The Just Shall Live By Faith
God told Habakkuk that the just, people who wanted to follow God, would live by faith through the time of judgement. We are not told what happened to Habakkuk but we have the examples of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. They each followed God through those dark years.
Jeremiah and Ezekiel were priests, descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses. Daniel was a member of the royal family, a descendant of King David.
The Jewish nation was led by two privileged families. The kings were absolute dictators. The majority of them did follow God enthusiastically, if at all. The priests were to be authorities on the covenant given to the Jews through Moses and led the temple worship.
The Jewish people were living in the blessing of God’s promise to Abraham. They lived in the promised land.
Exile was the final punishment given in the covenant for continued disobedience of God.
Jeremiah was a priest who stayed in the promised land. Ezekiel was a priest who was exiled from the land promised to the Jews. Daniel was a member of the royal family and would have served in a minor role in the political leadership of Judah. He became one of the most powerful men of his era, more powerful than the kings who reigned in Jerusalem during that time.
Jeremiah remained a priest in the promised land. However, he was put in prison. His family plotted to kill him and his prophecies were rejected by the other priests and royal advisors. In his final years he was taken to Egypt by the rebellious people. One of the revelations God gave him was of two baskets of figs. The basket representing those, like him, who stayed in the land was full of rotten figs. The basket of good figs were those who went into exile. God’s future for the Jews was with them. He was called to serve those who were rejected. (Jeremiah 1; 4-6; 11-12; 23-24; 26-29; 36-38; 41-43)
Ezekiel lost the land and his priesthood. When he was thirty years old, the year he would have started serving as a priest if he had stayed in Jerusalem, he was called to be a prophet. His wife died as an illustration of the destruction of the Jewish nation. But he was given great visions of God’s plan including a glimpse of the restoration of the promised land and worship of the true God. (Ezekiel 1; 24:15-27; 40-48; Numbers 4:1-3)
Daniel was taken from the land and his place in the royal family. He quickly became a powerful, influential man who advised the leaders of Mesopotamia. However, Nebuchadnezzar was a hard man to serve. He was mercurial at best. He vacillated between bizarre displays of arrogance and amazing proclamations of humility, acknowledging the power fo the true God. The jealousy and betrayal of his colleagues led Daniel to the lion’s den. Over the decades of service he was given great visions of God’s future for the Jewish people. (Daniel 1-12)
In the school of faith each of us receives a customized curriculum
After Jesus predicted Peter’s crucifixion, Peter asked about the future of the Apostle John. Jesus told Peter that John’s future was not his concern. Jesus gave him the advice that is for all who follow Jesus in any era, “Follow me.” (John 21:15-25)
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