by the Rev. Dr. John Fairless
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True to its name, this is about as lamentable a passage as there is in Holy Scripture. This is the prophet’s vision of what life is like when God has turned God’s back on God’s people.
Or, perhaps it is the people who have turned their backs?
And, then — the hope of the gospel (i.e., “good news”) that God has NOT forgotten us. Every morning is a reminder that God has once again been with us through the night. Waiting quietly for the salvation of the LORD is a good thing.
My heart breaks with those of the exiled as they sit by the rivers of Babylon and weep. There was a time when the city was filled with hope, light, and life — all found in the presence of God. No more.
The quizzical verse 9 seems to me to be a symptom as much as anything of the mindset to be found when in the absolute pit of dark despair. Only then could such an invective make any sense. Not good sense, mind you, but certainly the kind of thoughts that proceed from a mind focused only on grief for too long.
Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4
Habakkuk’s vision is honest, searing, and insightful. It hurts to see violence rule as the law of the land. How long will this kind of perversion of justice last? (Habakkuk could be ripped right out of the headlines from around the globe today, don’t you think?)
And yet…there is still a vision! It is a vision of the faith of the righteous made plainly visible — “our faith shall be sight,” as Horatio Spafford wrote in the classic hymn, It Is Well With My Soul. God’s truth marches on and will surely come; once evident, it will seem as if there was never any delay at all!
Hmmm, lots of active waiting verbs here: trust, delight, commit, wait, refrain, inherit. I guess “waiting” for the Lord is not necessarily an empty enterprise.
2 Timothy 1:1-14
Pass It On was the contemporary folk anthem of my youth group years during the 1970’s. I guess I’ve played and sung it a few hundred times — no exaggeration! (Here‘s some nice finger-picking work on a guitar version, if you need to get your youth group jiggy on…:)
Paul’s remembrance of the way Timothy’s faith was handed on to him through his matriarchal lineage is a great reminder of the way all of us have come to faith. Jesus passed the word to a rag-tag group of guys and gals, who passed it on to a few more folks, who then took the message and passed it on, and so on and so forth…and then, one day, someone passed it on to us!
“Stir up the flame…” Paul admonishes Timothy; hey, it only takes a spark!
“But, Lord, if I only had a little more _____!”
We may tend to come to the Lord with a laundry list of the reasons that we haven’t been more effective in our service to God and the kingdom. Jesus, with the famous faith-as-a-mustard-seed quote, reminds us that it’s not about how much faith, or money, or talent, or anything else we have — it’s about what God can do through us and in us when we are willing.
by the Rev. Dr. Delmer L. Chilton