I’ve had a chance to further reflect upon my Habakkuk 1 sermon, as I “re-preached” it-with some changes relevant for my audience of course-for RUF at USF last week. In addition, I also reflected upon Ruth 1, and came up with something new for my 2nd RUF talk. I began to see something very similar in both of these stories.
First of all both, Ruth and Habakkuk felt neglected, and perhaps “shafted” by the Lord. God wasn’t writing the story the way they felt He should write it (but Hab was still right in crying out to God). Now approaching the passages from a historical distance, we can see how the Babylonian invasion was intended to produce repentance, which would usher in the Kingdom of God through Jesus. And Ruth was eventually-though Naomi couldn’t see it at the time (and that’s the point)-to bear her a son, who would become King David’s great grandfather.
Naomi’s problem and Habakuk’s problem would have been “solved” differently if they were writing the script. And in the gospels, Peter’s problems would have been “solved” if Jesus did not go to the cross but instead immediately became a militaristic king. Yet it was only by Jesus going to the cross that any problem (sin’s punishment/power/presence) could be solved and His Kingdom come to the Earth. And that is clearly what Habakkuk was crying for.
None of us would have drawn it up that way. None. And that is the ONLY way God’s Kingdom would come to Earth. You and I would have been right there with Peter saying, “Jesus, you’re crazy, it’s not necessary for you to die that way.” Admit it. And if we were wrong about the cross, we might very well be wrong about a number of things when it comes to how God writes His story into the world today. He does things differently than we would do them. And while that makes me frustrated at times, knowing we would not have included the cross, should we really want it written any other way?