Equipping Your Reimagine Journey
“…the righteous will attain life through trusting faithfulness.”
- Havakuk 2:4
Many church leaders are fond of quoting this verse especially as it was the very
verse that YHWH used to awaken Martin Luther. The question is, do most of us really appreciate what YHWH is saying here? What was the context of this message?
Havakuk was a witness to the horrible murders, robberies, swindling and all kinds of grievous injustices done by Hebrews against their own brothers. He prayed and cried to YHWH for justice but there was no end to the oppression. YHWH told Havakuk that he can expect more injustices, not only from fellow Hebrews, but from a foreign nation, the Chaldeans, who will trample down Israel, murder his people, and make the land desolate. A warrior nation, who were more evil than they, had been appointed to execute judgment for YHWH in order to correct Israel. They were warned so many times in the past by various prophets that YHWH would execute judgment if they will not repent and return to His ways. They only killed His prophets and covered the land with the blood of their victims.
YHWH told Havakuk to write down the vision for it will surely come to pass. It may take a while but it will surely come and it will not delay.
What was Havakuk’s response?
“YHWH, I have heard the report about you.
YHWH, I am awed by your deeds.
Bring your work to life in our own age,
Make it known in our own time;
But in anger, remember compassion…” (3:2)
“When I heard, my whole body trembled,
My lips shook at the sound;
Weakness overcame my limbs,
My legs gave way beneath me.
But I wait calmly for the day of trouble…” (3:16)
“Even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom,
And no fruit is on the vines,
Even if the olive tree fails to produce,
And the fields yield no food at all
Even if the sheep vanish from the sheep pen,
And there are no cows in the stalls;
Still, I will rejoice in YHWH,
I will take joy in the GOD of my salvation.
YHWH ELOHIM is my strength!” (3:17-19)
Many Christians are fond of claiming the promises of YHWH but when circumstances do not favor them, they feel betrayed. They sulk and get depressed. Naming and claiming is a fad among many Christian circles. But I wonder if they even study and examine the context of each promise they claim.
In walking the way of YHWH, He gave us specific instructions and commands to follow so that we will prosper and not go astray. The Torah was given to create, sustain and prosper the godly man. Many of these promises are “If and Then” conditional promises; but Christians claim these promises as if it was a given that YHWH is beholden to perform at their bidding even if they don’t observe and obey His commands. I think it is the height of arrogance to presume that one can force YHWH to do his bidding simply because he assumes that a promise must be fulfilled regardless of his commitment to the covenant.
Maybe we should learn from Uncle Ben of Peter Parker aka Spiderman when he said “With great power, comes great responsibility.” A Christian who has been given the privilege of being adopted as a son of YHWH, must rise up to his responsibility as a son and perform deeds in keeping with his status. With great responsibility comes great accountability. As Batman once said, “I am defined by what I do.” James said, “Show me your faith without the actions, and I will show you my faith by my actions.”(Jas 2:18)
The righteous shall live by his faith. When a Christian claims a promise, he is effectively making a vow before YHWH to observe and obey the accompanying commands to that promise. The command is the tie that binds that promise to YHWH’s power to perform the miracle. An athlete can’t win a contest unless he competes according to the rules (2 Tim 2:3).
Havakuk knew the rules and he was an obedient prophet. Even with all the adverse circumstances happening all around him, he said,
“Bring your work to life in our own age,
Make it known in our own time;
But in anger, remember compassion.”
Havakuk surrendered everything to the will of YHWH, knowing that He is in control and loving and merciful.
What is wrong is, many Christians are focused on themselves – I, me, mine, myself. To be adopted as a son is already quite a privilege. We are not the center of the universe. It’s not all about us. It is all about YHWH. YHWH has a strategy in human history; and it is His story. YESHUA puts it quite simply: “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.”(Jn 15:7)
To claim a promise without obeying the accompanying command is not only irresponsible and presumptuous but an outright rebellion against YHWH’s authority. But to claim a promise and observe and obey YHWH’s command is an imitation of YESHUA!