Confusing Signals

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up
those more righteous than themselves?”
Habakkuk 1:13 (NIV)

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If you want to hear a really hilarious 6 minutes dialogue, watch the video above titled “Who’s on first”. This little skit shows us how easy it is to get mixed up when people misunderstand the words used in a conversation.

For a biblical example of people confusing ideas you only have to turn to the Gospel of John chapters 3 and 4 to read about people misunderstanding a message. In John 3 Jesus speaks about being “born again” to a highly respected Jewish theologian. The man misunderstands what Jesus means by being “born again”. In John 4 Jesus speaks to a Samaritan woman about “living water”. She thinks of one kind of water and Jesus means something else entirely.

Habakkuk had a very serious problem with what the Lord had just said to him. God just told Habakkuk that He was about to use a wicked nation to do His will in judgment against His own people. Habakkuk felt he had received a “confusing signal” from God.

Habakkuk knew that the Lord was pure, holy, just, and righteous. This conflicted with the idea of such a God involving Himself with an evil nation to accomplish His will. How could a holy God “raise up”—or partner—with an evil nation and use it as His servant but not get His hands dirty? There was something dreadfully wrong with this picture.

We have a similar problem with tragedy in our own time. When evil rules we try to see it as the devil getting an upper hand in the world. We find it difficult—just as Habakkuk did—to see God’s hand in the disasters around us. We sense the need to “protect” a holy God’s reputation when evil springs up and so we divorce Him from the calamity.

This was the problem Habakkuk faced. Although he was genuinely confused about what God said was going to happen—allowing the coming tragedy on the nation of Israel—he did the right thing by stating to the Lord his inability to connect God with disaster. Habakkuk 1:13

Is this where you are today? Do you have a trial in your life that you believe is entirely the work of Satan? Are you resisting the notion that the Lord may be working out His purpose in your life through sorrow? Have you prayed to your heavenly Father and stated to Him the confusion in your mind?

Please note here that Habakkuk was not rebelling against the sovereign will of God by speaking about the distress he felt at being unable to understand what was happening to the nation.

Seek to recognize that God’s ways are not our ways. Keep firmly in mind what the Lord said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8 (NIV). Bow before your God in submission at what you do not now understand. Trust in His way with you and later you shall see His wisdom.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace,
Behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.

-William Cowper (1731-1800)

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