Monday, July 30, 2012

Climb Your Watch Tower

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

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Habakkuk 2:1, 3
I will climb my watchtower now, and wait to see what answer God will give to my complaint.
But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!

In the Dictionary of Bible Themes it says of the word Watchman: "A person stationed on the highest part of a city wall to warn inhabitants of an approaching enemy or messenger; also a person who kept watch over pastures, vineyards and sheep. The OT prophets were spiritual watchmen, warning the people of Israel of God’s judgment.

I thought I would look into the subject of watchmen and being watchful a bit more today. I realize that as I read my bible that there is so much there that in my puny understanding that I have no doubt that I only scratch the surface of the depths of Gods truths. If you don't bother to open the book and do a little digging you will find nothing. While I may not uncover the depths of all that may be found, I hope you find a nugget today that helps you in some way.  So I decided we could spend another day mining a bit deeper into this topic. 

So what exactly is Habakkuk's complaint. What is it that concerns him to this point of anguish before the Lord? To find out we need to not just take this verse out of context but we must go back a bit to pick up the story. So lets look at Habakkuk 1:12-13
12 O Lord, are you not from everlasting?
    My God, my Holy One, we will not die.
O Lord, you have appointed  them to execute judgment;  (Q1: Who is them?
    O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
    you cannot tolerate wrong.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? (Bingo - heres the complaint in bold. How's it fair? )
    Why are you silent while the wicked   (Be honest have you ever asked God the same thing?)
    swallow up those more righteous than themselves?  

Maybe you've been mad at God because someone who was good and kind that you loved died or was raped, or lost a limbs while others who are wicked seem to receive no punishment? How is that fair - how is this God's justice. So you reamin angry at God or you try to change what the word says because you can't seem to reconcile what has happened in light of its truth.  
It might be time to climb your watchtower. I don't know that we always will find the answers on this side of heaven. Sometimes we just need to watch and see what God does. 

I read a great quote by Oswald Chambers it said " What is my dream of God's purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish: His end is the process - that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see HIm walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God. 

To answer the my Q1 from the bible passage above. Them is the Chaldeans. You may remember these places Babylon and Ninevah the Chaldeans were the last ruling power in both of these places. It seems the Chaldeans were intelligent and a warlike people. The were originally nomadic people in the region near Babylon. At serval points Chaldean's became the king of that area and were described as swift and bitter. Eventually the Chaldean's get conquered by the Persians and the term Chaldean came to describe those who were highly educated, rather than a nation of people. 
I think in our passage however it is not the highly educated that have Habakkuk's climbing the walls of his tower to talk to God. I think it is the ruling power in the area who God is using to bring judgement on Israel's waywardness. 

Matthew Henry's commentary had this to say: "That after God has served his own purposes by the prevailing power of the Chaldeans, has tried the faith and patience of his people, and distinguished between the hypocrites and the sincere among them, he will reckon with the Chaldeans, will humble and bring down, not only that proud monarch Nebuchadnezzar, but that proud monarchy, for their boundless and insatiable thirst after dominion and wealth, for which they themselves should at length be made a prey. 

Lest this become too much digging to absorb - lets bring it back to you. There might be some Chaldeans types that God is using to show you your own hypocrisy or to see if you are really sincere  about turning more to him. Your Chaldean's might be an illness, or depression, difficulties and trials can come in all sorts of packages. Perhaps we need to stop shaking our fists at God and demanding he explain the seeming injustice and step back and watch and see what he is doing. 

I am reminded of Joni who has spent the last 45 years in a wheel chair. How is it fair that this young woman in a ski accident became a quadriplegic. Where was God and maybe she just didn't have enough faith to receive God's healing? I've heard Christian's wrestle with the whys of her story through the years. I suppose back when it first happened she may have felt at times pretty sorry for herself, even angry at herself or at God. At some point she must have climbed her watchtower and had it out with God and came to a peace in God's sovereignty.  She has done so much more than anyone ever thought she could. She has today a remarkable ministry. Her mission field has been a group of people that most others could not really reach, because they don't understand people with disabilities. Joni could speak their language, her life has become an example of faith and courage.  If you are not familiar with her here's a link to her web site  -

Forty five years ago no one could even imagine what God would do with Joni's broken life. You may look at your own life and feel robbed of things you thought would be part of God's plan for you. If you will watch, wait and trust him you may be surprised in time what he will do with your life.  Take a look at the end of our verse today. "But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!

God is all about the process as Oswald Chambers said so well. Will you look to him today? 
He's not waiting for you to get it together so you can be good enough to be around him. He accepts you today just as you are. He wants to walk with you through the mountains and the deepest darkest vallies of your life and every part in between. He simply waits for you to invite him into your day, and into this moment and the next and the next. 

Lord, some of us have complaints to voice to you today. Why? we want to know. How is this fair?
Why me and not them? Lord you work in strange, wonderful and mysterious ways. Help us to stop railing and demanding answers and to begin to watch and see what you will do day by day step by step as we journey through life with you by our side.  Bless Joni and her ministry, thank you that we can see now the remarkable plan you began as she chose to walk with you from tragedy to triumph for your glory. 

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