[Originally posted on 7 December 2015 by pesmart]
Today we begin reading the little book of HABAKUK. The format of this book is
Habakuk’s complaint ch 1:1-4
God’s response ch 1:5-11
Second complaint ch 1:12-17
God’s answer ch 2:1-4
Psalm ch 3
We were surprised at how closely we connected to this ancient prophecy – not in content but in sentiment.
HABAKUK is overwhelmed by the evil around him and cries out to God whom he knows can fix it but who doesn’t seem to be doing anything!
God assures him that the evil that HABAKUK is distressed by, sees and is living with, will be punished and dealt with through Babylonian invasion.
‘No Lord, surely not was Habakuk’s response for he could not believe God would use a murderous, violent, cruel nation to bring Israel back to Himself. It was inconceivable. HABAKUK cannot believe that this action could be consistent with God’s purposes or with His nature.
Whether, like us, we are struggling with personal issues or with the agony of knowing the horror and ongoing evil in places like Syria we were encouraged by today’s passage –
First, that we can & do cry out and complain to God.
Second, that God has things under His control, no matter what life seems like.
Third, our solutions are often not God’s and we can trust Him for ‘ He has plans for us, plans for good and not to harm.’ Jeremiah 31:
The commentator Child reminds us that, in the autobiographical style of the confession, the prophet himself serves as an example of a faithful response of one person living ‘between the promise of the end and its arrival.’
1 CORINTHIANS 15:35-49
In today’s reading Paul continues his reply to the Corinthian Christians who were concerned about death and particularly resurrection – issues that no doubt occupy our thinking too.
Even though Paul’s response v36 to the people who were having trouble believing that resurrection was a possibility (Foolish) he continues with a clear explanation from nature, likening death and resurrection to the cycle of sowing, germination and harvest. Leon Morris in his commentary reminds us that God is adequate for all this. Our bodies are fitted for life on earth, so it is God’s will for us to have more glorious bodies which will be suitable for heavenly existence.
Recently a friend of ours spoke at the funeral of a young grandmother. Because she wanted her grandchildren to know the truth of the Christian hope of life and resurrection, he gathered the children and gave them each a sunflower seed to plant after the service.
St Paul is keen for Corinthian enquirers to know that, though death is not the end it does mean CHANGE. The new body we will receive is no longer subject to decay and will be APPROPRIATE TO THE NEW AGE. ‘The spiritual body that follows death is new, animated by the Spirit of God, clothed and equipped for the age to come and reached by the way of resurrection.’ C K Barrett p373
This is our strong hope to live by, which can colour the way we see life and death right now.