Habakkuk 1:7-11The strength and speed of the Babylonian army.
Today’s reading continues from last week with a description of the Babylonian army.
7 They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honour.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
9 they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind
and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on –
guilty people, whose own strength is their god.’
The sobering thought here, is that these are the words of God the Father. I have often wondered why we have ‘red-letter’ Bibles, which mark out the quoted words of Jesus, yet we don’t identify clearly the quotes of God the Father. I wonder what colour print we would use? I guess the red-letter text is intended for us to sit up and take special note. Although, ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’, 2 Tim 3:16. These words in Habakkuk were supposed to get the Israelites at that time to heed the warning. The nation had descended into decadence and turned their backs on the God who had brought them to the promised land. In this sorry state, only a few, like the prophet recognised the danger of neglect and went so far as to petition God to do something about the injustice he saw around him.
God’s response is firm and frightening, he would use a pagan nation who followed false gods as his instrument of judgement on Judah. He therefore agreed with Habakkuk’s assessment of the situation, but he operates in his sovereign timing. As mentioned in 2 Peter 3:8
‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.’
We know, with our perspective on history, that God was true to his word, and the Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem in 597BC, probably about a decade after this prophecy. I wonder if Habakkuk was there to see it?
Maybe today you feel that the nation, or nations, have wandered too far from the one true God. But unlike Habakkuk, we have a Jesus perspective on the future prospects. One day rather than the Babylonian army, Jesus will return and establish an eternal kingdom where justice, truth and righteousness will rule. Now that’s something to look forward to.
Help us to heed your promises and direction for us, as a nation, as a church, and as an individual child of God. Help us to be the salt and light in our society to uphold your teachings. Give us the eternal perspective, patience and excitement to be ready to welcome your coming again, so you may establish your kingdom and unite heaven and earth to praise your holy name.
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Tomorrow’s Reading: Habakkuk 1:12-17