“Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” That verse is from Habakkuk 1:5.
At first glance this verse seems like an amazing promise. A verse worthy of putting on a plaque and hanging on your wall. A verse worthy of displaying on a t-shirt. I have even heard one pastor quote this verse as the foundation for an initiative he was launching his church.
At first glance, this verse seems appropriate for all of the above… until you look at the context.
What is God speaking about in that verse? What should we be utterly amazed about? What great thing is God going to do that we will not believe, even if someone told us? Verse 6 gives the answer. God says, “I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.”
Verse 5 is not a verse of blessing; it is a verse of judgment! (This is a good reminder to always read verses and use them in their context. In fact, in Acts 13:40-41, the apostle Paul says, “Take care that what the prophets have said does NOT happen to you…” and then he quotes Habakkuk 1:5!)
Habakkuk 1:5 is a verse about judgment, not about blessing.
But this blog is about much more than these two verses and some world history thrown in for good measure. Here are some action steps for you to consider:
- The reason I am reading the book of Habakkuk today is I have been following a chronological Bible reading plan for the past few years. I wouldn’t normally read Habakkuk and I bet you wouldn’t either! 🙂 Yet this book is in the Bible for a reason, so we should read it. But the only way we’ll probably read it is if we have a Bible reading plan we are following. So if you don’t have one, start today! Click HERE for a free copy of the one I use. And if you already have a Bible reading plan, keep at it!
- In the world of real estate the three things that matter most are said to be “location, location, and location.” In other words, the perfect house (with a dream kitchen, etc.) isn’t actually the perfect house if it isn’t in the right spot (e.g., a bad neighborhood, backs up to an industrial complex, etc.). Location. Location. Location. When reading the Bible, you could say the same thing. Verses don’t exist in a vacuum. Where verses are located make all the difference in the world. So fight the urge to pull verses like Habakkuk 1:5 out of their context and make them say something they were never meant to say. Read individual verses from the Bible in their broader context. Always. So in the case of Habakkuk be sure to read the rest of the chapter that verse 5 is located in. And while you’re at it, read the entire book — it’s just 3 chapters long!
- Make time to read the Bible. Christianity Today magazine conducted a poll that said this: “Americans say their most significant frustration when it comes to reading the Bible is that they never have enough time to read it.” I became sad when I read that stat. Because although we are all overly busy, we are able to carve out time for things like TV, sports, Facebook, video games, the list goes on. So I encourage you to make time to read the Bible… especially as we head into the summer months.
***Please join us this Sunday at The Eastside Vineyard Church. We are continuing our series on Spiritual Warfare. My sermon title flips things upside down and takes a look at the world through the devil’s perspective. It’s titled “Judge Not… NOT!” In other words Jesus tells us not to judge so the devil wants us to judge all the time! This is a huge part of the spiritual battle that we lose everyday because we don’t realize we are being attacked. May 4. 10:30am. More info at tevchurch.org***