April 25, 2011

Minor Prophets LXXVI: Decay Crept Into My Bones

"I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." ~Habakkuk 3:16-18   

Habakkuk 3:16-18 reveals a heart for God and a fear for God that every believing Christian should understand firsthand. If they do not feel the way Habakkuk does in these verses they are not understanding God correctly and they are not paying God the proper respect that He deserves. In these verse we see something akin to Isaiah's "Woe is me!" moment when his human frailness and finiteness rush in and overwhelm him. Same here with Habakkuk. Same with anyone that truly understands that they have had a encounter with the divine. I will also admit right now that if a person has had an encounter it will affect them both physically and psychologically. I shakes you to your core.

Even after being confronted with the fact that his nation is about to be ransacked Habakkuk finds the time and condition of heart to acknowledge God’s greatness. He sees his world on the edge of a precipice ready to fall in. When he looked to God in faith he saw hope in Him and rejoiced in his Savior. I know these feelings, especially the heart pounding, trembling legs and the decay creeping into my bones. You actually feel God's presence (at least I have). When your world shatters and is turned upside down. Anxiety and apprehension absolutely derail your life and there is nowhere else to look for help except up. In this situation, in this encounter you do not walk away from the Living God unchanged. This is how I am certain I was converted. This is how I know it was Him.

When God is present, the room I am within seems too small. The area I am in seems too small. I become acutely aware of my mortality and my humanness. Yet I will wait and by God’s grace survive the encounters when they happen. This is fear and awe of the Lord. I knew (and so did Habakkuk), no matter how disastrous things become and no matter how far off track things get, God is still God. God is still sovereign and sitting in the driver’s seat. I know that if someone dies, God is there when they go. If plans fail it is because God wanted them to for whatever reasons He has. I also know that these things happen for the good of those who love Him.

Once we realize this fear is a natural reaction to us coming in contact with Someone that is wholly "Other" we then realize that we need not fear if we are obedient and repent. We should still have a healthy sense of awe and reverence but not unmitigated abject fear. That fear and dread should be reserved for the unrepentant and disobedient. Unfortunetly, those people are either so far gone or so arrogant thy have become too numb or to stupid to fear God. This is just like a child whacking a hornets nest and has no clue they are about to have a world of hurt brought down on them.

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