Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Friday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on September 3, 2021 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.”
Named for the Greek letter ‘Chi’ (‘X’), a chiasm is a pattern: thing-one is said, thing-two is said, thing-two is repeated, thing-one is repeated. Habakkuk 2:4 can be understood as an ‘antithetical chiasm’ (one where the repeating parts contradict!): 1) “Behold the proud”—pride; 2) “His soul is not upright in him”—uprightness lacking; 2) “But the just shall live”—uprightness present; 1) “by his faith”—humility.
Pride is the antithesis of faith. By pride, Lucifer falls and then tempts Adam to fall; by faith in the Second Adam, man is restored. The soul that is not upright is in death (even while the body lives); thus, only the just one is alive.
?hese observations can form a syllogism (two true statements necessarily leading to a conclusion): 1) Since one is only alive if he is just (even if the body is in death) and 2) righteousness is only by faith (not by pride/works), 3) life is by faith—that is, the one with faith in Christ has everlasting life.
The works of the proud are not considered, because “his soul is not upright”; the righteous soul is alive because works are only considered in light of his receiving righteousness by faith. Thus, faith is the instrument that receives, righteousness is the condition created, and the result of being in that condition is ongoing (even eternal) life, so “The just shall continue to have life by his faith.”
Prayer: 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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