Written Word

Habakkuk – Part 2

Those who have mistreated the poor, stolen from the weak, engaged in extortion and practiced idolatry will not escape God’s judgement. “The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you” is the message addressed to Israel. (Habakkuk 2:16) Earlier Habakkuk expressed frustration with God for apparently doing nothing, for delaying in bringing judgement, but he has since learned that “the righteous live by faith”. (Habakkuk 2:4)

The Voice of Faith

Having taken a panoramic view of God’s dealing with Israel, the prophet is impressed. He now wants God to display that same awesome power once again; to rise up and vindicate his holy name in the midst of his enemies. “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:1) The judgement is imminent, “Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3) Though the coming judgement fills him with fear, the prophet has made God his strength and his refuge and will “live by faith”. This faith is expressed in words that have been a source of encouragement for many of God’s people through the ages: “Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 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…” (Habakkuk 3:16-19) Habakkuk is not ignoring the consequences of this coming judgement with its disruption to every area of life; he is aware of that, but he will trust in a holy and righteous God whose ways are perfect.

The Relevance of Habakkuk

Habakkuk asked questions of God and the answers he received are the same answers we receive to our questions. We ask:

  • Why do ungodly people prosper?
  • Is there any advantage in being upright?
  • Where is the God of divine justice when evil is taking place?
  • If God is so powerful why doesn’t he do something?
  • How do we maintain our faith when God seems silent?
  • Are there any certainties we can hold to?
  • Can God be trusted?

God’s answer to us is always the same: “live by faith”. Trust me, God says, for I cannot be anything other than faithful. Even though life may become complicated, throwing up problems and obstacles in our path, we deal with them the same way Habakkuk dealt with his – by trusting God.

What Habakkuk Teaches Us About God

  1. God’s plans move according to his schedule and are not subject to our agenda.
  2. No matter how chaotic life becomes – whether in our family, our church or our nation – God is in control.
  3. We live in a sinful world with the consequences of sin all about us. In the midst of such chaos, we must “live by faith”, trusting God every step of the way.
  4. God can be trusted.