THE APOSTATE and IDOLATOR, PART 1
“…THOSE WHO HAVE ABANDONED AND FORSAKE GOD…”
“…They have turned away and ABANDONED me….” (JEREMIAH 5:23 NLT). “...[THEY]… FORGOT all about ME,” says the Lord…” (Hosea 2:13 NLT). “…for years on end my people have FORGOTten ME…” (Jeremiah 2:32 NLT). “…They ABANDONED ME and did not obey my word….” (JEREMIAH 16:11 NLT). “…They ABANDONED the Lord… they turned their backs on him….” (2 Chronicles 29:6 NLT).
Habakkuk is wondering when God is going to judge the evil and wicked Judeans (his own wayward people). Many proclaimed to be God’s people, yet they had abandoned him and turned their backs on his commandments.
The Chaldeans/Babylonians, the heathen nation God planned to USE as agents of correction for his “wayward” people would expose his people’s evil and wicked hearts and some would repent.
The repentant will disconnect with the Chaldeans and return to God. God’s WAYWARD people needed correction and deserved the punishment they experience through the Chaldeans. God was NOT trying to ruin them, destroy, or harm them, but to show them the outcome of their “own” choices.
“…We will continue to live as WE WANT TO, stubbornly following our own evil desires…” (JEREMIAH 18:12 NLT). “…They (God’s OWN people) KEPT DOING WHATEVER THEY WANTED, following the stubborn desires of their [OWN] evil hearts…” (Jeremiah 7:24 NLT).
God’s people know his word and what it says about breaking his commandments. There are NO exceptions. “... Everyone (no exceptions) who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him (ABIDE WITH HIM) will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him ... who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s [SPIRITUAL] ... life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone (NO EXCEPTIONS) who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God...” (1 John 3:7-10 NLT).
Thus, God’s people should EXPECT God to KEEP his word about judgement, even if they are the ones violating it.“…Not one of all the LORD's good promises … failed; every one was fulfilled” (Joshua 21:45 NIV).
“...He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he...” (Deuteronomy 32:4 NIV). “... judgment and justice will be upheld…” (Job 36:16-21 NLT).“…My counsel (WORD)… SHALL stand, and I will do all my pleasure…” (Isaiah 46:10 KJV).
If God allowed the wicked Chaldeans to RISE UP, it is not to HURT or RUIN them, but to change their hearts and bring them to repentance. “...God SEES NOT as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD LOOKS AT THE HEART…”(1 Samuel 16:7 NASB).
“…No one needed… to tell him (God) about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart…” (John 2:24-25 NLT). “…[The] ...Lord (God), which knowest the hearts of all men…” (Acts 1:24 KJV). “… He watches everyone closely, examining every person on earth. The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked…” (Psalm 11:4-5 NLT).
God “….is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance…” (2 Peter 3:9 KJV). “…The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for YOUR SAKE. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent…” (2 Peter 3: 9 NLT).
The WAYWARD should be comforted by this, that he loves them enough to correct them and merciful enough to restore the covenant relationship with them. “… The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth…” (Exodus 34:6 KJV). “…But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” (Psalm 86:16 NIV).
God is“... RICH IN MERCY…” (Ephesians 2:1-5 KJV). “…The Lord is ...of great mercy…” (Number 14:18 KJV). “…The Lord God, [IS] merciful …” (Exodus 34:6 KJV). “…Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because HE DELIGHTETH IN MERCY…” (Micah 7:18 KJV). “…Mercy triumphs over judgement.” (James 2:13 NASB).
The Chaldeans were a WICKED, GODLESS and EVIL nation, who God allowed to prosper for a while. God is a HOLY God and does NOT approve of evil AT ALL. His JUSTICE will be UPHELD against all evil doings. “...But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror...” (Psalm 10:14-18 NIV).
“... judgment and justice will be upheld…” (Job 36:16-21 NLT). “…My counsel (WORD)… SHALL stand…” (Isaiah 46:10 KJV).
Habakkuk, like many of his followers in the 21st century, see HOW wicked, evil and dark people are and it SEEMS, as if, they are getting away with it. It SEEMS as if God, the Holy Spirit, is favoring them and NOT his “own” people.
Some of his followers may feel, WHY serve God, if EVIL people SEEM to be prospering and getting around with doing wrong. In the Old Testament, “…because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily …the HEART of the sons (daughters) of men is fully set in them … to do evil ….” (Ecclesiastes 8:11 KJV). “… [they]... FORFEIT the grace that could be theirs…" (Jonah 2:8 NIV).
“…THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION, that light is come into the world, and MEN LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT, because THEIR DEEDS (choices) WERE EVIL. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved…” (John 3:18-20 KJV).
“…The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt (disrespect)?” (Daniel 14:11 NIV). “…my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted (choosing death), following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts (choices). They went backward instead of forward” (Jeremiah 7:24 NLT).
“…the people replied, “Don’t waste your breath. We will continue to live as we want to, stubbornly following our own evil desires (choices)…” (JEREMIAH 18:12 NLT). “…He who trusts in his own heart is a fool…” (Proverbs 28:26 NASB).
Therefore, “... judgment and justice will be upheld…” (Job 36:16-21 NLT). “…My counsel (WORD)… SHALL stand…” (Isaiah 46:10 KJV).
His people may NOT understand WHY God does what he DOES, but they are CERTAIN that their GOD is HOLY, RIGHTEOUS, LOVING, DOESN’T APPROVE OF EVIL, is JUST and his WORD STANDS!!
“...you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted…” (Psalm 10:14-18 NIV). “...he (God, the Holy Spirit) loves justice...” (Psalms 11:7 NIV).
“...He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous...” (Psalm 146:6-8 NIV).
God, the Holy Spirit, will acquit the innocent, condemn the guilty, expose lies and corruption. “...The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror...” (Psalm 10:14-18 NIV).
God would NEVER approve of those who DISTORT justice by favoring the rich or a select few while oppressing the poor or disenfranchised. “...Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly...” (Leviticus 19:15 NIV). “...He appointed judges in the land, in each of the fortified cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do, because you are not judging for mere mortals but for the Lord, who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery...” (2 Chronicles 19:5-7 NIV).
“...he (God, the Holy Spirit) loves justice...” (Psalms 11:7 NIV). “...the Lord Almighty will be exalted by his justice...” (Isaiah 5:16 NIV). “... the holy God will be proved holy by his righteous acts...” (Isaiah 5:16 NIV).
God is not blind he SEES every wrong and injustice committed. God SEES when worldly leaders and his “own” people DO NOT “ACT” JUSTLY by not looking out for the weak and helpless. “…Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes…” (Hebrews 4:13 NLT). “...You are a God who sees me...” (Genesis 16:13 NASB).
“…I know your offenses are many and your sins are great, You who are hostile to the righteous and accept bribes, And turn away the poor from justice at the gate...” (Amos 5:11:12 NASB).
God’s people have commandments about justice. “…He hath shewed thee, O man (woman), what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8 KJV). “…O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right (hate injustice),to love mercy (justice), and to walk humbly with your God…” (Micah 6:8 NLT).
God’s word informs his people: “...Don’t pass on malicious gossip. Don’t link up with a wicked person and give corrupt testimony. Don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil and don’t mess up your testimony in a case just to please the crowd. And just because someone is poor, don’t show favoritism in a dispute...” (Exodus 23:1-3 MSG).
King David prayed for his son, King Solomon, to be a JUST king: “...Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice...” (Psalm 72:1-2 NIV).
God encourages “his” people to DO RIGHT and ACT JUSTLY while upon earth. “...Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow...” (Isaiah 1:17 NIV).
SINS and EVIL, and WICKEDNESS offend a HOLY God and those who participant in those behaviors will FACE God’s justice. “… O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked…” (Psalms 5:4 NLT).
“...THINGS that OFFEND, and them which do INIQUITY … shall [be]…CAST[ED]… into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth...” (Matthew 13:40-42 KJV).
Whatever DIVINE reason God allows wrong to be experienced by his people, through the Chaldeans or anyone, he doesn’t APPROVE or AGREE with it. So, “…Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the LORD always….” (Proverbs 23:17 NASB).
“…Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous. The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed. The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing. Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish. The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intent on putting them to death; but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked or let them be condemned when brought to trial. Hope in the Lord and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a luxuriant native tree, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked. The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him…”(Psalm 37).
NO MATTER WHAT YOU SEE, THE RIGHTEOUS ARE STILL IN A BETTER POSITION, WITH GOD, THAN ANYWHERE ELSE!!
KEEP ABIDING WITH GOD, THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE EXPERIENCING, THE RIGHTEOUS WILL BE ALRIGHT!