If you are beginning to assess the spiritual condition of your city you may at first feel overwhelmed. You want to understand those elements that have brought both cursing and blessing to your geographic location so you can better target your prayer efforts. But, where to start? How about starting with the "WOES"?
Habakkuk was a gatekeeper prophet in the Old Testament with whom God shared some surprising news. The Lord was going to use the fierce and brutal Chaldeans to punish disobedient Judah. Yet in judgment there was also comfort to God's people. The Chaldeans themselves would be judged on the basis of their own deeds. God spoke five "woes" to them based on their national character.
"Woe to him who increases what is not his--" (Habakkuk 2:6). GREED.
"Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house that he may set his nest on high." (Verse 9) PRIDE.
"Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed" (Verse 12) INJUSTICE/MURDER
"Woe to you who make your neighbors drink, who mix in your venom even to make them drunk so as to look on their nakedness!" (Verse 15) INHUMANITY/CRUELTY
"Woe to him who says to a piece of wood, 'Awake!'" (Verse 19) IDOLATRY
The word "WOE" is an interjection of distress pronounced in the face of disaster or in view of coming judgment. To the extent that any city is built upon these things - Greed, Pride, Injustice/Murder, Inhumanity/Cruelty, and Idolatry -- that city stands deserving of judgments just as the Chaldeans. Therefore, you might start by examining your own city in light of these things.
What are people being arrested for in your town? How does the crime rate break down? Is there a lot of corruption which might speak to greed? How's your murder rate? What about the incidence of abused and neglected children or old people? How about cruelty to animals? Are you in an affluent community that isolates itself and keeps its nose high in the air? That's pride! How does "New Age" in all of its forms fare in your town? Watch for idolatry.
All these indicators are readily available in your daily newspaper or your local newscast. Much of the information is Public Record. You don't have to dig very deep to get a sense of which "woes" plague your land. Each "woe" you discover has a root and that is where research into your city's history will come into play.
Once uncovered, the light exposes the darkness and now your intercession is targeted to hit the center of the bull's eye. If you are called as a gatekeeper to your city as Habakkuk was to his, start guarding the doors to your city. YOU control what comes in and goes out. You say if witchcraft has to leave. You say if the door is open to blessings, good marriages and good education.
If we want our land to be transformed we must stand in the watchtower like Habakkuk. We must take up the watchman post before it is too late. Woe to us if we don't!
"On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem (or Toledo or San Francisco or Pittsburg or Charlotte…) a praise in the earth." Isaiah 62:6
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