Habakkuk 1:1-3:19; Zephaniah 1:1-2:7
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Today we start and finish the book of the prophet Habakkuk! This is a great book & there is a lot going on in it. In some ways it reminded me of the end of the book of Job, with the conversation going on between Habakkuk and God. Habakkuk was a prophet from Judah who prophesied between the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. and Babylon's invasion of Judah in 588 B.C. Assyria fell in 612-605 B.C. and Babylon was becoming the world's dominant nation. In the first 2 chapters of this book Habakkuk argues with God about God's ways, and then in the 3rd chapter Habakkuk responds with an incredible prayer to God. In the first 2 chapters the big questions are - 1. Why does evil seem to go unpunished? and 2. Why does God not seem to respond to prayers? Reminds me of the Psalms! :) A good overview of the book of Habakkuk is online at bible.org at this link. Below is an image of Habakkuk denouncing the Chaldaeans from a 14th century illuminated Bible:
Chapter 1 Verse 5 stands out in today's readings: "The LORD replied, "Look at the nations and be amazed! Watch and be astounded at what I will do! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it." A wonderful thing about this verse is that the apostle Paul utilizes this same verse in concluding a sermon in Antioch in Acts chapter 13 verses 38-41: "“Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: “ ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.'” Below is a sculpture of Habakkuk with an angel by the Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, from the year 1655:
Chapter 3 verses 18 & 19 are powerful verses for us to consider in our own lives in the midst of challenging times: "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains." Do you rejoice in God? Are you joyful in God as your salvation? Even in the midst of challenging times in your life? Do you trust that God will bring you to safety? Below is an icon of Habukkuk:
Today we also start the book of the prophet Zephaniah! Zephaniah was different from some of the recent prophets that we have read in that he came from royal lineage. He was the descendent of King Hezekiah. Thus, Zephaniah writes about the upper class, courts, and priests with quite a bit of authority and clarity. Zephaniah prophesied during the reign of King Josiah of Judah. He prophesied in approximately 640-620 B.C. The purpose of his prophecies were to announce God's coming judgment against Judah. But, as we see with the other prophets, Zephaniah also writes about God saving a remnant of people who love and honor God with their lives - thus preserving and carrying on the covenant promise to Abraham. A good overview of the book of Zephaniah is at bible.org at this link. The link includes a funny opening line: "The Book of Zephaniah is probably best known for being the least known book of the entire Bible." :) Below is an image of the prophet Zephaniah preaching to King Josiah -
Worship Video: Today's readings in Habbakuk remind me of the Sidewalk Prophets song "The Words I Would Say:"
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Please join us in memorizing and meditating on two verses of Scripture today: "Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." Habakkuk 1:5 (NIV)
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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