Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Habakkuk through Zephaniah
My friend, Shawn Parris, is handling Bible notes for me today and tomorrow and then I’ll be back with mine.
Shawn’s Rabbit Trails
Have you ever wonder what is the world coming to or what has caused the world to turn upside down? Many are saying right is wrong and wrong is right. Unfortunately, we have much lack of respect and much hate and strife. This what happens when people become unmoored from a standard of living or do not use a plumb-line to measure one’s actions in life. Some even question God and His existence due to what is going on in the World. Well, this is what we are seeing in Habakkuk 1.
Habakkuk was written in time around the Egyptian defeat of Carchemish (Jeremiah 46:2) and Hamath, when the Babylonian force under Nebuchadnezzar occupied the area.
The thing about Bible prophecy is that it repeats, almost like someone is trying to teach us something here ?. We see the Chaldean being used as an instrument of correction for Yehovah’s people, Judah, at this time. This same thing happened to Israel at the hands of the Syrians
. Look at Deuteronomy 28:49-53, Isaiah 5:26-30, Jeremiah 4:13; 5:15;6:22-23 for description of the typical Biblical enemy.
Have you watch end of the world type movies, where the hero is in an intrepid task in the 11th hour, warning everyone that the volcano is about to blow or the World is about to be flooded? In Habakkuk, we see a warning, a cry to repent and seek Yehovah. It seems to me that this is something that might happen in the end-times or something like the Tribulation Period. But we will have to watch it play out before our eyes. Funny thing here, from the looks of what is in the news, today, we may have front row seats of what is being said in Habakkuk, again today.
Back to our story… The first chapter of Habakkuk is a complaint to Yehovah as to why he lets the wrong go unpunished. Habakkuk is expressing that Yehovah’s Instructions are not followed and justice is not being served. It seems like justice is perverted. It reminds me of prophesy in Revelation when the martyrs were under the throne asking when will justice be served for their deaths. (Revelation 6:9-11)
As I read Habakkuk 2 I am reminded of Ezekiel 33 of the Watchmen on the lookout for enemies. They are walking and searching for something beyond the horizon or tree line and vigilant on their watch. At the moment’s notice, they alert the citizens of danger. I do not know if anybody here has performed duties as a sentry or stood guard. It is a serious responsibility for someone to take on. You have a group of people depending on you to alert them of danger to the group. I do not care how hot or how cold your are or how tired you are, you have many lives in your hands, you are to stay on post no matter what. If you do not heed the wisdom from Ezekiel 33 and fail in your duty, should danger come, their blood will be on your hands. Habakkuk is doing the very same thing with letting people about prophesy warning.
“Look at the proud: he is inwardly not upright; but the righteous will attain life through trusting faithfulness. Habakkuk 2:4
This reminds me, again, of end of the world movies. It is in the 11th hour our hero warns the people about the destructive path that they are on and offers up a means of course correction which must be made immediately. However, many blow it off and think the hero is crazy.
The prophesy mentioned in Habakkuk 2:4, where have we heard this? The righteous will attain life through trusting faithfulness… It is similar in Daniel 10:14; Daniel 12:4-13. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says that “we live by trust, not by what we see.” Galatians chapter 3 tells us that it is those who live by trusting and being faithful who are really children of Abraham. And Ezekiel 33 says a lot by this. It even gives a warning to believers who do not warn a believer that is not living right from Yehovah’s perspective. Hebrews 10:38 says, “But the person who is righteous will live his life by trusting, and if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
It seems that all the 613 commandments, including what we call the Ten Commandment that Yehovah instructed to Moses to teach the people of Israel, are based on the single principle that “the righteous shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11)
On to Zephaniah:
I love trivia. I came across some interesting facts about Zephaniah:
- Zephaniah means: “Yehovah hides”
- Author: Zephaniah
- The time the book was written: 640-612BC
- Zephaniah was born during the later part of the reign of King Manasseh, great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah, and the only prophet of royal descent
- Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah and Habakkuk
- Zephaniah was consider as the 11th hour prophet
- Josiah became king at the age of 8 and Zephaniah prophesied during his time.
King Josiah made significant changes during his reign:
- Tore down all Baal alters
- Destroyed the foreign incense altars
- Burned the bones of the false prophets on their altars
- Broke the carved images and molten images in the pieces
- And of course, Hilkiah the priest found the book of the Law in the Temple (2 Chronicles 34:8-35:19). Josiah immediately set about returning to obedience.
Zephaniah pronounced God’s coming judgment up these nations around Judah
- West: Philistia
- East: Moab and Ammon
- South: Ethiopia
- North Assyria
Jerusalem is characterized by spiritual rebellion and moral treachery at this time and so Zephaniah opens with condemnation of idolatry, wrath, and judgment. Zephaniah closes with true worship, rejoicing, and blessing
In Zephaniah, we see an appointed time declared by Yehovah, the Day of Atonement. This is the day that Yehovah will not hide Himself from anyone. He said in Chapter 1 that He will completely sweep away everything off the face of the land. Every living creature, humans, animals, birds and fish. He will wipe out the wicked and anyone who makes people stumble (Zephaniah 1:2-6). This is a warning to those who reject and turn away from following Yehovah.
Chapter 1 describes this day event. It says Yehovah will be swift in His fury on that Day. But chapter 2 calls for repentance and to seek Yehovah’s face. It talks about the remnant of Israel plundering the nations around that were destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah. This reminds me of Ezekiel 38-39, Gog and Magog and also Revelations 19. I am not saying it is Gog and Magog, but it makes me wonder.
Something Zephaniah 3 struck me of a prophecy in Jeremiah 31:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34
On the same Day of Atonement, Yehovah says that He will change the peoples so that they will have pure lips, to call on the name of Yehovah (Zephaniah 3:9)…The remnant of Israel will not do wrong, nor will they speak lies…. (Zephaniah 3:13-20). Did you read this? Yehovah will fulfill the promise He made in Jeremiah 31.
This is hard for me and I can imagine it is for you, too. Please be vigilant. Test everything that I have said and anyone else said about these passages AND including End-Times prophesy. We have got careful in not add into what prophesy says and not say.
May we finish the race to the end.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!