We had a great morning this week here at First Covenant Church! First, we had such a lively discussion in our Adult Sunday School class on Philippians that I only got halfway through my intended lesson (again), meaning that the lesson entitled, “Two Models,” only presented one model...
And yet, no one seemed to notice that...
And then after the service, at our monthly Brown-Bag-It lunch, we had prepared a special roundtable discussion with the FCCers involved in our Mentoring Program (where an adult commits to spending quality time on a regular basis, investing themselves and their lives in a specific teenager within our church family)--but then, tons of other people joined in on that discussion who had nothing originally to do with Mentoring. For about the first two minutes, Sara and I were a smidgey bit discombobulated... but then, it became very clear that this was exactly what God had prepared--and it was so much better than anything that we’d been planning. Not only did we all get some excellent input from others that we would have never considered ourselves, but we also unintentionally opened the door for other people to become interested in being mentors as well. Sara had walked into the meeting intending to ask for prayer for three more mentors, but before we could get that far in the meeting, three adults shared that they discerned that God was calling them to join the program.
God is good. And awfully clever...
In our message this week, we continued looking at “The Bible--The Musical!” by talking about the last song in the Old Testament in Habakkuk 3. There were two more centuries of prophets writing after that, and most of them frequently broke out into metered verse that very well could have been musical, but this was the last time that we’re specifically told that what we’re hearing was intended as a song.
And to be honest, it’s kind of a messed-up song. See, things had been bad in Judah for decades... and then they were good again... and then they’d gone bad again after Egypt’s invasion. So Habakkuk asked God when He was planning on doing something about it, and God responded that what He was planning would be worse than what they’d already gotten.
So Habakkuk said that he’d wait for God to respond (apparently, because he didn’t like the response that he actually got from God already). So God dictated a response that He wanted basically printed on a billboard so that it would be as clear as He could make it--He was going to call the pagan nations in to devastate Judah for its sinfulness. The people of God had just assumed that since they’d been more or less the victims of abuse, then any abuses that they themselves might perpetrate must be okay in God’s eyes. Amazingly, God disagreed.
So in chapter 3, Habakkuk sang that he was waiting patiently and expectantly for God’s deliverance--and for God to smite the nations that were victimizing His people. That... doesn’t seem quite right, does it?
We’re left with wondering if chapter 3 should be sung as a song of faithfulness, or should it be seen as a song that happily disregards the Lord’s specific words of prophecy because the singer would rather wait for a better response from God than what he’d gotten. So which was it? Well, I guess that kind of depends on how we gauge where Habakkuk’s relationship was with God at the time, doesn’t it...?
And that means that when you and I read that song today, then we probably ought to ask ourselves that same question--when we put our confidence in our belief that God will make things work out more comfortably in our lives, are we truly trusting in God’s will, or are we absolutely refusing to trust in God’s will? Why did God say that He was allowing those discomforts there in the first place? To draw you to faith, or to draw you to repentance?