Day One ~ March 9, 2020

"The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
the cypress, the pine, and the box tree together,
to beautify the place of My sanctuary;
and I will make the place of My feet glorious."
~ Isaiah 60:13
Habakkuk ~ Chapter One
"Look among the nations and watch -
be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
which you would not believe,
though it were told you."
(Habakkuk 1:5)

Morning Meditation: Read Habakkuk 1:1-11

Habakkuk lived in a time much like we live in today. The land around him was full of violence, lawlessness, and injustice. The religious reform which had been established during the reign of King Josiah had ended with his death, and wickedness was now on the rise. The kingdom was broken, society was deteriorating, and the nation was teetering on the brink of disaster. Habakkuk was deeply disturbed and grieved over the abuses he witnessed, but when he cried out to God, the Lord didn't seem to hear. "O LORD, how long shall I cry? And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, "Violence!" And You will not save" (v. 2). We can easily become discouraged and filled with anxiety when we focus on the evil and trouble all around us. When we shift our focus onto our circumstances and our feelings, we can become paralyzed with fear and begin to accuse God of being unconcerned with our needs and accepting of wickedness. "Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, contention arises" (v. 3).

"Righteous are You, O LORD,
when I plead with You;
You let me talk with You about Your judgments.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?
You have planted them, yes, they have taken root;
they grow, yes, they bear fruit.
You are near in their mouth
but far from their mind.
But You, O LORD, know me;
You have seen me,
and You have tested my heart toward You."
(Jeremiah 12:1-3)

Habakkuk did the right thing in taking his problems to God in prayer, and God answered him with a revelation of His majesty and sovereignty. "Look among the nations and watch - be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you " (v. 5). All the world around him was sinking, and Habakkuk's heart began to sink with it. If he didn't regain focus he would soon be drowning in a sea of doubt and despair. When we become so weighed down by the burdens we bear, we can easily begin to shift our focus away from God and onto ourselves. This is where we get into trouble. When the mind begins its mental descent away from God, our thoughts become corrupted and we begin to think less of Him than He really is. This dangerous shift away from unwavering devotion to God into the depths of idolatry was exactly what the Lord was bent on correcting in His people when He presented His plan to Habakkuk. The moment we begin to entertain shallow thoughts of God that are beneath His dignity and unworthy of His majesty we find ourselves in polluted waters, and soon all our activity, internally and externally, becomes immoral and corrupted, and our worship is no longer pure and true. "Beware therefore, lest what as been spoken in the prophets come upon you" (Acts 13:40). The Lord had sent His people repeated warnings in order to get them to repent, but they rejected His many tender and gracious invitations to return to Him with all their hearts; therefore, God would now inflict them with the rod of discipline, and He would do so with an unlikely and unexpected weapon, making a spectacle of them to all the nations. "All nations would say, "Why has the LORD done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?" Then people would say, "Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 29:24-25). As we begin our journey let us take a moment of reflection and consider our own thoughts about how we think of God and His marvelous works. Let us spend time in adoring worship of our Sovereign King and give Him the honor and glory due His name.

"Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
and honor Me with their lips,
but have removed their hearts far from Me,
and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people,
a marvelous work and a wonder;
for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden."
(Isaiah 29:13-14)
Afternoon Devotion: Read Habakkuk 1:12-2:1

The plan God presented to Habakkuk in response to his complaint was not at all what the prophet was prepared to hear. God revealed to him that He was going to use the wicked Babylonians to punish His own people. "...a bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breadth of the earth...they are terrible and dreadful..." (v. 6). The prophet wanted revival, but instead God was sending judgment upon His own house (1 Peter 4:17). Habakkuk had seen the oppressive deeds and acts of injustice done by his own people, but how could God use an arrogant, idolatrous, and corrupt nation like Babylon to punish His chosen people. The prophet was more confused than ever. He couldn't understand how a holy God could use such an unholy and dirty people, like Babylon, to do the work of correcting and reproving His own people. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9).

"Are You not from everlasting,
O LORD my God, my Holy One?
We shall not die.
O LORD, You have appointed them for judgment;
O Rock, You have marked them for correction.
You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
and cannot look on wickedness.
Why do You look on those who deal treacherously,
and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours
a person more righteous than he?"
(Habakkuk 1:12-13)

God is holy, and because He is holy He will not allow anything that is blemished or unworthy to remain in His beloved people (Isaiah 1:18-20). The love of God is a perfecting and purifying love. He has called His people to be holy because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness is God's royal standard that determines the moral health of His universe, and anything that seeks to destroy that standard He must destroy. His people had grown complacent with sin, and were tolerating corruption and immorality in their pursuit of material and worldly success, therefore it was necessary for God to act in a way that would deliver them from their foolishness and rescue the nation from complete moral collapse. The Lord had sent droughts and plagues and other calamities to chastise His people, but they refused to listen time and time again. God's love for His people is a beautiful thing, but it is also terrible (fearful) in its power to rid His people of their sin, and He will use whatever instrument He chooses to accomplish His purposes of making a people holy unto the Lord (John 3:16-17!). "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). Habakkuk found it difficult to understand God's plan, because it did not align with what the prophet knew about Him, so he sought the Lord in prayer for better understanding. God does not expect us to understand His will, but He does require that we obey it, and He does welcome our prayers for direction and guidance. Let us look beyond our circumstances today and lift up our eyes, fixing them on Jesus, and leaning on the character of God, as Habakkuk did when he questioned God, remembering that the Lord is holy and eternal, and that He is accomplishing His perfect will for our lives and in this world even though we may not understand His ways. Let us offer a prayer of repentance this afternoon, asking the Lord to purify our minds and to beautify the inner sanctuary of our hearts with a proper understanding of His majesty, so that we can rest in His perfect will and present Him to others in the manner that is most worthy of His excellent name!

"Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?
Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?"
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things,
to whom be glory forever. Amen."
(Romans 11:33-36)
Evening Prayer: Listen to the evening audio prayer by clicking the You Tube image below, or click HERE.

Read about 2020 The Year of Divine Government HERE

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Setting the world on fire for Christ ~ One heart at a time!
Beautify the place of My sanctuary
a 3-day devotional prayer and fasting journey through the Book of Habakkuk
copyright (c) 2020 Traci A. Alexander. All Rights Reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright (c) 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc., and the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.