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Searching for peace in the soul

Habakkuk 2:5-20

Peace is perhaps best defined as the ability to walk in fulfillment rather than fear. The ability to relax in the arms of a sovereign God, in spite of the tragic plight in which you find yourself. In continuation of chapter 2, Habakkuk introduces a series of five woes or complaints.

Each is comprised of three verses. Habakkuk is searching for peace. I really do believe that everyone is searching for peace. The world is searching for peace. Think about your neighbors, friends, family members, aren’t they searching for peace? Finally, how about you, are you searching for peace?

Now it is very interesting to learn in what people think there is peace. You might even be surprised at what you really consider peace. I think the true answer is in the earlier definition we gave for peace. The ability to walk in fulfillment rather than fear. However, here is the key to walk in fulfillment rather than fear. The ability to relax in the arms of a sovereign God.

Habakkuk has asked a question: “How can God use unrighteousness, and why has He delayed in punishing sin?” He wants to hear the divine answer to this perplexing problem. As promised, the answer comes, and he has been assured of two clear things:

1) The sin of Judah needed judging, and that the chastening hand of God had not been exercised among His people

2) The invasion of the Chaldeans is evidence that the chastening hand of God is working, that God is using the Chaldeans to punish Judah

Now, knowing this creates a problem for Habakkuk. That vile and wicked people could be used by God to punish people so much better. Habakkuk has asked that God vindicate His justice and in this second chapter, God tells him to WAIT, WATCH, and WRITE.

God answers Habakkuk in verses 3-4 by saying “Though I use them, leave them to me”

The mystery of God is covered by the clouds that often hide from our finite minds the high purposes of God’s ways. In the beginning of the 4th verse, God told him that iniquity and unrighteousness would not go unpunished. The Chaldeans may come into plunder, rob, and kill but don’t forget, God will bring to nothing the proud. Wickedness prepares the instrument for its own ruin.

Habakkuk shares a woe here in the 12th verse “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity!

He is saying that there are some that might seek peace by dishonest means.

Habakkuk is saying that one, who established power by dishonorable means, does so to fulfill personal addiction.

In the days of his power Adolph Hitler said: “What if we lose one hundred thousand men, if we get what we want, that is all we care”

This is a desperate place for anyone to get. Yet, in the world in which we live this mindset is considered by many the choice of the day. The cause for such a thought and action is to feed an unnatural addiction to power. Habakkuk is saying in this verse that there is judgment for boundless greed.

In verses 15-17 we read

15 “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies!

16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.

17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed human blood;

There are those who will search to find peace in the pursuit of fantasy. As the 15th verse begins, we see a formula for seduction. There is reference to being “drunk”, to “attacking” and “nakedness”. Each one of these point to an unregenerate mind. One dependant upon external pleasure. The thrill of the hunt drives men. Now it is the prediction of Habakkuk that these men will be “filled with shame instead of glory” verse 16.

Now the unfortunate thing is that what Habakkuk speaks of in these verses is exactly where some in Judah found themselves. There were those who had succumbed to the temptations and rationalized their sordid behavior as justified. I think that it is amazing to know to what they justified these actions. They concluded that God apparently had no concern for them or for their well being. What a shame that they came to such a conclusion. Yet, even more so is that many a Christian comes to this ridiculous conclusion today.

Today just in the time of Habakkuk we find that some create their own gods. Look at verses 18-19

18 “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.

19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.”

Amazingly, the gods or idols, which are crafted, are “speechless” and “dumb”. Not gods at all, yet men believe that an object of worship lends itself to fulfillment. It is done today just as in the days of Habakkuk the difference is only in the image that it takes on. Automobiles, expensive hobbies they have no redeeming value.

In this chapter over the past two weeks, we have seen that faith patiently watches for God’s purposes in verses 1-4

The only true peace is found in the majestic splendor of God. In verse 20 we read-The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.

God is not and will not be restricted by time and space. Idols and little gods can be restricted however, God’s temple, His unending palace is His abode. The day of divine reckoning will come. The law of punishment is as unchanging as the throne of God.

Paul write to the Christians in Galatia in Galatians 6: 7

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

The demand of heaven for the silent expectancy of all people. There may well be and most certainly is much wickedness in this world today and God is still on His throne.

He is:

1) in the residence of His glory

2) in the place where He regards all the affairs of men

3) in the place where He can reward for right

4) in the place where He can punish the wrongdoers

It has been said that we are to live in the silence and seriousness of hushed expectancy. Our silence in His presence reveals the depth of our faith life. It proves we do not question His wisdom or power

Habakkuk has been looking at the vision, and listening to God and now most importantly he is learning not to answer back.

Habakkuk had started out in chapter 1 verse 13 asking God why do you

“hold Your tongue” and now in this 20th verse God says “Let all the earth keep silence”

True peace is found in the majestic splendor of God.

A thought to ponder,

Elbert Nasworthy

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