Habakkuk positions himself to hear God’s response to the dominant question posed in yesterday’s reading, “How long?” In his declaration that he will be at his “watchpost” waiting for God, Habakkuk acts as one who lives by faith, demonstrating hope and expectation despite the despair he voices in the first chapter. God’s answer reminds Habakkuk and modern readers that God is sovereign and will deal with injustice, suffering, and evil according to God’s timetable and as God deems fit.
As we await God’s appointed time, we live by faith. And living faithfully is more than mere survival, getting by, or muddling through. We live fully in the face of suffering, persecution, and violence. We live expectantly, knowing that God will answer personally our cry for help and deliverance: “For there is still a vision for the appointed time. . . . It will surely come.”
Martin Luther King Jr. and countless women, men, and children endured suffering, persecution, and violence in the struggle for freedom. Many sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom and justice. Along with King’s, the names of forty individuals who were killed between 1954 and 1968 are inscribed on a circular black granite table, which is part of the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. Designed by Maya Lin, who also designed the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., it was dedicated in 1989. Another part of the memorial, a curved water wall, includes an excerpt from King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a paraphrase of the prophet Amos (5:24, kjv): “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” May we be willing to live by faith in the stream of righteousness.
Gracious and loving God, help me to live by faith. Help me to remember that you are sovereign and will act in your own time and way to bring about justice. Amen.
Habakkuk stands aghast at the “destruction and violence” all around and wonders how justice never seems to conquer. At the end of the reading, God contrasts the proud, whose spirit “is not right in them,” with the righteous who live by faith. The psalmist delights in God’s righteousness and in the commandments of God; however, he admits that “I am small and despised.” The psalmist’s “trouble and anguish” appear in Second Thessalonians also, but here the “persecutions and the af ictions” endured by the faithful serve a particular end: They stand as signs of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In the Gospel reading Jesus tells Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house,” which reminds us that the righteous who live by faith are not necessarily the socially or religiously acceptable.
• Read Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4. What situations in your life and world cause you to cry out to God, “How long?”?
• Read Psalm 119:137-144. Who have you known who trusts God implicitly? How has that person’s example helped you in the past? How might you let it help you in the future?
• Read 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12. How will you offer Christ’s peace to someone you meet today?
• Read Luke 19:1-10. Jesus’ interaction caused Zacchaeus to trust God and straighten out his life. Where and with whom might God be leading you to share with others the heart of Christ?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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