Thursday, June 11, 2020

You’ll Never Guess... What I Heard on the Radio!

(My thoughts about what I was hearing are in italics.)

I was on my way to church, listening to a famous cable-network morning-show host being interviewed about a new book she'd written. She talked about her faith and how it had gotten her through some really rough times.

That grabbed my attention.

Then she told that she had included a Scripture passage at the front of every chapter.

What a great foundation to start from!

The conversation then turned to current events, specifically the riots and looting going on in big cities around the country. The lady being interviewed mentioned that she had listened to three sermons online this past Sunday.

That's better than I would do.

One of the sermons got a more detailed description. She recounted how the pastor had been talking to one of his colleagues in an attempt to discern what to preach about. The colleague said, "Habakkuk."

One of my favorite books in the Old Testament.

The morning-show host quoted the pastor (who was quoting Habakkuk 1:2) "How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?"

Very appropriate to our situation!

She again quoted from Habakkuk (1:5. Which is God's response to the prophet's complaint.) "Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told."

So far so good.

But then she just left it there and went on to talk about how that passage was so reassuring to her giving the listeners the impression: "God's got this AND something amazingly good is going to happen from it!"

This is where I yelled at my radio: "Wait a minute! That's NOT what the passage says!"

I wasn't sure who to blame, the person telling about the sermon or the person who actually preached it! But what I had just heard was a prime example of something I talk about frequently: You can't just lift a passage of Scripture out of it's context! You can make the Bible say pretty much whatever you want it to say by ignoring the setting of the passage, and she ignored the whole rest of the passage!

In context:
In this specific situation, God goes on to tell the unbelievable thing He's going to do: He's going to send the powerful, ruthless neighboring peoples, the Babylonians, to reek holy havoc on Habakkuk's people as a consequence for all the violent acts that they are committing! (To which Habakkuk replies [I'm paraphrasing] "Hey, wait a minute, that's not what I was hoping for here. Those Babylonians are even worse than my people!" And God responds, [I'm paraphrasing again] "I know. Don't worry. Be patient and trust Me. They'll get theirs too!")

The first part of the morning-show host's takeaway was spot on. God does see what's going on and He is going to do something about it! But the second part, the part that painted God as some kind of genie who is going to make everything magically turn out wonderfully where "everyone lives happily ever after," could not have been further from the truth! God is not a genie, but rather the perfect Father, and He knows that allowing consequences is sometimes the only way to get the "unruly kids" to stop misbehaving.

Just to clarify:
I am NOT saying that God's also going to deal with our nation in our current situation by sending a ruthless world power to come and wipe us out. I have no idea what He's going to do. But I do know that He sees what's going on, hears our cries and has a perfect plan. Be Patient and Trust Him!

Pastor David

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