Habakkuk 2:3 -The vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at lutheranhour.org.
Habakkuk had had enough. He was fed up. Strung out. He couldn't understand why. Why were evil people prospering? Why were the helpless suffering? Why was God taking so long to save us? God's response probably wasn't the answer Habakkuk was hoping to hear: "If it seems slow," God says, "wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." God's people today have questions like Habakkuk's. Christians believe Habakkuk's hope was fulfilled in Jesus. As Christians, we know God sent Jesus to save us. And we know God wants all to be saved. So, if God has the "medicine" to cure everyone, why is He dragging His feet on spreading the solution?
To answer, first we must clarify what it means for someone to be saved. To be "saved" means being brought out of danger and into safety, or out of illness and into health. According to the Bible, it means that a person is brought out of separation from God and into a life-giving, trusting relationship with God. Salvation is relational. And trusting relationships take time to foster. If I were to say, "I wish God didn't take so long working through relationships to save people," that would be like saying, "I wish my best friend didn't take so much of my time wanting to hang out and stuff. Can't we just say, 'we're friends,' and be done with all this relationship stuff?" In that case, I wouldn't be making friendship more efficient. I'd be changing the definition of friendship. So also, wishing God would bypass relationships when saving people would be trying to change God's own definition of what it means to be saved.
Okay, but if God wants to bring everyone into a life-giving relationship with Him, why are some saved but not others? God has not revealed an answer to that question. But here's what God has revealed: He has shown us that He is relational to the core—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—God is a family, a friendship, a fellowship of mutual love and trust from eternity. So, it makes sense that God would create a world that is also relational to the core. And, that there are terrible and potentially eternal consequences when we betray God, when we give our deepest trust and love to the things God created instead of God Himself (like if someone pretended to be your friend only because they wanted to use your stuff). That's the danger we're in—the danger of losing the relationship. And the only way to save the relationship is for God to show us that He is better, more trustworthy, more satisfying than the sum of all His stuff. The solution isn't medicinal, it's relational. The "medicine" we need is for God to show us that He is the only one we need. And He's done that in Jesus.
People who trust in Jesus talk about Him with others. We talk about what He has done, what He is doing, what He still promises to do, because that trust-building Word from God is the only way for anyone to be saved. God is pleased to work at the speed of relationships—because His fellowship, His family, His fatherhood—He Himself is the cure we need.
WE PRAY: Dear Jesus, You are God's salvation in Person. Help me to know You more, and to make You known so that others may be saved. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. Consider your closest, dearest, most trusted relationships. How was that trust fostered?
2. Since the ascension of Jesus, every new Christian begins trusting Christ by trusting another Christian. Why is God pleased to spread His solution in this way?
3. Read Galatians 2:20. Learn it by heart. What new insights does this bring to question 2?
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