“Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” ~ Habakkuk 1:4
Despite his frustration with what he perceives as God’s inaction/unresponsiveness (Habakkuk 1:2-3), Habakkuk provides us with keen insight into the challenge facing Believers (“the righteous”) in a society consisting mostly of Unbelievers (“the wicked”). Specifically, Habakkuk reveals that societies decline morally when the righteous are isolated (“for the wicked doth compass about the righteous”).
When the righteous are isolated, God’s law becomes ineffectual/useless as a standard (“the law is slacked”) and wrong judgment (discretion/measure) replaces righteous judgment in the public collective mindset (judgment: the process of forming an opinion or evaluation by discerning and comparing). In other words, in Habakkuk’s day, there were not enough righteous people left in Judah to work together to transform it: The country was weak spiritually because there were not enough righteous men to form a network to make it strong.
Jesus, just before His crucifixion, gave His disciples the blueprint for success in carrying on His ministry. One key feature of the blueprint was avoiding isolation:
“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” ~ Matthew 18:19-20
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are…
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:11, 21, 22 and 23)
Jesus tells us (Matthew 18:19-20, above) that His presence is assured wherever two or three (NOT just one) are gathered in His name; AND His power is made available whenever two (NOT just one) on earth agree on a mutual need to accomplish God’s will and purpose—see Matthew 6:9-10, James 4:3. In other words, strength lies not in our numbers, strength lies in our UNITY.
The importance of unity was further emphasized when, in a single prayer, Jesus prays FIVE times (John 17:11, 21, 22 and 23, above) that His disciples would be divinely knit together in unity: NOT left on their own as isolated individuals. And this was crucial so that the world of Unbelievers into which they were about to be thrust, would BELIEVE in Jesus the Son of God sent to save the world—i.e., that wrong-judgment (unbelief) would be replaced by right-judgment (belief).
Simply put, when Believers stay together, pray together, gather together and work together then Believers will thrive, remain strong and deliver right judgment (God’s message of redemption through Jesus).
Otherwise, when Believers are isolated—when “the wicked doth compass about the righteous”—then our societies experience moral and spiritual decline and wrong judgment becomes pervasive, endemic.
To be clear, unity of Believers does not guarantee the worlds salvation. However, it does assure that there is a definite source of Truth in the world (i.e., that God’s Law is not “slacked”) AND that right judgment (the Gospel) goes forth.
So let us who Believe in God, the God of the Bible, let us stay together, pray together, gather together and work together so that with Jesus in our presence we can be empowered by Him to accomplish His will here on earth and declare His truth by our UNITY.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” ~ Hebrews 10:25