Showing posts with label Habakkuk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Habakkuk. Show all posts

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (9)

Psalm 110 and Isaiah 53 are among the most-quoted passages in the New Testament. However, if we break the quotations down to individual verses, Habakkuk 2:4 is also right up there, appearing on three separate occasions as evidence for three slightly different lines of theological argument.

Before we consider how the NT writers use it, however, we should probably consider the point Habakkuk was making in its original context.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (8)

During his incarnation, the Lord Jesus frequently and deliberately neglected to answer questions he was asked, and just as frequently answered questions he was not asked. After all, if you’re not asking the right question, what use is getting your answer?

This was Habakkuk’s experience with God. He asks the Lord, “Why do you remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” Did he ever get a direct answer? Not in so many words. Not even a “Because I said so.”

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (7)

As we discovered in yesterday’s discussion of Habakkuk 3, there are (at least) two legitimate ways to read verses 2 through 15.

The “surface” level is obvious in most of our English Bibles, and for most Christians is a perfectly sufficient, useful way to interpret the text: as an affirmation of God’s ability to dominate and control the natural world and the nations he made, even destroying them at will. The mountains, rivers, seas and empires of the world look impressive to human beings, who come and go like the grass of the field, but they are nothing to the Almighty. YHWH rules over all. Watching him dominate the natural world in this passage reads like an apocalypse. He is astoundingly powerful.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (6)

Our sloppy, modern online English dictionaries define an apocalypse as some version of a Jewish or Christian end-of-world scenario described in words. That popular usage is close enough for our purposes.

You can read this next portion of Habakkuk a number of ways. It is called a “prayer” (or more likely a “psalm” — psalms are usually prayers anyway), but it is also pretty clearly the substance of the “oracle” the prophet says he saw in 1:1. Everything else in the book could easily have been revealed to Habakkuk by the Lord verbally, and probably was; the earlier portions scan best as a dialogue or an argument rather than as a vision.

This chapter, on the other hand, is an optical feast. You would need a top notch Hollywood special effects crew or a lot of CGI to make it happen convincingly onscreen.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (5)

In scripture, woe-pronouncing should almost be considered its own genre. Take our present chapter, for example. From verse 6 on, Habakkuk 2 is nothing but a series of woes.

The first woe on record in scripture is a single curse against the nation of Moab in a ballad preserved in Numbers 21. Isaiah tops that, pronouncing six woes against the inhabitants of Judah and numerous others in the scope of his many-chaptered prophecy. Ezekiel has a pair of woes in chapter 13 and another pair in chapter 24. Hosea and Amos sprinkle them throughout, and Zephaniah has a trio. Luke gets an honorable mention for recording 15 different woes the Lord pronounced on various parties. Revelation has three, or maybe four, depending on how you read it. But Matthew 23 is the all-time single-chapter woe champ, in which the Lord pronounces seven on the Pharisees.

I would not have wanted to be those guys.

Saturday, May 06, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (4)

Why do the wicked appear to prosper while allowed to oppress, injure and even murder those more righteous than they? The question has troubled anyone with an attention span and reasonable powers of observation over the centuries. One of these was the prophet Habakkuk, who took his question to almighty God. God graciously responded, and Habakkuk wrote down what he said for those of us who would come later.

Here is how God answered him.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (3)

So far, Habakkuk’s prophecy has taken the form of a Q&A session with God. The prophet has bemoaned God’s apparent lack of interest in the perversion of justice and corruption within his nation. God has replied that it’s actually going to get worse before it gets better: he is in the process of raising up the Chaldeans and using them to discipline his arrogant and erring people.

Naturally, that revelation provokes further questions.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (2)

Manifest Destiny was an ideology promoted by newspaper editor John L. O’Sullivan in the 1850s in order to justify the annexation of Texas and Oregon by the United States. He maintained it was God’s will for the new nation to expand “from sea to shining sea”. Though contested by some, his idea had sufficient currency to get itself trotted out repeatedly to validate the acquisitions of New Mexico and California, and later the purchase of Alaska.

All Manifest Destiny really means is “It should be obvious we deserve whatever we want.” But attaching God’s name to it was magic in selling it to the nation.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Mining the Minors: Habakkuk (1)

We have been moving through this study of the Minor Prophets in as close to chronological order as possible. Our last book was Nahum. Internal evidence strongly suggests Nahum wrote it between 660 and 630 BC. That makes my next choice a tough one: Zephaniah or Habakkuk? Both are roughly the same length, and neither can be dated with pinpoint accuracy.

I’m going with Habakkuk first for two reasons: (1) because ‘H’ comes before ‘Z’, and (2) in order to get the judgment of Babylon out of the way before we consider the judgment of Judah.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Where Are The Results?

In business, success is quantifiable. Or at least it should be.

At the beginning of the fiscal year, or more likely prior, you set a series of targets to be met or exceeded and, come year-end, you stack up the goals alongside the actual results and … then you figure out how to fudge the numbers for the shareholders.

Too honest. Sorry.

But somewhere between the delivery of the actual numbers from the accounting department and the creation of the largely-fictional version that ends up in the annual report, the truth about the current state of your company is known, if only by a small group of men gathered in a boardroom.

Success — or horrible failure — is quantifiable.

Not really so in the church, is it? Not the way we’d like.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

From Safety to Where?

Christian Mingle takes your safety very seriously. Good to know.

But we all take our safety seriously. Some of us are too immature, unwary or inexperienced to recognize potential dangers when we encounter them, but that’s more a matter of failing to apply a principle than failing to believe it. If you ask a group of average folk how important their safety is to them, you’ll find most answer “Very”.

Drug safety, food safety, bike helmets, pre-nuptial agreements, fine print, motorcycle leathers, sunscreen, shark cages, air bags, seatbelts, life preservers, parachutes, fire alarms, escapes and extinguishers … everybody wants to be safe. Nothing intrinsically wicked about that.

Except when you do it at someone else’s expense.