Unlike other prophets around the time Israel was attacked by the Babylonians, Habakkuk does not directly warn of the coming destruction, instead he enters into a dialogue with God, complaining about the evil around him, petitioning God and seeking his perspective on the situation.
Bible Reading: Habakkuk 1:2-4, 2:3, 3:17-19
How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
The revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
As we look around our land and our world, with its violence and injustice, we might feel like Habakkuk, that God is not listening, and we may want to say to him ‘How long, Lord?’ If that is so, there are many encouragements we can take from Habakkuk.
Firstly we can be encouraged that it is OK to question God in this way, as we see in many of the psalms. The key here is our heart attitude. Habakkuk was not actually challenging the integrity of God; he was seeking understanding and knowledge. God is not accountable to us, and his ways are above our ways.
As Habakkuk prays, he discerns from God that the revelation will come, but in God’s time. ‘Though it linger, it will certainly come.’ God is aware of the situation, and he will answer in his time. God is Sovereign, and his timings are often different to ours. Are you waiting for God to answer you? Be encouraged, he has heard you, and he will answer in his time.
Petitioning God, as Habakkuk did, brought him to a greater understanding of the sovereignty of God. It also brought him to a place of faith and to a place of praise. Even though everything around his seemed to be failing; the figs, the grapes, the grain, the olives, the cattle and the sheep, yet Habakkuk would rejoice because God is his Saviour and God gives him strength.
Whatever difficulties there are in this world around us, or in our individual lives, let us bring them to God in prayer, let us seek knowledge and understanding whilst acknowledging the sovereignty of God. And let us rejoice because Jesus is our Saviour, and the Holy Spirit is our strength.
Lord, as we seek justice and peace in this troubled world,
Thank you that you are sovereign, and that you will answer in your time.
Hind’s Feet - Cloud