Thursday, January 5, 2017

What to Do When You're Surrounded by Evil

One of my favorite books is the classic allegory, Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. If you haven't read it, Much-Afraid is crippled by her fear, but longs to go to the High Places with the Shepherd, who has befriended her. The book tells the story of her quest to have hinds feet like her the Shepherd, so that she can make the journey with Him.

The title comes from a verse in Habakkuk. "He has made my feet like hinds feet, and makes me walk on my high places." Habakkuk 3:19 nasb

Pastor Scooter announced a new sermon series in Habakkuk last night. "Be sure you read the first chapter before Sunday," he told us. Since there are only three chapters, I read the entire book this morning. Here's the Leanna paraphrase and summary:

Habakkuk was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom during the time of Jeremiah. He lived before Daniel and after Nahum. Josiah was king. 

He looked around him at the mess his country was in, and it frightened him. People called evil good. They did whatever they wanted to do. Justice and obedience to the law had flown right out the door. It seemed as if the few righteous people were surrounded by a horde of wicked people. 

Habakkuk couldn't take it anymore, so he went to God with his complaint.

"We're in a mess down here, God. Haven't you noticed? Aren't you going to do anything?"

God answered him with shocking news. "Yes, Habakkuk. I've seen it all. Haven't you noticed the Babylonians? They're terrible and I'm raising them up."

"What's up with that, God? They're worse than the people they're killing. That doesn't seem much like you. I'm waiting to hear what you have to say, because I must have misunderstood."

"No, Habakkuk. You didn't misunderstand. The vision I gave you is going to happen on my time schedule. I'm about to deal with all the wickedness, and I'll use the Babylonians to do it. But, Habakkuk, the righteous shall live by faith."

Habakkuk listened to everything God said and pondered His words. They were hard words. The vision was terrifying.

Finally, Habakkuk came to a beautiful truth.

No matter what happens, God will still be God. Circumstances don't matter. Relationship with our Lord does. 

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, 
and there be no fruit on the vines,
though the yield of the olive should fail, 
and the fields produce no food,
though the flock should be cut off from the fold, 
and there be no cattle in the stalls,
YET I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places."
Habakkuk 3:17-19 nasb

The righteous shall live by faith. Those are the words that brought such conviction to Martin Luther. They're the words that should ring in our hearts, as well.

Habakkuk's words could have been written about our times. We're in a mess. We live in a broken world, in the midst of broken people who act in broken ways. Evil abounds, and always will, until Jesus returns to call us home.

BUT God is still God. 

He's still on His throne. 

One day, He'll deal with it all. 

In the midst of turmoil, destruction, and agony, those who live by faith can have perfect peace and great joy. We can have the same abounding joy of our Redeemer and live as the disciples we've been called to be. How?

Two simple rules: Live by faith. Follow our Shepherd wherever He leads.

Habakkuk found the key to a successful hinds-feet-journey, and, thus, the key to living in the midst of an evil generation.

Take our eyes off the evil around us and focus on the Good Shepherd who will lead us home. 

It's that hard. It's that simple. We serve a risen Savior. He's in the world today. So let's keep our eyes on Jesus, and follow Him. 
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Wanting the Fire but Choosing the Cold
photo above is of Jerusalem, taken from the Mount of Olives

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