I feel I can identify emotionally in some ways with Habakkuk, even though perhaps not fully with his world view, as he was not blessed and privileged, as I am, to know Jesus as his personal Saviour. Nevertheless, he had a close relationship with God and complained to Him, “How long shall I cry for help and you won’t hear?” He was distressed by his situation at the time, so much destruction, violence, injustice, corruption, strife and lawlessness in the land. He knew there was a righteous remnant of people who kept to God’s laws, but they were really suffering, because ‘the wicked surround the righteous’(Habbakuk 1:4).
After that, Habakkuk complained a second time to God about the wicked Babylonians ‘mercilessly killing nations’ (Habakkuk 1:17). He asked why evil seemed to go unpunished. He did receive an answer, as God spoke to him and told him punishment would eventually come to the Babylonians, but, as for the righteous, for now, they had to live by faith.
God’s timing was going to be perfect. ‘For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.’ It was a matter of waiting, trusting God and clinging to His promises, even in the darkest days. One day God’s glory would fill the whole earth and all idolatry would be proven to be futile, as God rules over all.
As Habakkuk poetically described God’s holiness and was in awe of His power to bring judgement, he wrote these words, ‘Before Him went pestilence and plague followed at His heels. He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations’ (Habakkuk 3:5-6). He prayed that God would be merciful, even though His anger had been justifiably provoked by the sinfulness of His people.
Habakkuk concluded that God would deliver His chosen people, after allowing them to suffer for a time from the consequences of their sinfulness. Their enemies would finally be punished for their evil. So, he finished his prophetic message with a song, intended to be sung by God’s people to the accompaniment of stringed instruments.
A long time ago I used to know a ‘chorus’ based upon this passage from Habakkuk 3:17-19 (in the King James Bible version), produced by a ministry called ‘Scripture in Song’. The words were:
‘Though the fig tree may not blossom and there be no fruit on the vine, the produce of the olive fail, and there be no fruit in the fields, though the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord. Yet will I rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation. God the Lord is my strength’.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, like Habakkuk, I come to You asking how long our present troubles will continue. I believe You are all powerful and always do what is right, even though I may not understand what You are doing. Please help me to rejoice in You and find my inner strength in You. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
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