Wednesday, September 29, 2010

perspective for the future / presence for now

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14

There are two things that God says to Habakkuk as he waits for an answer to his second question. What God gives him is something to settle the future and bring clarity to his present confusion. And these are perspectives that focus solely on the worship of the Lord.

The first perspective is for the future and gives us the goal that is God's goal for all of humanity. It is what He is ultimately working toward: the whole earth will be filled with the KNOWLEDGE of the glory of the Lord. People will know about the glory and the worship of the Lord. There will be a day when the God of heaven is worshiped globally. And it is not in the anemic theology of the universalist. It is not in the heresy of the New Age mystic who thinks that "all roads lead to God". No... it is very direct. God is moving the nations to notice Him. When Habakkuk worried about God's choice of the Chaldeans to judge Israel, he failed to see that these people were instruments in God's hands. They were part of a bigger plan that will end with global worship of Yahweh.

The second perspective comes at the end of chapter two. There we are instructed to remember that "...the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him." (Habakkuk 2:20). This is the present state of affairs. God is in his temple. He is enthroned and in control. We are called to worship and not to worry. And in that realization, many of our deeper questions just get swallowed up in the silence and worship that we find when we contemplate and marvel at His glory. God is gently calling the perplexed prophet back to worship, and as we shall see in chapter three, it worked.

So what do these two perspectives say to me right now? I think they are incredibly enlightening on our times. We live in a world where religious terror threatens our lives. Islamic terror is an attempt to convert the world to a false religion of works-based pride in submission to an angry deity that has no grace in it. And all the world's richest governments are compelled to guard citizenry against it. But God is in control, and even the struggle against Islamic terrorism is an instrument God is doing to create an awareness of the truth... to bring people, through Christ, to worship Him. Christianity and Al Quada are completely different things. Terrorist agendas have not caught God by surprise. If anything this awareness should cause people to reject obvious evil while contemplating deeper truths about the nature of a glorious, fearful, yet loving and gracious God. And the goal of that kind of realization is not fear, but worship. And we are drawing closer to that day when God will bring a final judgment and harvest of righteousness. From there, Jesus will rule and reign in a world where God's glory covers the globe like the waters cover the sea.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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