Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Truth - When God Lays Out The Facts

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today

The Truth


The Lord Lays Out The Facts


Habakkuk 2:4-5


God lays out the facts about two groups of people and contrasts them with the righteous.


1.     The Proud

God's comments to this group speak to the issue of character.
  • The proud trust in themselves.

This is reason that faith in God and pride in self cannot occupy the same heart. Faith in God comes only by recognition and response to God's lordship. Spiritually a human being cannot serve two masters - God and self. But the proud trust in themselves thus revealing that they do not trust in God. Here rests a grave danger for people in a culture like ours that places a high value on individualism.  

The proud trust in themselves. This is the difference between those who believe and those whose lives show they do not truly believe or follow God. 
  • Their lives are crooked.

The only straight path - the only straight way to live - is God's. If we trust in ourselves then we live according to what we decide. We walk our own way. Since it is our own way not God's, it is by definition and practice crooked. That's a hard pill for some of us to swallow. But it is the truth. The truth according to God.

If we truly only trust in God, we walk humbly in his way and only his way. We walk humbly with our God. This is part of what God has shown us is the straight life - Micah 6:8.

 2.     Wealth (the Wealthy)


Next God comments on an issue of economics

  • The wealthy (wealth) are treacherous.

We need to note that Jesus also commented on the treachery and burden of wealth when he said it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye that for the wealthy to enter the Kingdom of God. We rightly point out that is not impossible (with God's miraculous intervention) but we wrongly believe these words do not apply to us a nation of great wealth compared to most of the seven billion people on earth. We trust in our own ability to handle wealth correctly and neglect the truth that, without solemn tears and prayers to God, wealth is actually handling us. Wealth is treacherous and it always pulls its possessor into treacherous actions as well.
  • Wealth walks hand in hand with arrogance.

Once two of my co-workers were talking about those who did not have secure incomes to depend on. The conversation revolved around how such individuals were financially insecure because they did not handle their money correctly. Not once were they able to recognize that limited income prevents doing the "wise" things that they did and had always done because both grew up with wealth. This is the subtle work of arrogance and so often it does not recognize its own existence.

The problem with arrogance is not that people with wealth want to flaunt it and buy power with it. The problem with arrogance is that it changes how we view and interact in the world and with other people.
  • The wealthy (wealth) is always grasping for more.

One of the problems with wealth - and I believe it is a fruit of the fallen nature of man - is the continual pursuit of a little more. Wealth creates fear of losing value so drives us to always have a pad of  "a little more" to insure its safety. Wealth destroys contentment. How sad, since contentment is the mark of really believing that God is in control. 
  •  The wealthy swallow up lots of people  - even whole nations

Wealth forgets that this is a finite world. What is taken in wealth is taken from others - usually the poor.

Recent history is filled with despots and dictators who have appropriated the wealth of their whole nation into their private accounts. Even the leaders of most communist countries quickly became wealthy and appropriated to themselves lavish lifestyles - and  that within a belief system that supposedly sought to create equality of income and resources. The American housing crisis derived, in large part, from the wealthy taking the struggle of the poor and middle class families and bundling it up into investments and financial instruments that created for themselves massive wealth. And we will not here even mention past and present colonialism.

The wealthy started moving the jobs of individuals around to other countries in search of greater profits through reduced employment costs reducing the middle class and often enslaving the international poor within economic systems that made them more vulnerable. The abuses arising from the change to becoming industrial societies in every case included all the abuse of employees which marked Europe and America's industrialization resulting in sickness, death, birth defects, and initial inhumane conditions. And in each case the initial wealthy got wealthier and created the new wealthy who practiced these abuses.

God's Response?

What sorrow awaits you thieves?

Now you will get what you deserve!

[those they swallowed up will taunt them and mock them]

I take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.
But the righteous person will live by faith.
Habakkuk 2:4 Septuagint

Kuala Lumpur Sunset 1 by hanis mike adnan Some rights reserved @

Swan By Mamboman1 Some rights reserved
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