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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Habakkuk writes the first billboard
Date Posted: July 3, 2016

At that time, the LORD started sending troops to rob and destroy towns in Judah. Some of these troops were from Babylonia, and others were from Syria, Moab, and Ammon. The LORD had sent his servants the prophets to warn Judah about this, and now he was making it happen. The country of Judah was going to be wiped out, because Manasseh had sinned and caused many innocent people to die. The LORD would not forgive this (2 Kings 24:2-4).

What an aching statement that is. The LORD would not forgive this. Those innocent people are the many babies, first born sons, that Manasseh led all the people to sacrifice to Molech in his fiery belly of stone. The Bible says that Jerusalem, the city of peace, was filled with the blood of the innocents (2 Kings 24:4). Let’s remember that God spared Nineveh because of the 120,000 innocents that did not know their left hand from their right. The problem was a deep spiritual rift between God and His chosen people.

Today, God’s elect is the Bride of Christ, but she is sick with lethargy and doubt.

Timing

After Josiah died fighting the Egyptian pharaoh Neco, the people set up Jehoahaz as king who ruled for 3 months. He disobeyed the Lord. Then Neco set up Eliakim, Josiah’s son, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. Then the Babylonians rose up and conquered Judah.

God told Habakkuk to write down the vision so that it was so clearly stated that everyone would understand it. It had to be completely plain that it could be read on the run, at a glance, Then the LORD told me: "I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance. Habakkuk 2:2

Solomon told us there was never anything new under the sun. Well, here is the very first billboard ever set up. God wanted this message to be so clear that anyone rushing by would still understand it.

Of all the prophecies God gave the prophets to write down, this one was especially different.

The vision was different from some others such as Ezekiel and Daniel wrote. God did not want the end times to be so plainly read at the time they were written. They had to be obscure. But this vision was to be plain as the noses on their faces so that they would have no excuse when the Chaldeans swooped down upon them and swept them off to Babylon. God knew their hearts. He called them to repent, but they would have none of it. Except Manasseh.

Here we see the debilitating legacy of a kingship gone wrong. Manasseh sinned horribly, and he reigned for 55 years. Why would God allow such evil to prevail for so long? Then we see in 2 Chronicles 33 that he did finally see the Light of God and humbled himself. Of course it was after the Assyrian army captured him and brought him to Babylon in hooks and chains. A painful chastisement indeed. Manasseh finally knew that the LORD was God.

We can always ask God, “Why did You do that?” But we can always rest assured that God knows best, and even though it seems like a thousand years, He will always fulfill His promises.

Habakkuk’s inscribed tablets with the billboard message would still be around when it was time for the prophecy to be fulfilled. That is why God said to “wait for it, for it would come about.”

This is our assurance that nothing happens without God’s express permission. Everything happens within God’s timetable. Nothing we do or say brings about God’s will any faster or slower than He wills it. However, our prayers will always help us to align within His will.

God knows how to deal with the proud.

Spurgeon points out that pride knows no social height or lowliness.

Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, he is a proud man, and he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, and he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, he gathers to himself all nations and heaps up for himself all peoples.

He goes on to point out:

• Here is the rich man, proud of what he has

• There is the poor man, proud of his “honor” in having less

• Here is the talented man, proud of what he can do

• There is the man of few talents, proud of his hard work

• Here is the religious man, proud of his religion

• There is the unbeliever, proud of his unbelief

• Here is the establishment man, proud of his place in society

• There is the counter-cultural man, proud of his “outcast” status

• Here is the learned man, proud of his intelligence and learning

• Here is the simple man, proud of his simplicity

Sometimes we don’t realize just how much pride creeps into our soul until we read something like the above. Sometimes we don’t realize how prideful we are until Satan whispers something in our ears and our chest puffs up. Little do we realize how hateful that is to God Himself. Spurgeon says “There may be as much pride in a beggar’s rags as there is in a king’s robes.”

Pride is very dangerous in Christians. What are some things we are get so proud of? (I’m not talking about grandchildren here.)

Too often Christians see that pride is almost as distasteful to humans as it is to God, so they put on these false cloaks of modesty. They might say things like, “I’d sing in the choir, but my soprano voice is too strong for the altos.” Or sometimes Christians won’t volunteer for work in the church because they are afraid it looks like boasting. Both are bad for the congregation.

Read Chapter 4 of Daniel alongside Chapter 2 of Habakkuk. We see the truth of God’s promises fulfilled. We also see that God never surprise attacks. He always warns ahead of the fulfillment.

There are two specific keys here that God gives His people to unlock certain secrets.

1. Wait! What He says will happen will happen, we are assured of it. Those who wait should wait with great faith. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4

2. There is no breath in an idol nor comfort, and any who reveres it will surely die.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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