Monday, September 26, 2016

A real vs. religious relationship with God

woman praying
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Habakkuk 1:1-2:4

TO CHEW ON: "O Lord how long shall I cry,
And you will not hear?
Even cry out to You, 'Violence!'
And You will not save." Habakkuk 1:1

The times felt God-forsaken to Habakkuk. Judah had backslidden from Josiah's reforms. Violence towards citizens and oppression of the poor were rampant. Babylonia was gaining strength and threatened to invade from the north while Egypt and Assyria eyed other borders. It was in this setting that the prophet Habakkuk—a Levite—cried out to God.

His part of the conversation in Habakkuk 1 is refreshingly honest.
- He pours out his frustrations with God who seems deaf and disinterested -  Habakkuk 1:1.

- He confronts God with what appear to be contradictions—if God is holy why doesn't He deal with evil - Habakkuk 1:13?

- He appeals to the order of creation, showing God how man, in his anarchy, is no better than the creatures - Habakkuk 1:14-17.

God's reply (Habakkuk 1:5-11) is delivered with the same feistiness as Habakkuk's questions:
"Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe though it were told you" (Habakkuk 1:5).

Habakkuk is a good example of a man who has a genuine relationship with God. In her Truth-In-Action Through Habakkuk commentary, Leslyn Musch says:
"Habakkuk's transparent interchange with God models for us a real relationship rather than a religious one."

Musch makes these points about how to make ours similar:
  • Ask God the honest questions of your heart.
  • Understand that He can handle them.
  • Draw close to Him through prayer.
  • Ask to gain God's perspective on injustice.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the deep things of God - 1 Corinthians 2:10-11.

Of God's reply she says:
  • Expect the Lord to answer you.
  • Approach God with an open heart.
  • Lay down any preconceived ideas of how He will respond.
  • Be ready to hear anything He desires to tell you.
- Leslyn Musch, Truth-In-Action-Through Habakkuk, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1229.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for being big enough for any question. Help me to trust You when I don't understand and Your silence and inaction look like a contradiction of who You are. I want to be open to Your answers, however You send them. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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