Habakkuk, a book for all ages

certaintyThe Book of Habakkuk is really a book for all ages. Composed in the late 7th century BC, the eighth book of the 12 minor prophets of the Old Testament scriptures; it deals with the proliferation of unchecked evil in the world.

Just three short chapters, the book begins with the prophet Habakkuk, from whom the book derives its name, complaining to God of the rampant injustice he witnesses. It troubles him. He questions why God doesn’t do anything about the evil and injustice. In a particularly poignant but otherwise despairing opening remark he declares:

The law is weak and useless, and justice is never done. Evil people get the better of the righteous, and so justice is perverted.

The first chapter opens and closes with such despairing, questioning remarks.

But then in the second, middle chapter, God begins to answer Habakkuk and basically tells him that the ultimate fate of the unjust is that they reap the very injustices they have sown. And, in contrast to Habakkuk’s rather negative closing remarks of the first, this second chapter ends with the Lord declaring:

But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.

With the precision akin to a laser beam piercing darkness, this verse illuminates with such clear promise of power and certainty.  He reminds Habakkuk of Who really is in control: It’s as if the Lord is saying, ‘Heh, after all is said and done, I’m in control here, so why sweat it?’

And then in the 3rd and final chapter is recorded Habakkuk’s’ prayer, which opens with the following statement:

O Lord, I have heard of what you have done,  and I am filled with awe. Now do again in our times  the great deeds you used to do. Be merciful, even when you are angry.

Habakkuk wants God to do some of the great miracles that he’s heard about of old.  And as he continues to pray it seems as if The Spirit takes over completely and Habakkuk can only remind himself of, or be reminded of, the tremendous things God has always done, the victories He has always wrought, on behalf of those righteous in his eyes (His children of faith). Habbakuk is emboldened because of this and declares:

 I hear all this, and I tremble;  my lips quiver with fear. My body goes limp,  and my feet stumble  beneath me. I will quietly wait for the time to come  when God will punish those who attack us.

 In other words, he’s taken it to the Lord; he’s gotten past all that troubled him in heart, mind and spirit. And instead of wrestling further with these things in his own strength and intellect, he’s come to the place of ‘quiet waiting’, which is really faith, and shifted his focus on to the Lord and trusts the Lord to work and bring about His will in the situation.

This is the place we all need to come to in prayer, this time of  ‘I will quietly wait…’ The things we are going through, the things that trouble and upset us, that destroy our peace, etc., we need to bring them to the Lord, commit them to God, and then come to this state of ‘quiet waiting’. We are no longer troubled by our difficulties and concerns. We have that inner peace of knowing that God has heard our prayers, that He’s taken them into Himself and that He in turn is working on our behalf. Remember, that quietness is a sign of faith; this quietness of a spirit hushed before the certainty of a triumphant God. It’s all a spiritual thing but will manifest itself in physical results.

And then, we too, along with Habakkuk and others of his great men and woman of faith can declare with the same certainty in out times of concern:

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall 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, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. [Habakkuk 3: 17-19]

 

A mini studies article from Through the Bible in 52 Weeks
Copyright © 2015 by John Hislop

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