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