• MEC/EMW

EMW Daily Devotion – 21 July 2020

“I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Then the LORD replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. ‘See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness”

Habakkuk 2:1-4

I think many of us can associate with the second verse of the book of Habakkuk. “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” We know the promises of God and we know that God will always fulfil those promises, but there is a gap between the promises being made and the fulfilment of them. In our eyes God is not moving fast enough or we feel he needs our ‘help’. We are not alone in this – Abram tried to pass Sarai off as his sister; Naomi sent Ruth to Boaz. Habakkuk feels that God is not hearing his prayers and many of the Psalms and cries of the other prophets echo these same thoughts. At the moment we are getting used to the instruction from the Senedd, ‘Wait’. The five-mile rule has been lifted but waiting a few weeks was long before we could also form a bubble, but wait we had to. How long those weeks seemed to be, especially as the rest of the United Kingdom moved at a greater speed than us. I wonder how many of us are tempted to try and ‘speed the process up a bit’? All of these promises are conditional on the citizens of Wales following the laws.


In Habakkuk 1 and 2 we see the prophet’s frustrations over timing:


A frustrated Prophets problem

  • Evil is triumphing over good

  • The justice system has broken down

  • Violence, contention and strife are everywhere

  • God is doing nothing about any of it

  • God does not hear his prayers

  • God will not answer his prayers

  • God has given him a promise and now seems to have forgotten it

A frustrated Prophets plan

  • He is not going to stop bringing his petitions before God

  • He is going to wait and see what God has to say on the subject

God’s answer to his frustrated Prophet

  • Because judgement is not always swift

  • The wicked think God doesn’t see or care so they can carry on

  • The righteous feel forgotten by God

BUT

  • My timing is not your timing

  • You cannot always see everything and therefore understand how I am working

  • Don’t give up, I always keep my promises

In spite of his frustrations Habakkuk recognises that God is the only solution to his problem, so he continues to lay them at God’s feet. We all know that the promises of the Senedd may not come to fruition. What a comfort to have confidence that God’s promises always are fulfilled, and that none of these promises are conditional on what we do or don’t do. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?” (Numbers 23:19).


In Psalm 37:7 we are told “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” Patience is not something that many of us find an easy discipline. In his book on Ruth (based on his 1996 sermons at Aber) Sinclair Ferguson helpfully says this: “Too frequently we focus attention on ourselves as though the answer lay within our own individual lives – as if we were the central key to interpreting the plan of God for the entire universe. God is intimately aware of us and deeply concerned for our welfare. But his providential purposes which include me do not centre on me as though what he is doing in me could be isolated from everything he is doing” or in the words of Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”


God’s timing may not be ours but he is a promise keeping God. “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:45). This is still the same today for, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).


Tirzah Jones, Malpas Road​

© 2020

Mudiad Efengylaidd Cymru - The Evangelical Movement of Wales

Elusen Gofrestredig  222407 Registered Charity

swyddfa@mudiad-efengylaidd.org office@emw.org.uk

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