Hello, and how is the New Year going for you so far? Are you keeping up with your goals and the decisions you’ve made? I’m trying.
I thought it would be a good idea to read through the Minor Prophets of the Bible this year. There are twelve of them.
Have you ever read the book Habakkuk (ha buh cook) in the Old Testament?
It’s an excellent study for any one of us who might be wondering, where is God? Why isn’t he seeing what I’m going through and doing something about it?
It’s three short chapters and a gem of a book.
Let me share what I’ve learned and encourage you to open your Bible and study independently.
First, this book is a dialogue between Habakkuk and God. A Prophet’s main role was to make known the word of God to the people and nations often calling people to turn their back on sin, repent and come back to God. However, Habakkuk’s role was a bit different.
Habakkuk, in some ways, reminds me of the book of Job because Job challenged God’s justice, and God replied.
In chapter one, Habakkuk says, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?”
Do you ever feel like that? Here begins his verbal wrestling.
When things are not looking so good in the world or your life, you may feel tempted to say, Lord, do you see? Are you listening? How long are you going to let this happen?
Habakkuk finds himself in this situation and asks why God allows evil to exist.
If you, God, are Sovereign, then why do wicked people seem to thrive?
Habakkuk really laments over the dark and evil world. He believes God isn’t concerned. Can you relate?
Isaiah 55:6-11 (ESV)
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways. Declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but to water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the Sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; It shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and it shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
God always has a plan. And we humans struggle to understand it.
Habakkuk wasn’t in a good place. There was a lot of evil, injustice, and idolatry in the world. (it sounds like our world today, doesn’t it)?
The Jewish people were in rebellion against God.
So, God would use the Babylonians (their enemies) as an instrument of correction to spank the people he loved. (I can almost hear someone shouting. What, that’s not fair!)
Habakkuk didn’t like that answer either.
He questions God again. Do you mean to tell me you’re going to use wicked people to correct a people more righteous than they are?
Verse 12- “Are you not from everlasting O Lord my God my Holy One?”
I believe in asking God the hard questions. He holds the answers. I also realize God is not obligated to answer how I want him to or how I think He should.
It’s okay to ask God questions. He can handle them. Through the Bible, many of His children ask why?
God doesn’t directly answer Habakkuk when he raises the second question, not in the story here.
But In Chapter 2, God does tell Habakkuk how to live when he doesn’t understand.
Life is full of unanswered questions. At the end of the day, we can torment ourselves by asking the why repeatedly. Or we can believe that God is inherently good and choose to trust him when we don’t understand.
Chapter 2:2-4 (nutshell version)
And the Lord answered me:
“But the righteous shall live by his faith.“
God is telling Habakkuk:
I know you don’t understand what I’m doing, but you can trust me.
The faith we exercise when we trust God to be our Savior is the same kind of faith we need to have every day.
When bad things happen in life or in the world, and we question God, why? Remember, “The Just shall live by faith.”
God is saying to Habakkuk, and to you and I,
Because you don’t understand or can’t fix what’s happening, lean on Me. Press into Me, and I will show you how to walk through this.
Things in life won’t always have a simple explanation. You don’t have to like what’s going on. But you must trust the Lord. He is on the throne.
Chapter 2:20 “But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
Habakkuk moves from questioning God to trusting Him. I know that God is seated on the throne in heaven, and I need to be quiet and trust Him.
In Psalm 5:11, David goes from trusting God to rejoicing in the Lord.
In chapter 3, Habakkuk finally lets his heart remember that God is unwavering, trustworthy, and true. He recalls that God has always been faithful to him, and Habakkuk begins to Praise God. (I can feel the relief)
That is my heart’s desire.
When life doesn’t make sense, I’m sure I will want to know why. But I want to avoid getting stuck in the why. I want to move forward and trust the Lord God Almighty through it all. And then, to really surrender, I want to Praise Him.
We don’t have to rejoice in our circumstances. We get to rejoice in the God who will take us through it. God wants us to be equip when we walk through life. So dive into the Word. Meditate on the promises of God.
Verse 17-19 is like the crescendo of the book.
17. “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, 18. yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19. God the Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on high places.”
I’m praying that in your struggle whatever it might be, you allow God into the wrestling. Trusting him through the waiting and with everything in your breath worship him with praise for all that He has already done and will do in you through this season. And remember, The righteous shall live by faith.
Waiting for His return,