Focal Passage: Habakkuk 3:1-19
Many Christian people live somewhere between faith and
despair. When unfortunate circumstances occur the tendency is to ask, “Why,
God?” Despair leads many to the question, “If God is truly good and loving, why
would he allow (fill in the blank) to happen?” The heart of such questioning
is, “Can God be trusted?”
When our expectations of God don’t match our experience of
Him, we are bound to have questions. Habakkuk does. Habakkuk is a frustrated
prophet who is surrounded by violence, injustice, strife, and evil. It seems
God is uncaring, just sitting on the sidelines watching it happen. Habakkuk
cries out, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”
(Habakkuk 1:2). He struggles to harmonize that God is good, society is bad, and
God is silent.
It can be scary to question God. We fear that we might end
up with our faith destroyed. It is in questioning, however, that we learn and
grow. The answer we receive, though, may be different from the one we seek.
God answers Habakkuk’s prayer by raising up the Babylonians
to punish Israel for her sin. Infuriated again, Habakkuk questions if this is
the sort of thing a holy God should do. God assures him that His actions will
be just. Israel will be punished for her sin, as will the Babylonians.
The basis of our faith must be grounded in the continued
faithfulness of God. In chapter three, Habakkuk prays for God’s merciful
intervention based on His character as it has been revealed in history.
For many, history is a dull subject. But seen from the right
perspective, it is far from being so. For those with eyes to see, history is
full of God and His presence in the world.
Habakkuk poetically portrays the Lord as a divine warrior,
taking a stand against His enemies and delivering His people. The prophet
recalls the exodus from Egypt and the entry into the Promised Land, events the
people often recalled, inspiring hope in dark days. In verses 16-19, Habakkuk
indicates his readiness to wait in hope and even to rejoice in God during the
dark days. We must submit ourselves to the Lord’s timing. By waiting patiently,
we honor God’s sovereignty.
At the end of the book, the problems are still there.
Destruction and violence are present (1:3). The arrogant and greedy still rule
(2:5). The poor and abused still suffer (2:6-7). The world has not yet been
changed. But Habakkuk has. In faith, he knows that no matter what things look
like, God will set things right.