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As Habakkuk observed the violence and injustice in his nation, he cried out to the Lord. He did not receive an immediate response to his prayers, but that would soon change as the Lord answered the prophet in His own time.
Because Habakkuk believed, he put himself in position to hear the Lord. “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me,” said Habakkuk. Sometimes we must get above the clamor and chaos of the world to prepare ourselves to hear from the Lord.
The Lord assured Habakkuk that He heard his prayer and would act, saying, “though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were in power, but God told the prophet this was temporary. “Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him?” asked God. A parable was a saying like our “every dog has its day.” There would be a day when God’s people would see a defeated Babylon.
The Babylonians were proud and self-sufficient. Notice Nebuchadnezzar’s pride in Daniel 4: 30: “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?”
Pride has a way of bringing discontent, and proud people are never satisfied. There is never enough money, never enough stuff, and never lasting peace. They seek satisfaction in what they accomplish for themselves, not in what God has done for them.
God spoke of the person who “ladeth himself with thick clay.” This was God’s way of saying a man might surround himself with gold and silver, but in the end its value to him will be no more than the value of clay.
God warned that the destruction of wicked people often comes quickly. “Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee?” God asked.
Wickedness is not forever overlooked by the Lord, and the world needs to be reminded that we, too, are in a temporary state. The Lord is coming back, and judgment will follow. Christ Jesus said His coming will be unexpected and swift: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24: 27).
The Lord said “woe” to all who coveted. The commandment against coveting is the tenth commandment, but it has often been said that disobedience to this commandment often results in disobedience of the other nine.
We live in a covetous world. So many of our problems are the result of disregard for this commandment. The material objects that man accumulates for himself will cry out as witnesses against him one day.
Habakkuk stood watch on the tower, expecting an answer from the Lord. May we be as faithful in waiting for the Lord, knowing that one day “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]
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