Today’s Reading: Habakkuk, Psalm 12 & 22
My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help? – Psalm 22:1
Approximately five years after Zephaniah starting prophesying to God’s people, God called Habakkuk to do the same. As we read the book of Habakkuk, we are listening in on a conversation between the prophet and his God. He dares to ask God tough questions – Why does God allow injustice? Does He even care? Why does He tolerate evil? Is God really in control?
These verses minister to my soul for I have asked some of these same questions over before. Last year my mother was in ICU, dealing with intense pain and fighting for her life. I found myself crying out to God, wondering if my mother was feeling abandoned by God as she groaned for help. But God is sovereign and He moved in response to our prayers. He did not abandon her. Yet, if my mother had died a year ago, I would also stand confident in my faith and say God did not abandon her.
In the same way, God saw the honest heart of the prophet and took time to give him answers – answers that show our God is sovereign!
How long, O Lord, must I call for help?
But you do not listen!
“Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save.
Must I forever see these evil deeds?
Why must I watch all this misery?
Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence.
I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.
The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts.
The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted. – Habakkuk 1:2-4
Have you ever prayed a similar prayer? I definitely have. Watching the daily news can be aggravating and I ask God where He is at in all of it. I foolishly ask Him to see all of the sorrow and injustice around the world, as if He isn’t already looking. I tell Him my heart is breaking, as if His heart isn’t even more broken than mine. I ask Him where He is and if He is listening, as if God doesn’t see all and know all and love more than I am capable of.
“Look around at the nations; look and be amazed!
For I AM DOING SOMETHING in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” – Habakkuk 1:5
God’s answer: Look around! There is evidence of my movement all around! I am never without a plan. Don’t try to fix the world around you of your own strength – trust in ME. Look for ME and seek MY plan. Be willing to do what I ask you, instead of depending on yourself. Be a part of MY plan instead of forcing your own.
Habakkuk was struggling with God’s plan. God was using the growing strength of the Babylonian nation to punish His people. The Babylonians were taking over much of the region, including Ninevah and the Assyrian nation. This idolatrous nation was growing in power and pressing in on the nation of Judah. With a sincere heart, Habakkuk made his struggles known to God and asked God for answers.
“O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal – surely you do not plan to wipe us out?
O Lord, our Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us, to punish us for our many sins.
But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil. Will you wink at their treachery?
Should you be silent while the wicked swallow up people more righteous than they?
Are we only fish to be caught and killed? Are we only sea creatures that have no leader?
Must we be strung up on their hooks and caught in their nets while they rejoice and celebrate?
Then they will worship their nets and burn incense in front of them.
‘These nets are the gods who have made us rich!’
Will you let them get away with this forever?
Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?
I will climb up on my watchtower and stand at my guardpost.
There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.” – Habakkuk 1:12-2:1
God’s answer: My judgment may seem slow in coming but wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. Those they are taken captive will one day taunt and mock them as they get what they deserve (2:3,6). “For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.” – Habakkuk 2:14
Habakkuk responds in song, praising God and praying for mercy for God’s people. Let’s use his song in Habakkuk 3 as we lift our voices to our Sovereign Lord this morning:
Lord, we have heard all about you and we are filled with awe by your amazing works.
In our time of deepest need, help us again just as you have in years past.
In your anger, remember your mercy.
We see YOU moving!!!
Your brilliant splendor fills the heavens and the earth is filled with your praise.
Your coming is as brilliant as the sunrise.
Rays of light flash from your hands, where your awesome power is hidden.
You are the Eternal One!
Was it in anger that you struck the rivers and parted the sea?
Were you displeased with them?
No, you were sending your chariots of salvation!
Lord, may your action save us and save our nation instead of destroying us for our sins.
Oh God, we trust in you!
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines;
Even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren;
Even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. – Habakkuk 3:17-19
The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. – Psalm 12:6