Daily Devotion August 1, 2017
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“Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith”
Habakkuk 2:4 NRSV
Exactly half a millennium ago in 1517, was the famous reformation by Martin Luther which has resulted into the Protestant Movement. One of the bible passages which have inspired Luther was Romans 1:17 in which alluding to Habakkuk 2:4, St. Paul writes: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith” (NRSV). This passage, originally appearing in Habakkuk has been quoted twice by Paul—the other being in Galatians 3:11, and once by the writer of Hebrews (10:38).
Habakkuk, saw what he thought was a great injustice, when Israel was being subjected to violence by people who were “more wicked” than Israel. In the first of his two complaints, Habakkuk questioned God:
“How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted” (Hab. 1:2-4 NLT).
God’s response to this complain seemed unsatisfactory to Habakkuk, again he had the following questions to God;
O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal—surely you do not plan to wipe us out? O Lord, our Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us, to punish us for our many sins. But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil. Will you wink at their treachery? Should you be silent while the wicked swallow up people more righteous than they? Are we only fish to be caught and killed? Are we only sea creatures that have no leader? Must we be strung up on their hooks and caught in their nets while they rejoice and celebrate? Then they will worship their nets and burn incense in front of them. “These nets are the gods who have made us rich!” they will claim. Will you let them get away with this forever? Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests? (Hab. 1:12-17 NLT).
The man of God—Habakkuk then decided to set himself at the watchtower, waiting for the Lord’s response saying;
“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” (Habakkuk 2:1).
In part of his response to Habakkuk’s second complaint the LORD God said;
“Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God” (Habakkuk 2:4 NLT).
Here the Lord God contrasts the crooked with the righteous saying that the former trusts in themselves but the latter trusts in God all the time. The former (the wicked) “either distrust or despise God’s all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him,” but, the latter (the righteous), “Those who are truly good, and whose hearts are upright with God, will value the promise, and venture their all upon it; and, in confidence of the truth of it, will keep close to God and duty in the most difficult trying times, and will then live comfortably in communion with God, dependence on him, and expectation of him” (Matthew Henry).
God expects us to have faith in Him other than trusting our wisdom, abilities and living without any regard for Him and righteousness. He promised Habakkuk that those who will walk rightly with him, those who put their faith in him will live. But they who trust in themselves will by no means survive the violence. As some would like to put it in short; FAITH is Forsaking All, I Trust Him (God). It is prudent that we must not trust in our might, we must not trust in our possessions, we must not trust in anything but have FAITH in God, because the righteous shall live by faith.
In addition, the righteous—those who revere God will not only have God’s favour in times of trouble in this earthly life, but having faith in God through his Son Jesus Christ gives us eternal life. Through faith in Christ, we are counted righteous—justified and freed from the slavery of sin, delivered from death which is the wage of sin and receive God’s gift of eternal life. Writing about being justified by faith, Luther describes his joyous experience of justification by faith in these words:
“I clung to the dear Paul and had a great yearning to know what he meant. Night and day, I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement The just shall live by faith. Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through sheer grace and mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took a new meaning, and whereas before ‘the justice of God’ had filled me with hate, now it became inexpressibly sweet in greater love. This passage of Paul became to me a gate to heaven”—Martin Luther.
Indeed, the just or the righteous shall live by faith because in God they put their TRUST. Amen! Rev. J
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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture Quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV) 2011.
Rev. Julius Izza Tabi is the founding Director of this online New Dawn Ministries. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues from the Norwegian School of Theology. Julius also is a pastor in the Anglican Diocese of Ma’di and West Nile of the Church of Uganda who believes that God’s timeless truth of salvation must be preached to all Nations. Help Donate here to support the New Dawn Ministries. You can also support this ministry by purchasing Julius’ popular books Triumphing Over Odds and Suffering and Pain? from Amazon. Thank you.