A Commented Study Bible With Cross-References - Book 35 - Habakkuk
Cassuto relates the Lord's tread-. For a discussion of common elements of the epic battle of the divine. Greenstein has an excellent bibliography of sources that. Although the Israelites no longer recounted tales concerning two. However, it seems that the case for the adoption of a complete. While many of the data cited above. Not only this, but the settings of these two sources are distinctly. The relevant Near Eastern accounts deal with creation and.
Although the two ex-. All that can be safely said is that in the. Therefore, Cross is correct when he. Israel 's religion in its beginning stood in a clear line of continuity. Yet its religion did emerge from the old matrix and its institu -. Accordingly, it is apparent that just as with the whole corpus, so the. Hebrews' supposed indebtedness to the literature of the ancient Near East in general. Craigie , "The Poetry. Herein lies the crucial point of the matter.
Despite the prowess and success of the hero of the standard non-. Accompanying the highest attainments of heroic. Vergil's Aeneas, or the strength and resourcefulness of Gilgamesh,. Man, then, must become. Perhaps no more telling words. For whom is the blood of my heart being spent? For myself I have not obtained any boon. For the 'earth-lion' have I obtained the boon. In the corpus of biblical epic literature, however, Israel 's atten -.
In the deepest sense, man's fullest goals become. Israelite epic, then, unlike its secular counterparts, is realized. That the Hebrew epic is realized epic may be seen not only from. Job's similar response at. Testament Parallels , Vox , Biblical Theology Grand Rapids: Martens, God's Design Grand Rapids: This is apparent not only from the account of the exodus from Egypt ,. From start to finish, then, the exodus formed one grand event. Indeed, before that event had taken place or the. Isaac and the God of Jacob. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and.
I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue. Through it all a redeemed people learned the divine prescription for. In summary, early Israel knew about God through his activity in. She experienced him more directly in his. The basis of that on-going life lay in doing that which was perfect in. God's sight Deut The dynamic for carrying out. The standard for the. Eerdmans , , well remarks, "Repeatedly in later generations,. For them, the great redemption is ever to be. Martens, God's Design , See also his earlier discussion on pp. That message of full salvation would continue to punctuate the.
Great Redeemer who would proclaim "I am come that ye might have. A careful analysis of Habakkuk's twofold psalm reveals that it is. Like other victory songs in. Habakkuk's psalm firmly within the corpus of Semitic epic literature. The common subject matter, phraseology, and structure it shares with. Moreover, it is not inconceivable that the meaning. As noted above, the language and literary themes of that great.
Thus, Cross affirms that. The oldest poetry of Israel , our earliest Biblical sources which. Cross goes on to suggest that this became the dominant theme of the. Whether or not this latter idea can be affirmed,. One may consider, for example, Joel. Thus, there is every reason to believe that Habakkuk could have.
In this regard, Keil remarks: The description of this theophany rests throughout upon earlier. Even the introduction ver. The points of contact in vers. Of course, God could also have supernaturally revealed to Habakkuk. If so, he could have easily used the very archaic phrase-. In any case, it is evident that Habakkuk had been led by the. Lord to consider the greatness and sufficiency of God.
Habakkuk apparently knew it well: Laetsch , Minor Prophets , So also, Smith, Micah-Malachi , who. Habakkuk may have had an ecstatic experience in which he 'saw' God coming to. Habakkuk had asked that-beyond whatever judgment Israel. God's past intervention on behalf of his people, delivering them from. God's word had brought new confidence.
As Feinberg points out,. In a sublime manner the prophet now pictures a future redemp -. The background here is the. Just as the Lord. As the message of Habakkuk is heard again by the people of God,. I will wait patiently for the day of calamity. I will be joyful in God my Savior. Feinberg, The Minor Prophets Chicago: This material is cited with gracious permission from: Please report any errors to Ted Hildebrandt at: Translation and subsequent analysis of the psalm reveal that it is a remnant of epic literature, and as such it focuses on the theme of the heroic.
Throughout the passage, God is the hero whose actions divide the psalm into two parts. The first poem vv relates the account of an epic journey as God guides his people toward the land of promise. In the second poem vv , God's miraculous acts in the conquest period are rehearsed. The singing of these two epic songs was designed to evoke in the listeners a response of submission to Israel 's Redeemer. Habakkuk's own response in vv illustrates the proper movement toward Israel 's grand and heroic Savior.
Thematically, the first two chapters are largely narrative, recording Habakkuk's great per- plexities 1: Clark, 1, notes , "The Psalm of Habakkuk, with its magnificent but often obscure imagery has attracted many generations of scholars to its study. A Reconstruction and Interpretation," ZAW 82 , well remarks, "The numerous treatments of the problems involved, in whole or in part, attest scholarly interest while the serious divergences of opinion and conclusion indicate the need and desirability of a new approach.
Although the observations that follow make no claim to be a final solution of all the problems in the tantalizingly difficult poetic material in Hab 3: The first two chapters are written in the usual classical Hebrew that was prevalent in the seventh century B. Furthermore these two sections are written in distinctively different literary vehicles. The first two chapters were composed largely in literary forms that are typical of prophecy such as oracles, laments, and woes. However, the psalm of Hab 3: These factors, plus the inclusion of several musical notations 3: Thus, Eissfeldt remarks, We must therefore regard the book of Habakkuk as a loose collection of a group of songs of lamentation and oracles i , 2-ii, 4 , a series of six cries of woe ii, , and the prayer of iii, which all stem from the same prophet Habakkuk, probably a cult-prophet, and origi - nated in approximately the same period.
Having looked at the text and noted some of its distinctive difficulties, an analysis of its grammatical, literary, historical, and theological fea - tures will be undertaken. This writer believes that a good case can be made for Habakkuk's authorship of the entire three chapters thematically, historically, and contextually. See the remarks in the Introduction to the "Commentary on Habakkuk" in the forthcoming Evangelical Commentary on the Bible , ed.
In the translation and discussion below, recourse will be made at times to the principle of the phonetic consonantism of the MT. For details as to phonetic consonantism , see F. The closing summation and conclusions will consider the significance of the psalm for the prophet. His glory covered the heavens And his praise filled the earth. His brightness was like the light; Rays flashed from his very own hand That were from the inner recesses of his strength. Plague went before him And pestilence went out from his feet.
He stood and shook the earth; He looked and made the nations to tremble. The everlasting hills were shattered; The eternal hills were made low --His eternal courses. Oh, Lord, were you angry with the rivers, Or was your wrath against the streams, Or your fury against the sea When you were mounted upon your horses, Your chariots of salvation?
You laid bare your bow; You were satisfied with the club which you commanded.
The earth was split with rivers; The mountains saw you, they trembled. Torrents of water swept by; The deep gave its voice; It lifted its hands on high. Sun and moon stood still in their lofty height; They proceeded by the light of your arrows, By the flash of the lightning, your spear. In indignation you tread upon the earth; In anger you trampled the nations. His leaders stormed out; To scatter the humble was their boast, Like devouring the poor in secret. You tread upon the sea with your horses, Heaping up the many waters.
The use of the last word was predominant in the earlier periods, particularly in connection with Edomite Ternan as shown by the frequency of its employment in the dialogue between Job and Eliphaz. Accordingly, Hummel may be correct in suggesting an association of this name for God particularly with that region. One might also construe the second line of v 3 as reading "and the holy ones from Mount Paran ," taking the m of Mount Paran with wdq , thus reading Mywidq ; , and utilizing the preposition of line one for line two, as well.
It was often used by Isaiah e. Edom itself is also called Teman Obad 9 , the name stemming from a grandson of Esau Gen Paran designates not only a mountain range west and south of Edom and northeast of Mount Sinai , but a broad desert area in the Sinai Peninsula. For the juxtaposition of Seir and Paran , see Gen All three terms appear to be used as parallel names for the southern area that stretched as far as the Sinai Peninsula.
Preuss , TDOT 1. Thus, Cross points out, The relation of this motif, the march of Conquest, to the early Israelite cultus has been insufficiently studied. The last-mentioned hymn, Exodus 15, is rooted in the liturgy of the spring festival "Passover" or Massot , and it may be argued that it stems originally from the Gilgal cultus as early as the twelfth century B.
It rehearses the story of the Exodus in the primitive form, the march of Conquest , and after the " crossing over," the arrival at the sanctuary verses 13, AhiT ; is sometimes translated "splendor" rather than "praise" see BDB, The juxta - position of radiance and power can be seen in the incident of the outshining of God's power through Moses' face Exod Both radiance and power seem to be clearly intended here.
The dual form also controls the verb hyAhA which takes the t-form common to older poetry. Cross links this motif with the idea of kingship and suggests that both were utilized in the royal cultus pp. Feinberg and Paul D. The whole line is extremely difficult and has occasioned many suggestions and emendations. Some meaning, such as "secret place," "inner recesses ," or "source," has usually been put forward here.
Thus, a smooth transition with v 5 could be gained by translating the troublesome line, "And his mighty ones were there as a covering" i. So constructed, the thought parallels that of Deut Hence, the line could be read in parallel with the preceding two, "There is the splendor of his might.
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Word, ; cf. Eerdmans , 2. The translation followed here takes this line as parallel to the preceding two and views it as primarily a poetic expression of God's power in the natural world. The rendering given above is gained by separating the m from the word and viewing the remaining w as a relative particle preceded by a pleonastic waw. The resultant tense stresses that the brilliant theophany originated in the inner recesses of the strength of him who is light cf.
Verse Five The parallel lines here have often been taken as evidence for viewing Debir as an epithet or alternate name of Reshef , the well- known Canaanite god of pestilence and sterility. The inappropriateness of the former meaning has led most critical expositors to favor the latter meaning here.
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Scholars haye suggested various byforms and alloforms to account for this understanding of ddm: If the previous line is to be rendered "shook," the NIV translation is certainly most appro - priate. Pontificium Institutum Biblicum , 1. The force of the following couplet and the dire effects of the preceding two probably best favor a translation similar to that of the NIV for these two lines.
Further, MT does yield a reasonable sense as "his eternal courses. Surely such a poetic figure is most apropos for him who is called "The Rider on the Clouds" Ps The syntax of the line is reminiscent of Num Verse Seven The first line of v 7 is another extremely difficult sentence to interpret. The line has frequently been taken with the first two words of the second line, leaving the last word of line two to be constructed with line three.
While this makes for a smooth translation, "I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: If so, the whole verse forms a geographic inclusio with v 3. Nvx -type forms occur as personal names and geographical names in the OT e. If NvxtHt is to be taken as a geographical name, Nvx - may be associated with a noun meaning "vigor" or " wealth " coming from a second homophonous root to that of the usual noun translated " trouble " or "wickedness" or "distress. Indeed, the poet may have intended a deliberate pun or literary allusion to Num Albright decides for the former and translates "Bare dost Thou strip Thy bow"; 20 Keil follows the latter course: Indeed, Margulis laments, "The second hemistich is patently impossible.
No consensus as to the translation has been reached. Laetsch points out that by his day Delitzsch had counted more than one hundred different interpretations of this diffi - cult line. The final t in tNFm is the common Canaanite feminine singular. Thus Ward remarks , "Syrian and Hittite art frequently represents Adad - Ramman , god of storm, as armed with the same weapons, while the Babylonian art gave this western god the forked thunderbolt.
Verses Nine-c through Eleven The first line v 9c has been translated by taking "earth" as either the subject or the object of the sentence: Because the second masculine singular verbal suffix is read in the following line, it seems best to retain the traditional understanding of fq. See also Patterson, "Psalm 45," Pontificium lnstitutum Biblicum , 3.
Dahood , Psalms , 2. Davidson, Hebrew Syntax Edinburgh: For the corresponding Akkadian construction , see W. The lack of metrical balance at the end of v 10 and the beginning of v 11 has occasioned several suggestions as to the division of the lines. Dahood takes MUr , with the first line of v 10b and reads "The abyss gave forth its haughty voice.
The juxtaposition of sun and moon participating in earthly events is noted elsewhere e. The words are, of course, familiar set terms. Verse Thirteen - tx , may be another example of an intrusive element within a construct chain. For the participation of other celestial phenomena in earthly events , see Judg 5: The following — tx , would thus become an expanded accusative particle after a causative verbal form.
If the reference is primarily historical and has in view the era of the exodus and wilder- ness wanderings, the term must refer to Moses. Although "your anointed " seemingly forms a parallel to "your people," Israel is not elsewhere called by this term. Rather, "the anointed" is customarily reserved for individuals such as the high priest or the king note also Cyrus, Isa If Moses is intended, Pusey may be right in suggest- ing that the tx , is to be taken as the preposition "with" cf. Does God's smiting refer to the wicked enemy Margulis , a mythological figure Albright, Smith , or the enemy nation or armies viewed here under the figure of a house Keil?
Since, as Cassuto points out, the verb CHamA is commonly used in both Ugaritic and the OT to signify a blow that the divine warrior gives to his enemies, it seems best to translate the three lines as rendered in my translation given above cf. The preposition of line one is also to be understood in the second line. The data that support the archaic nature of 3: First, it may be noted that there are numerous cases of defective spelling in the interior of words, as pointed out by Albright.
Albright also suggests the presence of an old energic form with emphatic l in vv Ellinger in translating the troublesome crux as the Ugaritic word for destruction preceded by the preposition l. As well, one may notice the use of parallel expressions and set terms held in common in Ugaritic and the corpus of old Hebrew poetry: Also to be noted is the utilization of a vocabulary commonly found in older poetic material in the OT: Eerdmans , , and his exten - sive bibliography, pp. The his - torical information is minimal, consisting of the notice of God's leading Israel v 3 in her movement from the Transjordanian south- an advance that brought consternation to that entire area v 7.
The era involved in these verses, then, is obviously that of the period surrounding the exodus and Mount Sinai revelation and the move- ment to the Jordan River. This is further confirmed by the notice of the victory at the Red Sea vv It must be pointed out, however, that even though the time frame envisioned in these verses is that of the exodus and Israel 's early movement toward the Land of Promise , the highly figurative nature of the poetry does not allow a precise identification as to the time of its original composition.
Certainly the omnipotence and self-revelation of the invisible God of the universe are taught here. As well, his sovereign control of the physical world and his direct intervention into the historical affairs of mankind are in evidence. Moreover, his redemption of and continuing care for his people are distinctly underscored. However, because such theological information is found in many places in the OT, these data are not decisive in determining the date of the original composition of these verses. Nevertheless, the fact that the historical reflections and theo - logical viewpoint are consistent with and, indeed, are dominant in the other early literature that forms parallels with these verses, and the fact that the grammatical and literary data are like those that are found in the early poetry of Israel argue for the presumption that these verses belong to that same literary cycle and commemorate the same occasion.
If not written in the same era as the other poetic material and handed down to the prophet's day, the poetry found in Habakkuk's prophecy here is at least written in a consciously archais - tic manner. The utilization of earlier traditional material is cham - pioned by Cassuto; 49 an archaistic style is favored by Albright. The justification for this classification must now be considered. An epic is a long narrative poem that recounts heroic actions , usually connected with a nation's or people's golden age.
As such , epic forms a distinct substratum within the class of heroic narrative. Thus, Ing remarks , Its heroic nature is its prime essential and there is one meaning of " heroic " which remains constant throughout all local and temporal variations: Stylistically, the exalted theme s and didactic material call forth the highest efforts of the poet so that the language and expressions become lofty in tone, or as Ryken puts it, "a consciously exalted mode of expression that removes the language from the common- place.
Nilsson observes, In the epical language of all peoples occurs a store of stock expressions , constantly recurring phrases, half and whole verses and even verse complexes; and repetitions are characteristic of the epic style. A skilled poet is able to improvise a poem on every subject. Commensurate with these idealized qualities, the epic plot is usually sublimated to the character of its hero. The action of the narrative, while filled with such things as exciting adventures, perilous wanderings, and colossal battles, is nonetheless usually merely an instrument of focusing on the hero himself whose laudatory conduct both emphasizes the significance of life's quest and provides for future generations a model for the challenges experienced by all men.
Tillyard comments, The epic writer must express the feelings of a large group of people living in or near his own time. The notion that the epic is primarily patriotic is an unduly narrowed version of this require- ment. The epic must communicate the feeling of what it was like to be alive at the time. The structure of epic is often like a great arch through which on one side the past may be seen, on the other the future.
While epic raises its figures to astounding heroic stature, it never makes them strange by eccentricity. They may be giants but they retain the form and blood of the family of man. As Flaceliere points out, Homer bequeathed to future generations the ideal type of Greek man if we accept subtlety and a tendency to deception as part of such a character ; and perhaps the ideal type of all men provided one regards as a virtue prudence, which, in cases of extremity, is not above lying. Oxford University, The balanced man must learn to live the full life of human potential.
In the midst of the catastrophes decreed by the gods, the best men are capable of great actions, though at the cost of infinite affliction. In his two poems he exalts the clear-sighted energy of men who, without illusions, struggle with their tragic destinies, with no real and constant help save what they find in themselves, in "the greatness of their hearts". Hadas shows that Vergil "crowns his work and Latin literature with an epic which would be inconceiv - able without the models of Iliad and Odyssey.
Odysseus was a hero more after the Roman heart than Achilles, and Virgil shows this in his modelling of Aeneas. University of California , demonstrates that there is an essential core of historical trustworthiness as to the Mycenaean Age in the Homeric Iliad. Note, for example, his extended discussions on pp.
Capricorn, , 14, remarks, "The gods were in charge of life--there was no doubt of that--and man could expect to suffer a good deal from them. But the Greeks combined this attitude with an intense joy in living, for they did not regard themselves as playthings of a despotic destiny. They were shapers of their own lives, within a framework set by the gods, and took a fierce pride in human accomplishments even while they recognized their vulnerability.
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It is this tension which makes Greek tragedy the profound and moving form of art it is. Columbia University , II. Thus, Bowra rightly points out, In the Aeneid Vergil presented a new ideal of heroism and showed in what fields it could be exercised. The essence of his conception is that a man's virtus is shown less in battle and physical danger than in the defeat of his own weaknesses. It is through sacrifice and suffering that ultimate triumph is to be achieved. In language reminiscent of Scrip- ture the poet prophesies the birth of a boy whose rule will usher in a golden age of peace.
Since Constantine and Augustine, Christian writers have regarded the Eclogue as a prophecy of the Messiah. More prob - ably the reference is to the child expected by Octavian and Scribonia , who proved to be a girl, the infamous Julia, or possibly to a child of Antony and Octavia, or to Pollio's own son. But if the prophecy cannot refer to Jesus, the notion of an expected redeemer may quite likely derive from the hopeful speculations of the Jews on the subject.
Kramer counts no less than nine epics in ancient Sumer. However, as Kramer points out, distinct differences exist between the Sumerian epic and its classical counterparts. Paul Geuthner , , suggests that "by Vergil's time the Jews of Italy must have cultivated messianism in the heart of the Roman Empire , where they influenced Romans of Vergil's generation. Messianism and apocalyptic were blended together by Vergil who had a great feeling for the destiny of Rome in general and for the key role of Augustus in particular.
Your Calvary will one day be an Easter. It was a dark night for the disciples when Jesus was nailed to the cross and hung there, three hours of it literal darkness. It all seemed so inky black. His kingdom had shrunk to the narrow dimensions of a grave. But then came that glorious morning. He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. One day Jesus will pull back the shades of night and pin them with a star.
He will open the door of morning and flood your world with the sunshine of His love. That day will be all the more wonderful after the darkness. Her first night apart from her mother, she felt alone in the darkness of her bedroom and left it to sleep with her daddy. Is your face toward me? Is Your face toward me? So I go on, not knowing; I would not know if I might. I would rather walk with Christ in the dark Than to walk alone in the light. Sometimes well-known persons have been highlighted, but far more frequently these features have pointed to little-known men and women.
They have been persons whose lives mattered in some special way because of their character, their personality, or of what they meant to others. The true Christian is an unforgettable character who, day after day, is becoming more and more like the most unforgettable Person the world has ever known. I speak, of course, of Jesus Christ. It is becoming so occupied with Him that the values of the world have little attraction. If you have been born of God, if you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have experienced a wonderful transformation.
You are a new creature. You have a brand-new nature. You belong to a new family. As a result, you have a new outlook.
A new destination is now yours. Your whole attitude is changed. There are thousands of religious leaders and members in our churches who profess allegiance to Jesus Christ without heart obedience to Jesus Christ. The Savior is not interested so much in what a man preaches as in what he produces. The spurious type of Christian usually attracts people to himself, rather than to the Lord. The only test we can apply to this characteristic is that of the experience of truth. If a man does not pass this test then a pretentious allegiance without obedience will suffer eternal disqualification.
But its theme of submission despite unjust suffering remained particularly relevant to the church for several hundred years. During this period Christians experienced significant persecution. A letter written about a. What a need for Peter, aware of growing hostility even in the 60s, to write and show believers how to live in times when maintaining allegiance to Jesus means suffering, discrimination, ridicule, and even death.
Expect opposition because of your allegiance to Jesus Christ according to 2 Timothy 3: But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
The vision of God is the source of patience, because it imparts a moral inspiration. Moses endured, not because he had an ideal of right and duty, but because be had a vision of God. He "endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible. You always know when the vision is of God because of the inspiration that comes with it; things come with largeness and tonic to the life because everything is energized by God.
If God gives you a time spiritually, as He gave His Son actually, of temptation in the wilderness, with no word from Himself at all, endure, and the power to endure is there because you see God. It is a bad thing to be satisfied spiritually. Our reach must exceed our grasp. Beware of the danger of relaxation spiritually. These are uncertain times. Terrorism, financial collapse, health care issues and many other issues are pressing upon the hearts and minds of people everywhere.
Rick Lance reminds us to face life honestly, but to face life with trust and faith in the Sovereign God! At the beginning of this little book, the prophet Habakkuk could not understand why injustice prevailed and the wicked were allowed to hem in the righteous. Since Habakkuk did not understand how God could do something like that, he cried out to God in prayer and waited for God to answer him. How do we react when the bottom seems to fall out?
Do we let sorrow and grief rob our joy and drive us away from God? Or do we choose the colors? Habakkuk wrote this book under the inspiration of God to warn Judah that God was going to use a pagan nation to chastise Israel because of her backslidings. God commissions Habakkuk to tell Israel that God would use the Babylonians to punish her for her sinfulness. Conservative notes from Dr Morris who approaches the text seeking it's literal meaning in the context. NETBible notes are in the right panel.
You can also select the tab for " Constable's Notes. Sample Comment - Habakkuk 3: The Davidic king Ed: The future "Davidic King" is the Messiah - cf Rev James Rosscup writes "This work originally appeared in The present publication is set up in two columns to the page with the text of the Authorized Version reproduced at the top.
Scripture references, Hebrew words, and other citations are relegated to the bottom of the page. The work is detailed and analytical in nature. Introduction, background and explanation of the Hebrew are quite helpful. Pusey holds to the grammatical-historical type of interpretation until he gets into sections dealing with the future of Israel, and here Israel becomes the church in the amillennial vein. If you are not familiar with the great saint Charles Simeon see Dr John Piper's discussion of Simeon's life - you will want to read Simeon's sermons after meeting him!
James Rosscup writes "Though old this is well-written and often cited, with many good statements on spiritual truths. Users will find much that is worthwhile, and sometimes may disagree, as when he sees the Jonah account as allegorical Ed: THE fact that these words are so frequently found in the Word of God is a sufficient justification for often preaching from them. There seems to be, among certain preachers and hearers, some sort of question about preaching more than once from the same text; yet it would appear that this is by no means a wrong practice, but a most proper one.
Indeed, our Lord Jesus Christ may be thought to have preached the same sermon more than once, for the sermon on the mount contains many passages similar to those uttered by him on other occasions. As the truth contained in our texts is so often brought before us in the Scriptures,-and is revealed at least four times in almost the same words,-we ought to regard it as of the greatest imaginable importance, as indeed it is. Therefore, we ought to give most earnest heed to that which lies near to the very heart of true religion, and which is, indeed, its very life. To the believer, faith is of the utmost importance.
He should endeavor not to lose any of his graces; he should seek, by the power of the blessed Spirit, neither to lose patience, nor hope, nor love, nor any other grace or virtue; still, the root of true religion is faith so he must first of all see to that. If we fail in faith, we shall fail everywhere. I might almost say of faith, with regard to religion that it is like the heart, out of which are the issues of life. If faith be weak, we are weak all over,-for service, for suffering for everything; but when faith is strong, it imparts strength to all the members of the spiritual body, and the whole spiritual manhood is full of vigor.
So, my brother, or sister, see thou first and foremost to thy faith. May God the Holy Spirit graciously strengthen it, and may our consideration of these four texts tend to the same end! First, in time great change from condemnation to justification, these words are true: We all need to be delivered from the condemnation, which is our due because of sin. This is the famous text which was the means of the emancipation of the soul of Martin Luther.
There are places cut,-where the priests say that the blood of Jesus fell,-in order to enable the poor votaries of superstition to kiss the spot where the blooddrops fell. I have seen scores of men and women going up that staircase on their bended knees, for they are told that there are great indulgences to be obtained by crawling up those stairs. It is well that you have forsaken the ale-bench, it is right that you have abstained from profane language, it is good that you are honest, it is most commendable that you are seeking to be a comfort to your friends at home, and to observe all the laws of domestic and social life; but if you are seeking, in this way, to obtain eternal life, you will miss the object of your search.
Some, however, place a great deal of reliance in various forms of religious observances, as Luther himself did until his eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit. If that is your case, my dear friend, let me say that it is well that you should attend the house of God, and I am glad that you do; but if you get the idea that you are to be saved because you go so many times a week to the assembly of the saints, you are making a fatal mistake.
It is well to search the Scriptures; but if you imagine that the searching of them will save you,-if you think that in them there is eternal life,-you will find that there is something else to be done before you can get that great blessing, namely, coming to Christ that you may have eternal life, for you will search the Scriptures in vain if you regard that exercise as one which merits salvation. It is well that you have begun to pray; but all the praying in the world, if it be relied on as a ground of salvation, is like a sandy foundation for a man to build on.
You may weep over your sinful state, your tears may flow until, like Niobe, you are transformed into a perpetual fountain; but salvation comes not so. There is a notion more common, perhaps, than either of these two, of salvation by works or ceremonies, and that is the idea of a certain amount of terror of conscience, which is often confounded with true conviction of sin.
According to the ideas of some people, this state must be passed through before you can be saved. You must dream about dreadful things at night, and wake in the morning full of horror and confusion, and go about your business in the utmost conceivable despair. So some say, and it is true that there are many who do come to God in that way.
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I do not doubt that there are thousands who reach the Celestial City by way of the Slough of Despond; nay, how can I doubt it, when I went that way myself? Yet that is not the best way; it is our wandering and blundering that leads us to go that way, for the just shall not live by despondency, but by faith. The just shall not find eternal life through terror and despair; but they shall find it through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. That is not true, you may even be put into the mortar of conviction, and brayed there with the pestle of the law until you are ground to atoms, and there is no hope left in you; but that is not the way of salvation.
There are, no doubt, others who are looking in various directions for salvation, but we may say to them all that it is of no use which way they look,-this way or that, up, down, to the right, or to the left,-until they look by faith to Jesus Christ; but, oh, what life comes streaming into the soul as soon as the eye is fixed upon Jesus! In the case of some of us, the thrill that went through our heart, directly we looked to Jesus, was like a little heaven. It seemed to us as if we were suddenly brought into a new world. To me, believing in Jesus brought such a change in me, at once, that I can only compare it to the experience of a blind man, who, having never seen a ray of light, should be suddenly taken out in the night, set under the sky studded with stars, and then should have an instantaneous operation performed upon his eyes so that in a moment he could see clearly.
Oh, how ravished he would be, how astonished, how delighted! How every little star would seem to twinkle for him! How every beam of light would seem to make him glad! He would clap his hands, he would leap for joy in the new sense of sight, and the newly discovered pleasure which it had brought into his life. This is the kind of bliss that comes through believing in Jesus. It is like the discovery of buried treasure; there comes such a flood of delight upon the soul as must be experienced to be understood, for it cannot be described.
It does not come to all so suddenly, for some eyes are opened gradually; first they see men, as trees, walking; and, by-and-by, they see more fully; but, however it is manifested, the change that faith works in the soul is truly marvelous. For thee, there is no hell; for thee, there is no undying worm, no Tophet, no Gehenna; there cannot be any of these things, for thou hast no sin now. I wish that all in this place did not only know about faith, but really had faith.
I repose myself upon him. Sink or swim, I fall into his arms. Note, first, that the believer, after his conversion, lives in no other way but by faith. No Christian remains a Christian except by still believing. Where we began, there we continue; we looked unto Jesus at the first, and we are still looking unto Jesus. I beg you, beloved Christian people, try to avoid all attempts to live in any other way. There are some professing Christians who live upon their devotions. Now, no Christian can live without prayer,-without praise-without feeding upon the Word of God.
But if you pray in faith, and praise in faith, and read the Word of God in faith, then all these things shall become helpful to your spiritual life; but if faith be left out, all these things shall be but as mere husks which contain no wheat in them whatsoever. I do fear that there are some professors of religion who feel perfectly satisfied if they have gone through the regular routine of the day. I admire habits of devotion; they should be maintained; but if the mere habit is mistaken for living power, and if it takes the place of coming continually to Jesus by living personal faith, you will soon find yourselves in a very strange case.
Faith puts power into them, but they have no living force apart from faith. There are some other Christians who try to live by their works. They are believers in Jesus, but they have got into such a state of heart that they are happy, and restful, and comfortable, only when they can have a certain amount of activity in the service of God. But if, through illness, or any other cause, they are hindered from active service, they are full of doubts, and begin to think that they are not saved, which proves that they were at least somewhat resting upon their activities.
Now by all means, let us be active in the service of our Savior; let us be zealous in good works, for to this end were we called, and this is for the glory of God. You would be feeding where God would not have you feed. Do all you can do, but live by faith. What sin there is even in our holy things, so that they might sooner damn us than save us! Let us put no confidence in them, nor try to live by them as some do.
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There are other Christians who live by feeling. Indeed, I have heard some advocate that we ought to live by feeling. Now, a true Christian man cannot be without feeling. God forbid that he should! Feelings of sorrow, feelings of joy, feelings of spiritual depression, and feelings of holy elation,-these are all necessary in their time and place; but to live by feeling, and to gauge our security by our state of feeling, would be truly dreadful work, because our feelings are more fickle than the weather.
It is fine just now; but in another half-hour, it may rain. In such a variable climate as ours, we can never reckon for long upon any sort of weather; and as to our hearts, and our feelings, so dependent upon our bodily health, or upon the kindness or the unkindness of our friends,-so dependent upon a thousand little things almost too minute to be observed,-if we begin estimating our safety by our ups and downs, we shall feel lost and then feel saved a hundred times a day.
That plan will not do. Do you think I put that sentence the wrong way upwards? I did not, for it is easier, I believe, to trust Christ in the depths of sorrow than it is when you are high up in your stirrups, and feel yourself to be somebody; for then, almost insensibly, you get away from the sole foundation of your standing by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are some, too, who live very much, even in religious matters, upon their outward circumstances.
There are some who, if they become poor, almost give up all profession of religion. But, if we have learnt to live by faith, we shall follow the Lord in rags if he gives us nothing better to wear; and if we have not a shoe to our foot, we shall go after him all the same. Let us be in whatever condition we may, we shall never be worse off than he was; so come poverty, or come wealth; come the lowest possible ebb of outward fortunes; yet, still, if we live by faith, we shall keep close to the heels of the Crucified.
God grant us grace to live above our outward circumstances! And, beloved friend, he lives in all forms of his life by faith. I can only speak, for a minute or two, upon this thought. In one form of his life, the Christian is a child at home with his Father. As his children, we receive teaching, supplies, food, clothing, and everything, and we receive all by faith. To the child of God, faith is the hand that takes everything from God.
I am his child, and I know that he will supply my every need; but faith prompts me to tell him my need,-yea, makes me feel that he knows what I need before I ask him, and so I take from him what he freely gives by believing in him. The Christian is, next, described in the Word of God as a pilgrim. An unbelieving step is not a step towards heaven. All the progress that is made by any child of God is due to faith. The Christian is also described as a warrior; and there is no fighting except by faith, and no weapon of defense like the great shield of faith.
No victory is won by doubting; no devil is ever overthrown by desponding. Mistrust of God never yet put to flight the armies of the aliens; unbelief never stopped the mouths of lions, or quenched the violence of fire, or divided the sea, or conquered the land. Point to the wonders wrought by unbelief if you can. All it can show is ruin and desolation; for unbelief is powerless except for mischief. The just, when he fights, must fight by faith, and faith is the victory that overcometh the world.
The Christian is also continually described in the Word of God as a servant. Now, all service done for God must be done by faith. Thou must believe, for so wilt thou be able to serve. The trusting must come before the doing, and be mingled with all the doing, or else it will be a very poor piece of doing indeed. Well, then, in any capacity in which a Christian is found, he must always be believing. If you have to go home, and go to bed, and lie there for a month and suffer, go upstairs believing that the Lord will make your bed in all your sickness.
Then, go in faith. Very rapidly, let me also say to you that this is the way the just are to live in every case and every condition. The prophet Habakkuk is the one who first uttered these words: It is always pleasant to see whether a doctor takes his own physic, and whether a preacher practices his own precepts.
King James Version (KJV)
I think this is how Habakkuk understood these words; here is his practical exposition of them, in the last verses of his prophecy: To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. This is what he meant by living by faith,-faith, you see, about fruit,-faith about flocks,-faith about cattle,- faith about fig trees,-faith about everything,-yea, a faith that does without anything,-a faith that can take nothing, and be content with it because it finds every thing in God,-faith under the worst conceivable conditions.
This is how the just are to live. And as they are to live thus at their worst, so should they live at their best,-still by faith. I was told of a friend, who walked with that blessed man of God, Mr. Is your faith just as simple? Do you walk by faith as you did then? Instead of less faith in time of prosperity, you will need even more. There are some people, you know, who lean upon God because they have no one else to lean upon.
They are like that famous rider of whom Cowper sang, who was-. That is how it is with the faith of these people, and very good faith it is, too; but that faith is even nobler that has some apparent means of sitting upright, that does seem to have something to confide in, yet will not do it because it disdains to have even things visible, of the best and most powerful kind, to rest upon, but will rest on nothing but God.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. We are getting on so well, and the hedge is all around us. Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. The next step is to enter your payment information. You can cancel anytime during the trial period. To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings. Upgrade to the best Bible Gateway experience! Try it free for 30 days! Habakkuk 2 Zephaniah 1. Ps 7 Title Habakkuk 3: The Holy Bible, hardcover Retail: