Aloha Friday Message – September 30, 2016 – Too Much Is Enough

1640AFC093016 – Too Much Is Enough

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Habakkuk 1:2-3 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.

Me ke aloha pumehana, ʻŌmea – With Warm Aloha, Belovéd – Peace be with you. That would be nice to have, wouldn’t it? How can we know what to do that will bring us – even The World – Peace? Let’s see what the B.I.B.L.E. says about that.

Today’s text comes from the Book of the Prophet Habakkuk. It’s only three chapters long, and not often read or studied. The whole thing is a dialogue between God and Habakkuk concerning the role of God’s sovereignty over human life and all of Earth. Habakkuk complains that there are rampant injustices throughout the Jewish nation, and no one – not even God – is doing anything to address them. God assures him that the offenders will get their comeuppance when the Babylonians come in and bring Israel to ruin. The Prophet then takes off on the cruelty and tyranny of the Babylonians – how can God allow someone even more evil to oppress then further? God reminds Habakkuk that when Israel is obedient, God’s help and blessing are reliable and positive – but, even when Israel is disobedient, God’s help and blessing, his rule over all the nations, is still reliable and also still positive in the long run. Although Habakkuk’s complaint is that divine justice entails suffering for too many and for too long, God’s response is that justice comes to those who patiently and obediently wait on the Lord. God establishes order in all things by conquering the chaos brought about by disobedience. Even in “this day and age,” we struggle to understand and apply that lesson.

In the past few weeks, we have seen so much violence, some of it fairly benign like in the campaign for the Presidency, some of it horrific like terrorism and military aggression. The willingness of humans to inflict pain, sorrow, death, and terror on each other is incomprehensible – yet we know that somewhere deep inside each of us, there is that same propensity for violence, destruction, hatred, and even indifference to the welfare of others. “Why won’t you stop people from doing [whatever], God?!?! Can’t you see they are the source of our suffering?” God’s gentle reply is, “Learn obedience and patience. I am still in charge. Listen. Look. See that I AM rules over everything.” Sometimes we just want God to carpet-bomb all the evil in The World – but we are in The World.

Oh, yeah, no?

How, then, can we make it through all this “awfulness?” Where do we turn, for what or for whom do we look? There is an interesting technical word associated with this Prophet and his Prophecy. The word is Theophany. It is an incident where God is manifest – evident, revealed, shown, visible, perceived, discoverable, present – it is a moment when we know we have had a Close Encounter of the Sixth Kind – we meet The Lord. Consider Luke 24:32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” ʻŌmea, he is right in front of us – well, he is if we are following him. If we are not following him, honestly how can we know where he is since we haven’t always taken the time to know who he is, or even why he is. He is speaking directly to us in our hearts and minds – well, he is if we are listening for him. Let’s look at some more of Habakkuk’s complaint in Habakkuk 1:4 So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

Isn’t that what many of us are complaining about now? “The Authorities” persecute the innocent, shedding blood and causing pain. The Criminals terrorize the Populace. The Politicians bend the will of The People instead of being bent to the Will of The People. Heinous crimes are committed in the name of unknowable gods while the perpetrators of those acts claim to be agents of Peace. The Law is banned in the Land, the Lawless claim to be flawless, and the Lord is deplored. Should we wonder, then, why it might seem that God would tarry to deliver swift justice to all the oppressors? God is Almighty and Everlasting – El Shaddai-Olam. We forget that too easily, especially when we are sending him our To-Do lists. What if HE is waiting on us to do something about this mess? What would he want us to do? What’s on HIS To-Do List for us?

Listen

Psalm 95:7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice!

Do not rebel

Hebrews 3:15 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Have faith

Matthew 17:20 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Luke 17:6The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Let Love rule

1 Peter 1:22-25 22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23 You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For

“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

That word is the good news that was announced to you. (See Isaiah 40:48)

WAIT FAITHFULLY

Habakkuk 2:2-4 Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.

Believe

Habakkuk 2:20 20 But the Lord is in his holy temple;
let all the earth keep silence before him!

Trust God not Humans

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;

Psalm 146:3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.

Psalm 33:4-6 For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and all their host by the breath of his mouth.

Do YOUR work in helping others

Galatians 6:2-5 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill[a] the law of Christ. For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. For all must carry their own loads.

Be patient – It might not be as bad as we think

James 5:7-8 Be patient, therefore, Belovéd, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

Perhaps we are all feeling overwhelmed by the tidal wave of evil racing through our lives, and we feel it is just too much to have to endure. We look to Heaven and cry out, “Violence!” There’s so much need for change! Here is an irony. If you want to change the Universe, change yourself to be more like it. If you want to change the World, change yourself to be less like it. Are we, like Habakkuk, tired of the evil, the pain, the sin, the desperation of day-to-day life? Are we tiring of waiting for The Lord to clean up this mess (even though we know we’re part of the mess)? Try this out for size, and see if there is still too much for us to handle:

Psalm 37:7-9 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices. Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For the wicked shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

 

We can be the best part of Peace on Earth. (↔ Music Link) How do we know? The Bible tells us so!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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