SIX REASONS WHY
Jane M. Phinney | Sept. 30, 2019
Early one morning, I was wrestling before the Lord regarding some relationship dynamics that are affecting my life. I wanted His approval to speak my piece, to air some growing convictions, & to sum it up…to defend myself. In no uncertain terms, He completely nixed that idea in the Proverbs chapter for that day. In chapter 11, verse 12b, it clearly states, “…but a man of understanding keeps quiet.” Cross-referencing just ONE WORD in verse 13, unearthed 32 verses about guarding your mouth. In short, all the characteristics of an overactive tongue add up to describe a fool…with the outcome being a ruined life. Wow! And “Ouch, Lord!” God knows how to get to the heart of a matter.
Believe it or not, I still struggled in my thoughts with wanting to defend myself the next morning. A phrase from the Bible popped into my mind so I sat down to read through the source, the short book of Habakkuk. While only three chapters in length, it’s considered to be one of the “gems” in the Old Testament-- according to the opening commentary. Apparently, Habakkuk & I have something in common. He didn’t understand God’s sense of justice either. He opens with, “How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and Thou wilt not hear?” Have you ever felt that way? He goes on to air his grievances. “Yes, destruction & violence are before me; strife exists & contention rises…the law is ignored & just is never upheld…the wicked surround the righteous…justice comes out perverted.” God answered Habakkuk but he didn’t like what he heard. In a nutshell, a holy God was using an unholy nation to discipline His own people.
For the second time Habakkuk attempts to state his case by listing out all the perverse character traits of the nation God was using as the tool to teach His children. I must say, God is so gracious! He patiently explained that if Habakkuk would just wait, it would all become clear. “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; & it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by faith.” (chapter 2, verses 3&4) My simplistic translation of what God said would read something like this: I have a plan. I know the perfect timing to execute My plan. It will happen. But do you trust me, to watch out for you? Do you believe in Who I am? Just walk by faith & stop focusing on the perceived injustice you think you’re experiencing. Focus on Me.
God’s words brought peace to Habakkuk’s soul. God’s Truth brought peace to my soul. In consideration of God’s holiness, Habakkuk concluded that it wasn’t his place to question God’s intentions or character. It’s not my place either. His reservations about God’s plan were not warranted. Neither are mine. I love his stated summation of their conversation. “But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.” (2:20) In my words…HUSH!
Habakkuk’s influence doesn’t end here. Chapter 3 is his prayer to God, chronicling what he pictures as the future deliverance of His people. But in his humanity, Habakkuk feels some apprehension in the wait, so much so that his inward parts (belly) trembled. Despite his emotions, he boldly asserts six reasons why, six negative outcomes that he could see happening…that would test his faith & belief in God’s timing. “(1)Though the fig tree should not blossom, (2)& there be no fruit on the vines,(3) though the yield of the olive should fail,(4)& the fields produce no food,(5) though the flock should be cut off from the fold, (6)& there be no cattle in the stalls.” God bless Habakkuk…only 6?! I listed 17 “what if?” scenarios that the enemy uses to try & trip me up in my faith walk…in my conviction that my heavenly Father knows what’s best for me, is aware of me, is in control of my life, & that He has provided everything I need through the indwelling life of Christ. What reasons does the enemy use in your life?
In a discussion with my sweetie this week, I referenced the common cliché, “there are 2 sides to every story.” He quickly responded with, “There’s only ONE story. And that’s God’s sovereignty, & how He works in our lives for our good, & for His purposes.” Simply profound! And I think Habakkuk would agree. He closes his narrative, of six reasons why, by boldly asserting how the righteous live by faith. “Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, & He has made my feet like hind’s feet, & makes me walk in my high places.” (see chapter 3 verses 17-19) “Blessed are you, O (put your name here); Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, who is the shield of your help & the sword of your majesty! So your enemies shall cringe before you, & you shall tread upon their high places.” (Deuteronomy 33:29)