. In Galatians we learn how the just LIVE, and in the book of Hebrews we learn about faith.

Habakkuk 2 goes on to elaborate on how GOD is a just God, we read 5 woes to the wicked. God was/is completely aware of the sins of the people, whether it be Judah or Babylon, and He will deal with them at the perfect time – and in the perfect way. God would chasten His people for change, and God will judge all those who refuse Him – forever.

One day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD (Habakkuk 2:14), and the futility of idolatry will be exposed (Habakkuk 2:18). 

Although this book is directed primarily to Judah, and applies to Babylon, it is definitely written that the whole world may know, and especially Habakkuk. Notice God’s Word to the prophet:

Habakkuk 2:20 (NKJV) “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

Bible Knowledge Commentary, “For Habakkuk, the message was clear. Stop complaining! Stop doubting! God is not indifferent to sin. He is not insensitive to suffering. The Lord is neither inactive nor impervious. He is in control. In His perfect time Yahweh will accomplish His divine purpose. Habakkuk was to stand in humble silence, a hushed expectancy of God’s intervention. The closing verse of this woeful dirge recorded by Habakkuk serves as a link to the song of worship that follows in Habakkuk 3.”

So Habakuk sings, the prophet prays. He longs for revival, but he now knows, that often times chastening is required for change, that a severe sentence and times of suffering are necessary for God’s people to surrender to Him. Habakkuk now knows what God is doing and He prays along those lines. Wrath was coming, but in that wrath he prayed for mercy. 

Habakkuk 3:2 (NLT) “I have heard all about You, LORD. I am filled with awe by Your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as You did in years gone by. And in Your anger, remember your mercy.”

Warren Wiersbe comments on Habakkuk 3:3-15, “Habakkuk reviewed God’s work in the past and recalled His greatness and power. In every era of Jewish history, God was there to work for His people; He would not fail them now. The Babylonian invasion and captivity would be painful experiences, but God would use them for His glory and the good of His people (Romans 8:28).”

Habakuk journeyed from the valley, to the watchtower, and now finds himself on the mountain top. “Faith always lifts us higher and makes us happier.” – Warren Wiersbe.

Habakkuk was comforted in knowing that God never forsakes His people. God will deal with us in order to bring us back to our first love. There would be much suffering for many seasons – but in the end there would be salvation for his people. 

Habakkuk 3:17-19 is an awesome expression of faith! No matter what things look like from our puny human perspective, no mater what the circumstances, we can certainly trust our Provider, rejoice in the LORD, and have joy in the God of our salvation!

Habakkuk 3:19 resembles Philippians 4:13, may we take it to heart!

Habakkuk 3:19a (NKJV) “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.”

Revelation 9:1-21

When the 5th trumpet is blown all hell breaks loose on planet earth. An angel is sent down with the key to the Abyss (bottomless pit) he opens it up and out come creatures whose sole calling is to torment the inhabitants of the earth for 5 months. Imagine wanting to die, trying to die but being unable to escape the prison of pain. The description of these creatures is fascinating, a combination of locusts, scorpions, horses, faces of men, hair like women, the teeth of lions, breastplates of iron, wings whose motion musters up the sound of chariots running into battle. The only ones they are unable to torment are those who were sealed with God’s mark – everyone else is open game.

Revelation 9:11 informs us that their general is none other than the Devil himself. When you translate his name into any language, or tongue, it always leads to his ultimate agenda, he is Abaddon and Apollyon, in Hebrew and Greek, in English he is the “Destroyer.”

Jesus said in: 

John 10:10 (NKJV) “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

The Devil wants to steal us from God, kill us, and destroy us forever in the Lake of Fire – that’s his agenda as “Destroyer.”

When the 6th angel sounds the 6th trumpet, 4 angels are released (more than likely these are fallen angels – demons) who had been bound at the great River Euphrates. They’ve been prepared for this very “hour” (some say it all happens in 1 literal hour) and 1/3 of the world’s population is massacred by this army of 200 million. This means that at this point in the Tribulation Period half of the world’s population has perished. Again, these are horrific creatures, the heads of the horses were as lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone – but that’s not it. They have tails which end in serpent’s heads.

There will be death everywhere. But there will also be the offer of eternal life. The 144,000 will have been preaching the gospel, explaining to everyone that this is the end of the world, this is the wrath, justice, and judgment of God. No doubt there will be others who knew the Christian Word intellectually but weren’t saved and were left behind at the Rapture, who get saved during this time. They will be spreading the Word as well. 

One would figure that all this would bring everyone left to their knees – to real and radical repentance. But John tells us that – still – generally speaking, the world refuses to turn to God. They love their sin, their idols, their gold, silver, brass, stone and wood possessions; they hold to their hate, fury, and murder; they delight in their drugs (sorceries) and of course, their sexual immoralities.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The reason for the woe, woe, woe of God’s judgment, is because of the holy, holy, holiness of God Himself (see Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). The only way to avoid God’s just judgment is to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus paid the price of judgment we could never pay – as we saw in the beginning of this book – thank Your Lord. 

Revelation 1:5 (NKJV) “and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,”

Psalm 137:1-9

Imagine being taken away to a foreign land, there in captivity because of your sin. It’s understandable that Israel wept, that they missed Zion (Jerusalem), but they should have also wept over their sins.

The Babylonians asked the Jews to sing one of their Psalms, they were known for their joyful hymns…but how could they…while captive, in a foreign land?

I get mixed emotions on this. Some point to the fact that Paul and Silas were able to sing praises at midnight, but keep in mind, they were imprisoned for doing right. It’s much more challenging to praise God when we’ve done wrong and we’re suffering the consequences.

Psalms 137:4 (NKJV) “How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a foreign land?”

If we ever find ourselves there, “in a foreign land,” due to our sin, let us begin with songs of repentance.

It’s of utmost importance that the Jews (and us) never lose that heart for Jerusalem.

Psalms 137:5-6 (NKJV) “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.”

Jerusalem is God’s promise, both now and forever. May we never forget His promise of the city that we all as God’s people, will one day inhabit.

The Jews knew the prophecy, that Babylon would be defeated. Their imprecatory prayers, however, are without the full counsel of God (Matthew 5:44).

Proverbs 30:10

Proverbs 30:10 (NKJV) “Do not malign a servant to his master, lest he curse you, and you be found guilty.”

To “malign” means to criticize someone in a spiteful, false, and misleading way. The KJV uses the word “accuse,” most other translations use the word “slander” – the act or offense of saying something malicious that would damage another’s reputation.

We’re not talking about valid communication that needs to take place, we’re talking about the dialogue of the devil. We’re not to do it! You malign your coworker – out of spite, or you think it’ll lead to a promotion, but it only ends in a demotion. As God’s people we now know better!

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