Which god?    God or god?

“Thou shalt have no other god before me.”  (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

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It’s been a while since part 4 – just about a month. During that time, I’ve really felt like “Lord, where are you?” The number of things that have gone wrong at work have been unbelievable. Almost every single day, something has gone wrong. Computer failures – people making mistakes that normally wouldn’t be made – even people getting hurt. Just unbelievable. I’d love to know why – but that’s more like Job than Habakkuk. Anyway – during a Bible study a couple days ago, it hit me that maybe all of this is a diversion – a competition for my time – to take me away from the things that really matter. I’m spending all my time and energy on work – and way too little on God, my wife, and home. There was some light last week after everyone in the men’s group I go to prayed for me. There’s been even more this past week as I insist on finding at least the time to get reasonably prepared for the Bible study nights. Not that anything at work has gotten even a little bit better. And not that there’s anything anywhere that’s really gotten much better. Except my attitude. IF this is all something to keep me spiritually away from the things that are important, it’s that much more important for me to stay spiritually involved. Maybe the goal isn’t to “fix” the problems at work – but to remain focused on those things that are important, and let God take care of the other things.

So, with that in mind, it’s time for the conclusion to this series. To refresh, we started off with

part 1 - “Lord, how long do I have to call out for help? Why don’t you listen to me?”
part 2 – subtitled – things are pretty bad here – where are you God?”
part 3 – which surprised even me as I was writing it.
part 4 – end titled – things are pretty bad – I’ll be waiting for you God!”

If you haven’t read them yet – check them out first.

OK – so the questions posed at the end of part 4 were:

Which “god” do you want to have? The wooden god of the Babylonians? Or maybe their stone god – he must be stronger than wood? Or maybe one covered with gold and silver – that must be more valuable?

Or would you prefer the Living God – the one who has the power to have the whole earth be silent in front of Him? And yet, at the same time – the One who wants us to speak openly and honestly to Him – to pour out our feelings to Him – the One who will always be faithful to us – the One who can save us?

It shouldn’t really be a surprise, but let’s see what Habakkuk picked:

Hab 3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.
Hab 3:2 LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.

No surprise there. Habakkuk picked the Living God. Following these verses is what amounts to a Psalm of praise for God. Yes – things go wrong – evil appears to triumph – and things seem out of control. The thing to remember though – they aren’t. We don’t know what’s going on – we don’t understand why things happen – and we have little to no control over things. But that doesn’t mean God doesn’t – it just means that we don’t understand. And we don’t have to understand. We just have to have faith – and we have to believe what He tells us. The first part of Habakkuk clearly tells us that he doesn’t understand why God isn’t taking control of things – at least not in the way Habakkuk wants and in the time he wants. But after the Lord responds, Habakkuk’s psalm includes this verse:

Hab 3:13 You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot.

And that’s part of the promise we believe in – have to believe in. That God will deliver us – that He will crush wickedness. This was OT times. Since then we have Jesus, Emmanuel - God With Us - who came to earth to show that it could be done. And when we acknowledge Jesus as our Lord & Savior – we can be one of God’s chosen people. And while we may not see the promise completely fulfilled in this life – we will in Heaven.

So during the midst of all this stuff that’s been going on the last couple months, one of our Pastors – who leads the men’s group - offered part of this chapter as a prayer for me:

Hab 3:17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,

That sure fits. Not the crop part – since I work in the IT field, not the fig or olive tree fields. But the failures and the emptiness – that’s something we all go through from time to time. But what do we do with those situations? Do we curse God for bringing them on us – or do we try to take care of things ourselves – or do we stay with Him?

I feel like for too much of this time, I’ve taken the 2nd position – trying to take care of things. That is my “job”, after all. But eventually, after what seems like way too long – I think I’m coming to realize that’s not what God has in mind for me. My responsibility to Him – is to stay with Him – to let Him take care of me. As Habakkuk continues:

Hab 3:18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

And so, in the midst of everything that’s going on – that’s what I’m trying to do now. And that’s why – while I could be trying to solve those problems at work (even though today is a furlough day for me at work) – I’m writing this. For both myself and for anyone who may be reading this.

It occurs to me that some may read this and think it’s just accepting all the bad stuff that comes along and just saying that it’s God’s will – so just let it happen. I don’t believe that though. I do believe there’s a message in this – maybe for me – maybe for someone else – maybe for someone at my church – maybe for someone at work - maybe even for someone reading this. But it doesn’t matter. There is a reason. And it’s because I know that God has a purpose for it, that I can still rejoice in Him and also know that some good will come of it and also know that it will end. As Habakkuk also wrote:

Hab 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.

Those are not the words of someone who thinks he’s being used and abused for no reason. Not the words of someone who thinks God is out to get him – or just make him miserable. No – those are the words of someone who knows that God is wonderful – is in control – does all things for the good – and has us in the palm of His hand and will always watch over us and be with us. Try to get that from some wooden god – or stone god – or even a god of gold or silver. Try to do that yourself. It’s just not going to happen. No – mine is a God that, even when things aren’t going well – I know that He will be my strength – and He will take care of me.

If He’s your God too – take time to pray about that – to thank Him – and to learn more about Him and trust Him even more.

If He’s not your God – take time to pray about that too. Ask Him to open your heart to Him – tell Him you want to learn more about Him – ask Him to take care of you too. He will answer, for as Jesus said:

Mt 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Mt 7:8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

So – ask – seek – knock – honestly look for Him. And get ready for the ride of your life.

As I’m writing now, I’m listening to music, as usual. The song - “Pass it on”, by Tommy Walker. We started singing this at my church a couple months ago too – it’s one of my favorites. Always makes me feel good.

So now I’m passing something on to you – God’s word from the Book of Habakkuk – my experiences while studying it and writing this – and my prayers that it will help you to either seek Him for the first time – or to continue even deeper on your journey.


Hab 3:19 For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

LORD, how long do I have to call out for help? Why don’t you listen to me?

Part 5

February 19, 2010

LORD, how long do I have to call out for help?

Why don’t you listen to me?”