Morning Musing: Zechariah 6:15

“People who are far off will come and build the Lord’s temple, and you will know that the Lord of Armies has sent me to you. This will happen when you fully obey the Lord your God.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Every contract has terms and conditions. These are the things written in fine print at the bottom of the page that most people don’t bother to read very closely. I remember being somewhere that I actually took time to read it and the person waiting for me to sign was not happy that I was being that guy. But if there’s a catch, that is where it will be. Well, what Israel had with God wasn’t a contract, but what Zechariah says here is a bit like some fine print.

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Morning Musing: Zephaniah 1:12-13

“And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who settled down comfortably, who say to themselves: The Lord will do nothing–good or bad. Their wealth will become plunder and their houses a ruin. They will build houses but never live in them, plant vineyards but never drink their wine.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Lisa and I have recently been watching through a series that popped up on our Hulu account called “Extreme Homes.” The show takes viewers inside a whole variety of houses that are “extreme” in one way or another. Some are small, some are huge, but they are all unique. But while they come in all shapes and sizes, the one thing they all have in common is that they are owned by people who are wealthy. They are homes built with the intention of being able to set aside all worries and concerns and just enjoy life. In many ways, that’s not just the American dream, but the dream of everyone, everywhere. Based on what God says to the people of Judah here, though, it sounds like it might be more of a nightmare.

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Digging in Deeper: Zephaniah 1:8-9

“On the day of the Lord’s sacrifice I will punish the officials, the king’s sons, and all who are dressed in foreign clothing. On that day I will punish all who skip over the threshold, who fill their master’s house with violence and deceit.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

All religion is just superstition given official sanction. Something along those lines is a common critique of religious people and their religions. And, to a certain extent, there is a small amount of truth to it. Religious people often do buy into any number of silly superstitions. Also, not a few religious rituals are little more than dressed up superstitions. But to paint with such a broad brush is to risk missing a key observation: The God of the Bible hates superstitions just as much as your scientific, secular neighbor professes to hate them.

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Digging in Deeper: Habakkuk 3:17-18

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

The news lately seems to be getting worse every day. I see the daily infection rates and the growing death count and my heart sinks just a bit each morning. It breaks for the tragedy these families are facing. It breaks for the hopelessness that has to be clawing at the hearts of the healthcare workers who are bearing the load of seeing patient after patient die in spite of their best efforts. It breaks for the children—including mine—who don’t understand social distancing and just long to play with and see their friends again. What do we do when chaos seems to reign just a little bit more each day? Here at the end of his collection of prophecy, Habakkuk offers us a way forward.

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Digging in Deeper: Habakkuk 2:4

***Well, I said there weren’t going to be any posts this week, but after much thought and prayer, I decided to not go to the training course as planned. While it would have been a small gathering, the health of my family and my church family was more important. I’ll be able to take the course again in a few months when all of this nonsense has prayerfully passed. That being said, let’s dig back into Habakkuk this morning by taking a look at the verse for which it is most famous.

“Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

This is easily the most well-known verse in the whole of Habakkuk’s collection of prophecy. It is quoted in three different times in the New Testament; twice by Paul and once by the author of Hebrews. But what does it mean? And, if you read this same verse in different translations, you’ll find several different versions of it. Is this even the right translation? Let’s talk about it.

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