Links Daily Devotional

God’s Place

“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20, NIV)

I simply don’t practice enough to pull off the shots I have in mind on the golf course with any regularity. In a way, this makes it all the more satisfying when I do execute, say, that high lob that covers the exact distance, lands on a pillow, and stops next to the hole. In fact, if I whispered the truth in your indulging ear, I’d have to say that sometimes I amaze even myself!

We can all laugh about this when it comes to golf. Every one of us has hit one of the little miracle shots where we ask ourselves, “Was that really me?” But in a lot of other contexts, we would do well to be very, very careful.

In the second chapter of the prophetic book of Habakkuk, the Lord asks a powerful question: “Of what value is an idol, since man has carved it…For he who makes it trusts in his own creation” (v. 18).

Not many of us today would endeavor to sit at our workbench stool, fluorescent shop light brightening the dark space, and start carving out little wooden idols for ourselves. Not many would pour a ceramic mold of an object of worship and call it worthy of transcendent praise.

What we would do, however, with acuity and pride, is to build a business, a house, a body, even a church, to which we would give a greater place than God himself. And these things, because they receive our affection and care—or more rawly, our time and our money—would rightly be called idols.

Idol worship, like all sin, displaces God. But idol worship does this more openly, more visually. Idol worship says forthrightly, “God, I’ve got something bigger than you in my life.”

In Habakkuk’s conversation with the Lord, the prophet asks why God allows sin. “You cannot tolerate wrong,” Habakkuk reminds the Lord, then asks, “So why do you?”

While Habakkuk seemed to miss what was clear in many other prophets—that God is slow to anger—he provoked a response from God that he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear (see Habakkuk 3:2). God outlined for Habakkuk the truest sins of the people, right down to their prideful yet inane idolatry, wherein they worshipped the very images they carved with their own hands. And to these people, God pronounced, “Woe.”

God, God said, is in his holy temple. He has gone nowhere. He will not be demoted or replaced. The cries of the people to other gods are worthless. Their much better choice is to just be silent.

There are days when I am like these sinners, puffing up my chest and trumpeting my creations. Other days I am like Habakkuk, loudly decrying the wickedness of the world. But every day, there is a far better option. It is to hush my mind and hush my spirit, that God may rule by his awe-inspiring deeds—and that I may be watchful enough to recognize them.

Jeff Hopper

October 23, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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