Sunday, missio dei
Hab. 2:14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (ESV)
It must have been difficult to be a believer in Habakkuk’s time. The merciful king Josiah, who had guided the people of Judah through a series of social and religious reforms, had died in battle. His replacements, one after the other, were disastrous! Judah quickly fell again into a state of violence, injustice and iniquity. God seemed to be distant. Habakkuk complained. The Lord surprised him by revealing that the merciless Chaldeans were going to be His instrument in bringing judgment against Judah. The cure seemed worse than the disease! But, no doubt, the Chaldeans too were to be judged.
It is not too much speculation to say that Habakkuk must have felt lonely, frustrated and discouraged. However, in the midst of such darkness in the history of Judah, the Lord provided hope to his prophet with a vision found in Hab. 2:14 - “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (ESV). Judah would go into exile. Babylon would be destroyed. But nothing could prevent the Lord from accomplishing his purpose for creation. Earthly kingdoms would rise and fall, but His kingdom would be established and His glorious presence would fill the earth. The Lord was going to bring his plan to fulfillment!
As a disciple who wants to make disciples and as a church planter, many times I have gone through dark times and have also experienced loneliness, discouragement and frustration. Many times I have wondered if I will see any fruit from my labor. Many times the situations I find myself in seem overwhelming. Many times God seems to be distant. Many times I feel too inadequate for this ministry or too weak even to keep fighting against my own sin. It is especially at those low moments where I need to be reminded of the same vision revealed to Habakkuk. His purpose cannot be frustrated: the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!
And if the prophet Habakkuk had enough reason to be encouraged, how much more reason do we have. As the apostle John teaches us, we are in a much better position to trust. Some time after Jesus’ death and resurrection, he wrote: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14. ESV). The glory that was partially revealed in the Old Testament has now been made known, finally and ultimately, in Jesus. But it is clear in John’s gospel that not everyone who saw Jesus during his earthly ministry perceived the glory. Only those who placed their faith in Him and who tasted Christ’s love and faithfulness in going to the cross saw His glory.
We certainly are in a much better position to trust: The vision is being fulfilled! Through His death and resurrection, Christ has secured the success of it. He is conquering the darkness in this world and in our own hearts. Every time people respond to the gospel, the knowledge of His glory is filling the earth as the water covers the sea. And amazingly, we have been invited to participate in this work by taking the gospel to every man, woman and child. What a difference does it make to keep central the Missio Dei perspective!
It is at the cross that we see the glory of Christ shining brighter. Thank you for opening our eyes to this reality! As we seek to labor for your kingdom, help us to remember that truly you will fill the earth with the knowledge of your glory. May this humble, encourage and draw us closer in dependence to you.