“What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20
Recently, the pandemic of COVID-19 has captured all the world. This crisis rivals any disasters we can recount. Short of World War II, nothing has throttled mankind. At the reading of this devotion, most are sheltered at home in hopes that the virus will not invade their domain. Some nations report hundreds of people each day dying from this new illness that was never mentioned in public until last year.
With the disease has come the hording of toilet paper, batteries, and food. There is also a report of dramatic increases of gun sales in the United States. Businesses are closed, jobs are threatened, investments seem unproductive. Even churches and other religious organizations are closed. Worship is now confined to electronic connections joining others in worship from a distance so infection will not be the product of “Christian fellowship.”
Many debate when this might end. Some say within a few months. Some question if effects will last for years. While vaccinations are being developed for the illness, solutions to the side-effects seem slower in development.
One discussion that seems to be ignored, is the topic of threat we feel as the sources of safety and security we trusted are failing to be reliable. We have trusted in our economics to make our future secure. We have trusted in our military to maintain security at the border. We have trusted in our scientific community to create solutions to biological threats. We have trusted in our community systems to provide necessities and luxuries that make life “fun” and “entertaining.” Now, we see all that we have trusted in life is unreliable.
The reason these areas fail is because they have been falsely trusted to be our hope and security. God has been replaced by what we have created. We have believed we can solve whatever problems we face, without God. We have assumed the future is in our control. We have assumed that we can survive a threat by hording enough toilet paper. We have forgotten that we never were in control.
The prophet, Habakkuk, reminds us, “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” What does this tell us? First, the One who made us is still in control. It is times like this that remind us how much we need His control over our ineptness. Secondly, we need to heed what He says about these days and our way of living. It will be at his command that the solution to better living will be found. And one can assume that the solution will be founded on a reliance of God more than the creations of man. Now is a time to make God our priority and focus in life.
Dr. John Temple is chaplain of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office. From the Shepherd’s Heart is published Fridays in The Meridian Star.