For the Sake of the Gospel

Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days, which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. —Habakkuk 1:5

This fearful pronouncement of the coming invasion and conquest by the Chaldeans was a forewarning that should have brought about the repentance of the nation Israel. The children of Israel had become infatuated by materialism and had lost all concern for the law of God. Nevertheless, Habakkuk was perplexed at the Lord’s use of pagan nations to judge His sinful yet chosen people.

The term Chaldeans is generally a synonym for the Babylonians, but I believe the use of the term is also specific and intentional. A great warning for the church today can be found in this verse. We too are faced with a very materialistic society, and the message of materialism has crept into the church far more than most of us realize. Sacrifice and suffering for the sake of the gospel have largely been pushed out of many of today’s sermons and replaced with messages very similar to those of the self-help crowd that infatuates the world.

But the term Chaldeans has more meaning than as a mere identifier of those from the Babylonian Empire. When used to describe an individual, it meant an “astrologer.” Today, not only are we deluged with the message of materialism and prosperity, but also many people seek the stars, or astrology, for guidance. Many of these people do indeed receive messages from the spiritual realm, but it’s not from the “good guys.” Astrology is not a means through which God communicates. God speaks by His Spirit and through His Word; He does not communicate through mediums, spiritists, or taro-card readers.

The warning in Habakkuk is as relevant today as it was in Israel’s. God’s people must not be bound by materialism or astrology; those things lead only to the bondage of pagan nations. Friend, don’t check your horoscope today, but look to the Word of God for direction. Following the stars and the words of spiritists will only lead you to a place that will leave you utterly astounded and unable to believe God. The devil is behind materialism and astrology, and to follow them is to play into his hands. Leave these things alone—they are not of the Lord!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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