2006 already. It’s hard to believe. We had an encouraging New Year’s Day at Send Evangelical Church, and we looked at the wonderful and under-studied book of Habakkuk.
As Habakkuk looks at a violent and unjust world, he wonders whether God cares, and why He doesn’t seem to act. But God does care, and is acting – and promises to judge Judah for her sins. Habakkuk is a bit miffed because the instrument of judgement is the idolatrous nation of Babylon.
But as God speaks to him, he realises that the holiness of God demands the punishment of all sin – so God’s people must be punished for their sin just as much as the pagans.
By chapter 3, Habakkuk is praising this awesome God who works in the world, and praying for Him to renew His works in Habakkuk’s time. He reaches a position of faith where he waits on God’s timing, trusts in God’s character, and rejoices in the Lord.
There is much for us to learn from Habakkuk, but here are a few New Year pointers…
- God hates all sin, which includes ours. It is so tempting for us to judge others, but to do so is hypocritical. Judgement is God’s job not ours. We need to spend less time judging others and more time repenting for our own sin.
- The righteous by faith will live. Judgement on sin isn’t the end of the story, and the good news of the Gospel is that God acts justly in punishing sin, but in mercy by taking that punishment on His own son Jesus, that whoever believes in Him might be forgiven for their sins. Praise God that He is both just and merciful.
- We need to get to know God better, so that we can live by faith. That means reading His word and praying. As we understand more of the character of God, supremely as revealed in Jesus, we will be able to trust Him more and wait on His timing and rejoice in His goodness, despite our circumstances.
In other words, we start with, carry on with and finish with the Gospel. Which is why I think the BH church verse for the year is so helpful:
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
Happy New Year.