Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Friday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on September 8, 2023 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Habakkuk 1:12—2:4 (NKJV)
1:12 Are You not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction.
13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?
14 Why do You make men like fish of the sea, like creeping things that have no ruler over them?
15 They take up all of them with a hook, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad.
16 Therefore they sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their dragnet; Because by them their share is sumptuous and their food plentiful.
17 Shall they therefore empty their net, and continue to slay nations without pity?
2:1 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.
How can a righteous God allow evil to persist in the world? And more than just persist, but run rampant? This passage of the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk shows us that the question goes back to at least the Babylonian Captivity of the Jews, over 2600 years ago. The question was probably not new then, either.
The prophet Habakkuk asks the question, but God does not address it by solving the dilemma directly. Rather, God responds: “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.” We seek the immediate judgment of those we feel have wronged us. And to be sure, many of them have. Our God is a God of judgment, but He is also a God of mercy. We must remember that He loves us and is looking out for our eternal well-being; but He also loves our enemies and those who may oppress us. He is looking out for their eternal well-being, as well. St. Paul started out persecuting Christians, and he held the coats for the crowd as they stoned St. Stephen, the first martyr. God had other plans for St. Paul, though, and we have no way of knowing what plans He may have for others. Thus, He bids us live by faith, and trust that He will take care of us.
Collect: Almighty and Everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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