Wicked Success – Habakkuk 2:4; Esther 5:13
“Behold the fortified, his soul will never be settled within him; but the righteous will live with his faithfulness”
“… and all of this is worthless to me.”
The prophet Habakkuk opens his book with an outcry to God about the success of Nebuchadnezzar. Habakkuk cannot understand why God allows the wicked to succeed in their quest for more wealth and more power. Why does God allow these wicked men to crush the righteous and the innocent?
In response to Habakkuk’s quest for understanding God says: “Behold the fortified, his soul will never be settled within him; but the righteous will live with his faithfulness.” God is telling the prophet to look just a bit beneath the surface. A man like Nebuchadnezzar, who is constantly seeking to augment his power, to build a bigger and better fortress for himself, is a man who never lives. The very fact that they are so busy building their power base is a sign of weakness and want. People who feel secure don’t need to keep on acquiring new sources of power and strength. People who are happy are not obsessed with the work of obtaining more and more wealth. As much as these people amass strength, power and wealth they will always be confronted with another weakness, another want, another deficiency that they will need to overcome according to their scheme of life. This constant never-ending race leads to nowhere and doesn’t allow their souls to find peace within themselves.
The righteous, on the other hand, live in a different world. They live in the world of “emuna”; honesty, trust, faithfulness and loyalty to God. The righteous recognizes that what God did not allot to them in life will not help them. The righteous trusts that it is God who placed him in this world and will take care of his needs and wants. The righteous has a calling in life and he is faithful to that calling. And the calling of the righteous is to be loyal to the God of truth and kindness.
The righteous doesn’t spend all of his time building a fortress for protection. Such activity cannot rightly be considered “living”. The work of establishing a strength and protection is just a means of fending of a threat so that life can go one undisturbed. But what is life itself? Is the point of building one wall to be able to live another day so that I can build another wall?
The righteous are shepherded with their faithfulness in God (Psalm 37:3). They recognize that the Master of the universe guides every instant of their existence. They trust in Him for protection and they trust in Him for all of their needs and with God as their shepherd they never lack (Psalm 23:1). Every moment is a moment of life, a moment suffused with purpose and with meaning. The righteous see every step of life as part of a walk with God and with God at your side you will not falter (Psalm 16:8; Isaiah 41:10).
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal
Thank you, I was hoping you would jump in here, Concerning faith. My belief in g-d is in what he has done, what is in the bible and all that I see around me. My faith is shown in my actions/ my trust? You have a way of really packing a punch with your words. I need to read this over and over, this is very important to me.
I think you’re right, Larry, that faith is shown in actions and in trust. The way we let our hearts feel about God and the world is an important part of our faithfulness, and the actions we live in are an expression and often also a choice of that.
and even when trust is hard, when we really have a relationship with God, I believe that even clinging to hope in Him can be an expression of trust.
Is the ester 5:13 quote used as an example showing how someone doing well in life is never satisfied? The bible I use may not be a very good one.
Yes… Haman was given a very great honour, and he couldn’t even enjoy it because he experienced so much hatred and committed so much injustice towards Mordechai and his people. Qohelet also says (Ecclesiastes 4:1) that neither the oppressed nor the oppressors feel consoled.
I used that example to show how someone who thinks that happiness comes from controlling the world outside himself will never be happy
When I first read your article I panicked and thought have I missed understood completely the meaning of faith. I read some articles, some use the word faith, but I kept reading your article and notiiced you do not. You use “emuna”; honesty, trust, faithfulness and loyalty to God. Our focus should not be on what we think, but our focus shold be on our actions ? unlike christians who believe it is someone else who died for their sins.
In my understanding… Christians believe that you need to have a belief in Jesus before you can be right with God, and Jews don’t have anything like that. But still… faith in God, the thoughts and feelings, are important in the relationship. If you love someone wholeheartedly then what you think about them matters; in order to obey someone you need to have a belief about what they said. The heart and the actions are both important. But it’s different from the way it goes in Christianity.
OK I just asked the same question twice. jeeze
Not exactly! It’s good to see the same question from different perspectives I think, or a different focus… it allows it to become more deeply answered and understood, and remembered.
“And the calling of the righteous is to be loyal to the God of truth and kindness.”
…not only the Creator of reality, but creating it all with love and compassion.
I hope my two latest articles (“He Established Testimony” and “Faith and Works”) answer your questions – thanks for your participation in the discussion – as Annelise said – questions help us understand and remember
Reblogged this on 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources.
Very appropriate for this election cycle in America, whether that is the intent or not.
Thank you for posting this again. This time I would like to ask, did God answer as to why he allows these bad Men to crush the innocent?
Larry Not directly but all of us must die some day – but the truth that we live for can never be crushed 1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >