Advent Devotion for December 14
Candle Lighter says: “If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,"
Response: “for it will surely take place.”
SCRIPTURE: Habakkuk 2:1-5
2 I will climb up to my watchtower
and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the Lord says
and how he will answer my complaint.
2 Then the Lord said to me,
“Write my answer plainly on tablets,
so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.
3 This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.
4 “Look at the proud!
They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.
But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.
5 Wealth is treacherous,
and the arrogant are never at rest.
They open their mouths as wide as the grave,
and like death, they are never satisfied.
In their greed they have gathered up many nations
and swallowed many peoples.
SOME THOUGHTS: The season of Advent is about waiting and looking toward the fulfillment of God’s ultimate restoration of all creation. In the previous chapter, the bad guys were getting away with murder of people that were better than they were. This injustice grated on Habakkuk. In his frustration, he asked eleven questions of the Lord! In a nutshell, “The bad guys are getting away with murder. When are you going to do something about it?” He was trying to reconcile how a holy and just God would punish Judah with people that were more pagan than the Jews. That was chapter one. In chapter two, Habakkuk responds in great wisdom. He decides to wait to see what the Lord will say. Unlike Job’s questioning of the Lord, where the Lord doesn’t answer but asks Job more questions, here, the Lord responds. Before we deal with the Lord’s response, I’d like us to reflect on Habakkuk’s questions. We are not in a situation greatly different from his. People who stand for Christ are mocked by those in our culture who have made themselves the arbiters of truth and have established their own moral code of conduct. As flawed as Christians are, they have been made righteous by the blood Christ. In our day, the double standard toward believers is common. In a godless society, perverted justice is the rule! So when the Lord responded to Habakkuk’s questions, we have an opportunity to find the mind of God. The Lord made His answer very plain. Verse three of chapter two is the theological description of Yogi Berra’s “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over!” The Lord’s justice will most surely come and when it does, it will be definitive. The proud ones trust in themselves even as they are crooked. Eventually, their sin will catch up and pay a heavy wage. We have plenty of current examples! The righteous, those made righteous by God, live by faithfulness to God. Their eyes remain on the Father, not in complaining about the crooked people around them. The Lord sees the evildoers. Evil is insatiable for power, for control, for self. One of the themes of Advent, is about waiting in faithfulness and not fretting about the people who “get away with it.” Put simply in God’s words, “They don’t.” Wait with your eyes fixed on our coming Savior.
PRAYER: O God, give us patience when the wicked hurt us. O how impatient and angry we are when we think ourselves unjustly slandered, reviled and hurt! Christ suffers strokes upon his cheek, the innocent for the guilty; yet we may not abide one rough word for his sake. O Lord, grant us virtue and patience, power and strength, that we may take all adversity with good will, and with a gentle mind overcome it. And if necessity and your honor require us to speak, grant that we may do so with meekness and patience, that the truth and your glory may be defended, and our patience and steadfast continuance perceived. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
—Miles Coverdale, 1488-1568 (Reformer and translator of the Bible into English in his day)