The View From 1776
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Catching A Vision
The new year is a time to abandon our comfort zone and seek the Lord’s aim for our lives.
For his sermon text at the Cohocton Assembly of God Church, Pastor Dan Gardner chose:
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
(Kabakkuk 2:1-3, King James Version)
The prophet Habakkuk wrote this short book near the end of the kingship in Judah. In it he foresees the Babylonian Captivity that lay roughly 25 years in the future. As did the long succession of prophets from King Saul onward, Habakkuk rebuked the Israelites for straying from the spirit of the Mosaic law.
In the first chapter of the book, he asks God two fundamental questions. First, why does God allow wickedness such as that besetting Judah to continue? God answers that He is sending the Babylonians to punish Judah. Second, Habakkuk asks God why He is sending Babylon, a nation worse than Judah, as punishers? God answers that they too, in time, will be punished.
In response, Habakkuk, in the verses quoted above, resolves to wait and watch for the Lord’s Word. God tells him to record the vision of coming retribution and make it plain for messengers to read, understand, and spread the message. Meanwhile, God tells him, wait for fulfillment of the vision with the coming of the Babylonians.
Though we no longer have Biblical prophets among us, our situation today is uncomfortably similar to that of the Kingdom of Judah in Habakkuk’s time. Our nation, along with most of the Western world, has strayed far from the path intended by God for us. We worship a false god, the secular political state, as the source of our salvation, while we wallow in every manner of degraded sensuality. Instead of donating our time and money to helping people in our communities who are suffering ill health or financial setbacks, we profligately pile on personal debt to gain immediate gratification of our selfish desires.
Somewhere on the horizon an enemy, perhaps Islamic jihad, is coming to humble us and to remind us that our past good fortune was given in stewardship to us by God. To remind us that neither we nor the secular political state is the author of whatever good fortune we experience.
In our homes and in our places of worship, Christians and religious Jews must rededicate ourselves to listen prayerfully for inspiration from the Holy Spirit. We must metaphorically set ourselves again upon a tower to catch a vision of what God will say to us and how we shall respond to His reproof.