Friday, 28 July 2017

Stand on your Watchtower!

I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me.  (Habakkuk 2:1)

The Bible book of Habakkuk emerged shortly after the great battle of Carchemish in 605 BC – during which the heathen, unprincipled Babylonians had routed the Egyptians, before beginning their menacing march towards … tiny Judah.  God’s prophet, Habakkuk, began his prophecy by voicing anxieties that are common today: “Is God paralysed?”  “Is God good?” “Is God late?” “Will God win?”

It is only as the prophecy develops, that the theme Our God is Marching On begins to penetrate the reader’s mind.  Habakkuk’s doubts and fears were real enough … but here was Doubt - within Commitment!  There was violence around; true - and the apparent silence of God - but the prophet’s faith held firm as he took his daily stand of vigilance on the watchtower of his walk with the Creator.   Habakkuk knew his history, holding on like a limpet to the granite conviction that God – even the God of tiny marginalised Judah – was indeed THE God who marches through history, overturning one nation and then another; meanwhile committing Himself to the long-term interests of His own chosen people.

That is the astonishing turn-up of the Bible’s revelation.  It is the on-going fortunes of the Church – anchored in Jesus Christ – that occupies the centre of God’s agenda across all civilisation.  We are not a side ‘hobby’ of His!

A key word of Habakkuk’s prophecy is the word YET.  “My legs trembled," admits God’s servant, "YET I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come upon the nation invading us.”  Forseeing the coming devastation,  “YET,” he says, “I will rejoice in the Lord."  In this he foreshadows the apostle Paul who confesses that “We are hard pressed on every side … BUT not abandoned; struck down, BUT not destroyed.”

Let Habakkuk’s stance be ours today, in the face of international terrorism, fraud, the imprisonment and killing of Christian martyrs and the homelessness of millions.  Our watchful service to a dying world will find its strength in the City which is above

... and we know the end game …