Rejoice in the Lord.
Rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation says the prophet who wrote the Book of Habakkuk approximately 612-589 B.C.
I like the Book of Habakkuk and I’ll tell you why.
Why do evil people seem to prosper?
Habakkuk’s name means ‘to embrace’ or ‘wrestle.’ Prophet Habakkuk wrestles with the question, Why is there so much evil in the world? And why does it seemingly go unpunished and not only that. But why do the evil people seem to prosper? Prophet Habakkuk has many questions like this and he puts them to the Lord.
The answer comes back loud and clear that the people referred to by prophet Habakkuk are arrogant and proud with inflated ego’s. Habakkuk was told by the Lord that the proud, the greedy, the idolaters and warmongers will all enjoy the fruit of their doings. But those who genuinely follow the Lord. they are the ones who have faith in Him and rejoice in the Lord, cause He will save them!
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him:
but the righteous shall live by his faith.
Who are the righteous?
Those who faithfully keep my laws, live by their faith
The righteous shall live by his faith. Who are the righteous? According to the bible the righteous, or ‘just’ as they are also called, are those who follow God’s rules and laws. They are the ones who are promised life and salvation.
He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws.
That man is righteous; he will surely live,
declares the Sovereign LORD.
God decides everything
Why do I like the book of Habakkuk so much? Because I’ve often been surrounded by people who mock my religion and my faith. I know plenty people who know better than to ‘believe.’ Why would they? They are comfortable in their big houses and with multiple cars and holidays and plenty money to throw around. They believe in their wealth and comfort and have faith in their own ability to produce whatever their heart desires. This is because these people haven’t as yet realised that it is God who decides e v e r y t h i n g.
I used to be a little bit like that too. Not a lot because I never had stacks to throw around but always enough.
Otherwise seemingly devout people often insist that the above scripture verses indicate that ‘faith’ on its own will get us there. What?
The scripture verses above indicate that ‘just’ behaviour is followed by faith; and not the other way around, as many would have you believe. Why does this matter? It matters because it is an arrogant stance to take to think that just faith is sufficient, as we will see below.
The Lord is my strength
Be not deceived. The above scripture verses make it clear that it is those who ‘faithfully’ follow God’s directions and make an effort to live according to his laws are the ones referred to. The ‘righteous’ shall live by his faith.
I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength …
Faith is a product of righteous living.
That is why I like the Book of Habakkuk. In one swoop Habakkuk deals not only with people living carelessly and proudly without having much regard for the people around them but he also deals with those pretending to be ‘devout.’ In addition he sets straight the people who lead others astray by saying that just faith is enough.
Faith without works is dead
Habakkuk tells us that faith is a product of righteous living and not the other way around. This is reiterated in the Book of James as below,
What doth it profit, my brethren,
though a man say he hath faith,
and have not works?
can faith save him?
Even so faith, if it hath not works,
is dead, being alone.
Thou believest that there is one God;
thou doest well:
the devils also believe, and tremble.
But wilt thou know, O vain man,
that faith without works is dead?
by works a man is justified,
and not by faith only.
For as the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also.
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