A Lesson from Habakkuk

Posted on September 21, 2013

(Note: I published this earlier today on my blog at www.smalltimepastor.com. However, I wanted to send it out via “Pastor’s Ponderings” as well, for those on the CLF mailing list who may not be subscribers to my blog.)

Do you get discouraged when you consider the state the world and our nation are in? Do you become bitter when you are oppressed and held back because you are striving to live for God, while unscrupulous and immoral people around you get rich and live in peace and happiness? Do you despair that the terrorists are flourishing, while law-abiding innocents get slaughtered?

The prophet Habakkuk saw his nation experiencing famine and being overrun by godless, evil hordes in the employ of the wicked empire of Babylon. His book in the Old Testament begins with a wail of sorrow and discouragement before God:

“How long, LORD, must I call for help and You do not listen, or cry out to You about violence and You do not save? Why do You force me to look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates. This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, HCSB)

God then explains that, though He is using this wicked nation to judge Israel, He will not forget His people or let the wicked go unpunished. Then He pronounces five woes that will come on Babylon in due time. His faith bolstered, Habakkuk is able to close his book with this confident declaration:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit 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 triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, HCSB)

While you may not have the incredible privilege of having God speaking to you directly and telling you exactly how He is going to deal with the specific issues you face, you do have access to His Word, which promises that God WILL reward His people and punish those who afflict them. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in your lifetime on planet earth, but He WILL do it!

“The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.” (2 Peter 2:9, HCSB)

“Therefore the wicked will not survive the judgment, and sinners will not be in the community of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.” (Psalm 1:5-6, HCSB)

If you are in Christ, though you can’t see it and can’t understand it, the victory is already won!

“In all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:37-39)

So instead of worrying and complaining, let’s take our cue from Habakkuk. To paraphrase for our times, let’s agree together:

“Though I lose my job and there is no food in the cupboards, though the economy tanks and my investments are lost, though the terrorists remain at large and my city is flooded, yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights, trusting Him no matter the circumstances!”

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