Behold, as for the proud one,
His soul is not right within him;
But the righteous will live by his faith.
– Habakkuk 2:4 NASB (emphasis added)
Habakkuk (usually pronounced huh-BACK-uck) is one of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament. (We’ve previously meditated on Micah 7:8 and Malachi 4:2, both of which are also counted among these twelve.)
The prophet Habakkuk, by drawing this contrast between pride and faith, was painting a picture of what God did – and didn’t – want to see in a human being. Some people might think that what God wants to see in human beings is goodness. That’s true, but it is a goodness built upon a faith in God’s goodness.
The reason Satan succeeded in tempting Eve in the beginning was that he led her to doubt God’s goodness. She wasn’t looking to do something she wasn’t supposed to be doing. She wasn’t out to defy God. It was only after Satan convinced her that God’s word could not be trusted that she yielded to what seemed right in her own eyes.
God’s instruction had been unmistakably clear: Adam and Eve could eat from any tree of the garden of Eden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – on penalty of death. Satan first tried to confuse Eve about what God had actually said, then contradicted God’s warning about the penalty, and then cast doubt on God’s motives for giving the warning in the first place. Her convictions shaken, Eve decided to go with what she thought best – that is, pride in her own judgment rather than faith in God’s judgment. Adam joined right in.
This was the first sin – the foundational breakdown in creation that has led to all the evil we see in the world today. It was creatures choosing autonomy over trust in their Creator. Note that God had given them great liberty. Who knows how many fruit trees were in that garden! Yet they decided that it was the forbidden one they had to have.
Autonomy or trust; pride or faith. That is the choice that was before Adam and Eve, and that is the choice before us their descendants. Since whatever goodness we possess is of limited supply, let us trust in the only source of infinite goodness.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus, I choose to trust You today – not doubt You. Help me think through how my attitude needs to change in order to be consistent with this choice…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.