Wednesday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Habakkuk 2:1-4 (NKJV)
1 I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.
2 Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.
3 “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
4 “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.”
Habakkuk is troubled by the seeming success of the ungodly, especially of the king of Babylon. He rightly sees how the king is filled with pride in what he has and accomplishes, thinking that it is all his own doing or, at best, worshiping his tools and looking to them for all good—having them as his god. This is like the so-called prayer of Jimmy Stewart’s character in the old movie, Shenandoah: “Lord, we cleared this land, we plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it. We cooked the harvest. We wouldn’t be here, we wouldn’t be eatin’, if we hadn’t done it all ourselves…but we thank you just the same anyway.” By the end of the movie, it is clear to the viewer (though not, it seems, to the one so “praying”), that all of this hard work was unable to sustain the family and, therefore, must not be what actually caused their previous blessings.
The just one is just only through faith; true blessedness is only that which we have—and know we have—by grace. This is a reality that changes our perception of how everything else is: we have life only through faith in Christ; therefore our life is governed by that reality and shows it forth. We thank God for our doctor, our job, our tools, our abilities; God’s Law shows us that we must not trust in them, though, but only in Him Who gives us such gifts to accomplish His good purpose. Otherwise, we are guilty of worshiping the creature, rather than the Creator (as St. Paul writes of those who follow their homosexual lusts in Romans 1). To God ALONE must be the glory for our salvation and for every other temporal or spiritual blessing.
We pray: O Lord, help us always treasure the great truth of the Reformation (because it is the truth of Your Word) that we are justified and have life only through faith in Christ’s atonement for our sin. Amen.