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Violence: Does God Care?
May 9, 2007
Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
Violence began when Cain slew his brother Abel. Violence escalated until it “covered the earth” during the days of Noah. God sent the Flood as judgment and the Rainbow as a pledge in the covenant of preservation. Now today, we see violence everywhere. Does God care?
Albert Einstein is making news because of a new biography of his life. Walter Isaacson wrote about him in the April 16, 2007 edition of Time magazine. In this exclusive excerpt from his new biography, Isaacson writes about Einstein’s faith. He says that Einstein rebelled at the beginning of his life, rejecting his parents’ secularism, religious ritual, and the concept “of a personal God who intercedes in the daily workings of the world.” Apparently, Einstein settled into some sort of deism based on what he called the “spirit manifest in the laws of the universe.” (Time, p. 44)
Einstein maintained that “human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.” He did not believe in immortality, yet he believed himself devoutly religious because of his sense of awe, wonder, and mystery over those things the human mind cannot grasp. He believed in a “God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.” (Time, p. 47) Do we have a personal God who cares?
Long ago, around 606 B.C., just before the Battle of Carchemish which established Babylon as the ruling power in the area of Palestine, a man whose name means either “the embracer” or “the wrestler” wondered just that. Habakkuk saw injustice prevailing in his land. “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and you will not hear! Even cry out unto you of violence, and you will not save!” (Hab. 1.2)
Habakkuk grieved over the violence, injustice, strife and contention. The law wasn’t being enforced, and the Babylonian empire threatened the political landscape. The Chaldeans were terribly wicked. Why was God silent? It seemed like He was doing nothing! But God responded that the Chaldeans would be His instrument to chasten and correct His people. The prophet protests in a dialogue with the Almighty.
How could the favored of God suffer such devastation? Deportation and utter destruction—do they not reverse the total direction of God’s electing mercies? Aren’t God’s people more righteous than the wicked Chaldeans? How could God’s people be swallowed up like that? (cf. Jeremiah 51.34; Lamentations 2.2, 5, 16)
Judgment is coming with utter destruction. As Habakkuk stands waiting for God’s self-revelation, he braces for rebuke. He hopes to receive divine clarification. “Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them for judgment; and O mighty God, you have established them for correction. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity.” (Habakkuk 1.12, 13a)
What God reveals in His answer to Habakkuk is this: “The just shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2.4) The soul that is lifted up is not upright. He transgresses by wine and is proud, neither keeps at home. He enlarges his desire as hell and is as death and cannot be satisfied, (Habakkuk 2.5)
The violent man is proud, puffed up, bloated, self-exalted, presuming himself to be the source of his own goodness. He presumes he possesses adequate resources for victory. He entices and leads in a way not good. He purposes to trip people up. He wears pride as a necklace and violence as a garment. He conceals, despises authority, provokes God, takes by force, mistreats, invents evil, and hates God. He is insolent, arrogant, pugnacious, self-willed, weighing out the violence of his hands. He robs people of their inheritance. He sheds innocent blood. Whether in punishment for the wicked or correction for the righteous, God hates and judges sin.
Only the one who is legally righteous shall live. The justified shall live by his faith. Paul understood this. He describes himself in 1 Timothy 1.13 as being before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious. He was a violent man. But he obtained mercy because he did it ignorantly in unbelief. “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 1.14)
Paul caught Habakkuk’s vision. We need that faith which strips us from all arrogance and leads us naked and needy to God that we may seek salvation from Him alone. Steadfast trust contrasts with arrogance and boasting. The justified by faith continue to live by faith. A remnant survives. Life is a gift. The one who trusts God’s grace for his existence every moment shall live. He shall survive the devastations of God’s judgment. Talking with God, bracing for the answer, listening and obeying when God speaks—these are key.
In those times when we question whether or not God cares, we are not to be fooled by contrary appearances. We are to believe and be patient in possessing the substance of the promises of God. God’s outworking of redemption will come. The earth will be filled with God’s glory (2.14). The lord is in His holy temple. (2.20)
God does care. He is personal. He involves Himself in our lives. He is working in our world. We know Him as we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, accepting that we are sinners and that the only righteousness we have is the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by grace through faith. We cast our cares upon Him and care for one another. God works out His own plan in His own time.
We have begun a new weekly ministry to those caring for the chronically ill. Find details on www.craighouse.org. Jackie Marcott, R.N. leads. Caregiving can be emotionally and spiritually draining. Yet we can learn to carry one another’s burdens in grace and love.
Living by His faith,
P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org, the prophetic section, for a word received for America in response to the violence of these days. Order from our Catalog section using PayPal. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests.
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd
in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD. I will joy in the
God of my salvation. The LORD God is my Strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
And He will make me to walk upon mine high places. Habakkuk 3.17-19
Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4.4
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