Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Time to Mourn

Habakkuk 1:2-4 
    O LORD, how long shall I cry,
    And You will not hear?
    Even cry out to You, "Violence!"
    And You will not save.
    Why do You show me iniquity,
    And cause me to see trouble?
    For plundering and violence are before me;
    There is strife, and contention arises.
    Therefore the law is powerless,
    And justice never goes forth.
    For the wicked surround the righteous;
    Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
                                             (New King James Version)

(I read those verses and following meditation on the passage above early this morning. The words below were writtenn by someone I know almost nothing about, but what he says in this instance rings true.)

"The anguish in his voice is palpable. 'God, I've been crying out to You day and night, and still violence, perversity, and all these terrible things are happening in the land. How long will this evil last? How much longer must we endure this constant wickedness, this corruption? When are you going to act, God?' We have probably prayed similar prayers ourselves: 'We need You, God. How long, O Lord?'

"Ezekiel was a slightly later contemporary of Habakkuk. In Ezekiel 9:1-6 is a prophecy, a vision, that he saw while a captive in Babylon. The vision describes what God was doing in Judah and answers, at least in part, Habakkuk's question: 'Why have You not judged all this evil, God?' His reply in Ezekiel 9 is, 'I am going through the land, through My chosen people, and I am marking each one who sighs and cries over what is happening. I am searching out and seeing who is righteous, who has character, and whom I must destroy.'

"It is good that we mourn over all the corruption, wickedness, and abominations that are happening in this land. It tells God something about our heart and our character. He is seeking out those who are concerned, distressed, and repulsed by what is occurring around them, and He is setting them apart for deliverance. All the while, we must endure it, but it is a necessary wait, because it takes time for God to evaluate our character, to see what we will do over the long haul. As Jesus advises in Luke 21:19, 'In your patience possess your souls.'

"So we must ask ourselves, 'How do we react to what is happening in [this world]?' How do we react to sex and violence on television, movies, and magazines, in books, on billboards, and in just about all advertising and entertainment? How do we react to terrorism, to drug use, to abortion, to oppression? How do we react to our court system, which allows so much injustice to stand? How do we react to racial inequalities? Have we become numb and hardened to all of these things, or do we still sigh and cry over the depths of this nation's depravity?

"Habakkuk is certainly concerned, and so he asks God for answers, crying out, 'Save us!' God replies in Habakkuk 1:5-11, and His reply is very interesting."

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