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October 18

Habakkuk 2; 2 Thessalonians 1

Thought from Today's Old Testament Passage:

[Habakkuk 3:16-18] The prophet Habakkuk had been given a vision which left him deeply agitated. He was so shaken by the terrifying news that God would bring Babylonian hordes down on Judah that his body seemed to fall to pieces right then and there. There can be no doubt that the prophet experienced real fear with pronounced physical and psychological effects.

The amazing aspect of this saying, and the fact that makes it so noteworthy, is that in spite of all of the trauma, Habakkuk received the gift of joy. This was not merely resignation about things over which he had no control. The prophet wasn't saying, "Let's make the best of it; one thing is for sure, you can't fight city hall."

Instead, this text teaches us to rejoice in God even when every instinct in our bodies is crying out with grief. Though fully alarmed at the outrage that would take place, Habakkuk experienced a holy joy, a divine enabling to rejoice in the Lord.

The object of his joy was the God of his salvation. Some things are just more abiding and important than this temporal world…. This text has enormous relevance for a Christian view of history and for those who are oppressed and experiencing the reality of the conqueror's or enemy's wrath.

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Hard Sayings of the Old Testament (Downer's Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), pp. 233-34.

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