I really appreciate the short book of Habakkuk. This little-known prophet openly, but respectfully, questions God. And I, um, catch myself questioning God frequently. Yep. In fact, I realized this morning that I am trusting God with my sweet little kitten in surgery right now and with the government shutdown and economic craziness running rampant in our world, yet I am questioning Him about our own personal economic craziness and the sale of our house.
“O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, Violence! And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” ~ Habakkuk 1:2-4
“O LORD, how long?” How long shall I cry out to You, without an answer, without a tangible response? O LORD, how long?
But God is always near, and He does hear, and answer, in His time. Why is it so difficult to trust and wait, when I know in my heart that God’s plan is best?
Habakkuk cried out to God about the injustice and evil that was rampant among his people, God’s people. He was astounded by God’s answer.
” ‘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. They are terrible and dreadful; Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.’ ” ~ Habakkuk 1:5-7
The Chaldeans, or Babylonians, were wicked and cruel people, “more” wicked than the Hebrews. And God was going to use them to punish His chosen people? Why? Look at Habakkuk’s response.
“Are You not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he?…
I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected.” ~ Habakkuk 1:12-13, 2:1
Habakkuk questioned God once again, but then he prepared his heart to hear and listen to His answer, and to receive God’s correction. Wow.
When you and I question God, do we sit back with a ready heart to hear God’s response and to accept His correction? I know I need to work on this…
God gently explained and proclaimed to Habakkuk that He had a plan, that it was good and necessary, and that it included hope and restoration for His children.
And then Habakkuk acknowledged God’s ways were best and praised God in a beautiful psalm. I will just share the last verses.
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls– Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments.” ~ Habakkuk 3:17-19
Am I prepared to “rejoice in the LORD”, to take “joy in the God of my salvation”, to look to Him to be “my strength”, to submit to His will, even when my “fields yield no food”?
Dear God, forgive me, cleanse and renew my heart, and help me to trust you in everything. And may Your praises be on my lips!