Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from June 20-26 are written by Pastor Andrew Kim at Tapestry Church. Andrew, a graduate of Eternity Bible College, is currently attending Fuller Theological Seminary. He and Jessie were married in 2014.
Devotional Thought for Today
The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you, “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
There are no shortages when it comes to examples of injustice in our world. From the recent Orlando shootings to other forms of terrorism—there is a surplus of evidence that exposes our inclination toward disorder and evil. In fact, news outlets never have to worry about running out of stories to report on because humanity will always supply them. Furthermore, these examples are not only found on the world stage but also within our own personal lives, where relational strife and deceit run rampant all around us. It goes without saying that we’ve all been touched in one form or another by the sinfulness of humanity.
Similarly, the prophet Habakkuk witnessed an epidemic of corruption in his own time. Serving as God’s mouthpiece during the reign of King Josiah, the prophet could not help but to see that God’s law no longer had governing power over the people of Israel. He says that the “law is paralyzed” and that “destruction and violence are before me.” Although King Josiah implemented a massive reform to remove pagan idols and unlawful practices, it was not enough to restrain the sinful tendencies of Judah—they remained mired in sin.
What stands out in our passage for today is not that Habakkuk recognized the iniquity around him but his genuine hatred for injustice and sin. You can sense his disgust in his opening words, when he cries out in frustration to God for idly standing by while “justice never goes forth.” You can almost hear his desperation when he prays, “How long shall I cry for help?” What’s important to recognize here is that Habakkuk is not only feeling bad about the injustice around him but he’s also fighting for change in prayer; he doesn’t merely get angered for a moment and return to the normalcy of his life but continues to faithfully plead with God until divine action is taken. You see, far too many of us are satisfied with our hollow responses. We post a few Facebook statuses, say a quick prayer, and return to our lives as if nothing happened. It seems that we have lost the ability to genuinely mourn for the brokenness of the world as we give lip service to justice but rarely move to do anything about it. However, as God’s people, we have been called to respond to injustice; not with momentary emotions but with sustained prayer, informed action, and righteous anger that seeks the welfare of this world. Consider today the injustice you see around you. How has God called you to respond?
Prayer: God, help my heart to break for the things that break Yours and to learn how to hate injustice and be moved into action. Use me to bring Your shalom and goodness into the world around me!
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 81
Lunch Break Study
Reading Matthew 23:37-39: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Questions to consider
- Why is Jesus grieved?
- What does Jesus desire for Jerusalem?
- When was the last time you grieved over something outside of yourself?
- Jesus is grieved at the unrepentant heart of the people of Israel who have failed to live the way that God has called them. Although God by His grace sent prophets and others to right their way, Israel responded in sin. Injustice, sin, and stubbornness run rampant in the people of God.
- Jesus desires that they would be brought under His care; He desires to see repentance and to recognize Him for who He really is.
We spend so much of our time thinking about our own personal concerns. Our prayer lives are oftentimes only about us. In light of Habakkuk, take some time to think about others. What are some of the injustices you see around the world? What are some injustices and signs of brokenness you see in the community around you? How do you think God has called you to personally respond to some of these? Take some time to pray for some of these things.