The Rea and the Knockoff
The Real and the Knockoff
Habakkuk 2:18-20, 3:16-19
“What profit is in the idol when its maker has carved it” 2:18
Knockoffs are always appealing. They look like the real thing but without the cost. So, people buy them, knowing they are not real but hoping they will provide the same quality as the genuine item. However, it does not take long to reveal the knockoffs for what they are: Cheap imitations that do have the quality, value, and sustainability of the real McCoy. When push comes to shove, the knocks are nothing more than landfill fodder.
In Chapter 2:18-20, Habakkuk points out the worthlessness of false religions. Every religion not grounded in the revelation and truth of the God of Israel is a spiritual knockoff that, in the end, has no value. They are not the self-disclosure of God but the product and invention of man’s own thinking. Look closely at all the other religions that propagate the world, and you will find they are centered around the teaching of a single individual who claims to be God or the sole individual who has insight into the things of God. Islam follows Mohammed. Buddhism adheres to the teaching of Buddha. Hinduism claims they are many gods, but in the end, you are to pick one teacher to be your spiritual guide, one who claims to be god. But the God of the Bible is different, for the focus is not upon men who claim to be God, a claim that would result in their death rather than their worship. The only central figure who was a man and claimed to be God was the person of Jesus. He substantiated his claim not just by his teaching but by overcoming death and walking out of the grave, an event witnessed by more than 500 (see 1 Cor. 15). It was not the teaching that affirmed the truthfulness of Christ; it was his victory over death. This feat no one else has achieved. Thus, all the religions created by man ultimately are caricatures and charlatans. Ultimately, they remain silent before the God of the Universe rules the world in holiness (2:20).
However, the real test is in the pudding. The true test of faith is not what people say and do when sitting in an easy chair. The true test comes when adversity strikes, when fear grips the soul, and we face the reality of death. In chapter 3, Habakkuk describes the coming judgment of God. It is a time of severe anguish and sorrow. It is in times of trial and difficulty that faith is proven. After describing the adversity that was coming upon Israel, Habakkuk affirms his faith. Instead of cowering in fear, he will trust in the salvation of the living God. Habakkuk recognizes that because of their sin, distress was coming in the form of famine and distress (vs. 17). Yet even amid the trials, he will “exalt in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he has made my feet like hinds’ feet and makes me walk on my high places” (vs. 18-19).
A knockoff product looks like the real thing when it is first purchased. But when the test of time and adversity comes, it is revealed to be a cheap fake. So, it is in regard to our faith. Through adversity, we learn that God’s love, presence, and care for us is authentic and genuine. We learn that he is present and gives us strength to stand firm.