The latest mass murder reminds us all of how Godless we as a nation and a people have become. WE all know what’s coming, we all know even the agnostics and Atheists can see it coming even if only from a historical perspective. America is in rapid decline, but this did not happen overnight, we have all seen it coming for many years. Just as the ancient city of Babylon and then Israel bowed under waves of destruction from weather, disease and many other things. Eventually they were destroyed because of their sin and so will we be.
The Hebrew prophet Habakkuk does not speak directly to the people in his short, three-chapter book. He tells them of his dialogue with God and God’s work in him, leaving personal application to the readers then and of course today. The prophet asks, “How long, O Lord?” to the wickedness he sees around him and in God’s own people. Habakkuk like us was living in an era of spiritual decline (Habakkuk 1:2–4). God responds (1:5–11), my people have become wicked, and I will not let it pass, I am raising up the Babylonians to destroy them.
Habakkuk is astounded, how can God “idly look at traitors” (Habakkuk 1:13), the Babylonians are even more wicked than God’s own people? The prophet becomes indignant and testy: “I will take my stand . . . and look out to see what [God] will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint” (Habakkuk 2:1). He presumes God’s response to his second complaint will be inadequate.
God’s second response (2:2–20) silences him. There is no third complaint. God says he will not leave Babylon unpunished. His complete and perfect justice will be served in his own perfect timing and way. The weight of justice indeed will fall, destroying the prideful evil nation and rescuing the righteous who live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4). The voice of God to the hearts and minds of his people wants the people then and us now “to live by faith in unprecedented days, come what may”. God doesn’t make promises to the anxious prophet that things will get better. He promises instead to make things worse before they get better. Utter devastation, then deliverance.
So, as we a basically Godless nation reels from yet another mass murder are WE returning to God, are we humbling ourselves? It does not seem so. As the supply lines fail, the shelves remain empty, the economy tanks, and the virus comes to our own town or city, street, home, will we rejoice in the Lord? Even now people in our nation are seeking more laws, more rules to put an end to the Godless behaviors in our society. But just as in the past new gun laws will not fix this evil, nor will more supplies, or better health or more security. From a practical standpoint it is not only common sense but a matter of public safety that people not be allowed to have weapons of war. You and I do not need assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, body armor etc. It is prideful thinking to take a political position to satisfy the NRA or some other segment of society when that position results in death. This is no different than abortion. We choose to allow evil.
The thing we resist, the one constant fact, our haven in the most challenging of times is God himself.
Will we in America return to him?
The many who are puffed up in pride within our culture will be destroyed in time, sooner or later. God holds himself out to us all offering his humbling hand if we bow in faith. We will find God himself to be “my strength” in such day as these. Habakkuk 3:19 19 “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.” The prophet foolishly took his stand (as we do), and God mercifully brought him to his knees. God humbled him, and the prophet accepted it. He accepted the difficult, inconvenient, painful purposes of God in the coming judgments, he abandoned his protests, bowed in prayer, and rose to praise our Lord.
Will we do the same in the lingering confusion and disorientation of the slow-moving uncertainty we’re living in? Will our protests, new laws, political compromises, however justly conceived, lead to bent knees? God intends for us not only to observe the power of his sovereign care throughout history, and in our lives, but to come to him, because he keeps his word, his promises. Charles Spurgeon reminds us of God’s faithfulness,
“Our heavenly Banker delights to cash his own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of promise out of its sheath and use it with holy violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your importunately reminding him of his promises. He loves to hear the loud outcries of needy souls. It is his delight to bestow favors. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask. The sun is not weary of shining, nor the fountain of flowing. It is God’s nature to keep his promises; therefore, go at once to the throne with, “Do as you have said.”
So now we must cry out to him, we must do what is right in our culture to serve others and to help them flourish. God is faithful even in such times as these.