We are going to study a small book in the Old Testament that is very applicable for today. In these three chapters, we will see how a prophet is tired, like we are, with all the decay, greed, fighting, violence and pervert justice that surrounds him. We will study how he complains to God about it two times. We will also see how God replies by giving Habakkuk understanding which in turns causes him to pray.
In Habakkuk’s time, the Babylonians and the Assyrians were going at it. There was great unrest within Judah. There was an international crisis along with national corruption that revealed a new empire was on the horizon. You would think that Habakkuk was alive today. One thing is for sure, sin and evil have been around since the infraction occurred in the Garden with Adam and Eve. What we are experiencing today is nothing new under the sun.
Knowing this makes the Bible relevant for today. How God prepared Habakkuk for what lies ahead, He will encourage us in the same fashion. Who God was back then, He is the same today; see Hebrews 13:8. How the world operated back then is the same also. It is still sinful which makes it evil and upside down. It will be this way until Jesus returns to bring judgement upon His earth.
Before even studying this relevant book, let’s prepare ourselves. God strengthened Habakkuk’s heart and mind. In all his questions of why things are the way they are, Habakkuk finds that his whys are answered in a Who, the everlasting Who! He found his complaints and fears were resolved in confidence and faith. His worries turned to worship. His anguish became adoration, and terror turned into trust. God answered Him and tended to His heart.
Despite the fact that the evil around him won’t dissipate, Habakkuk found comfort and peace in God alone, along with courage to keep moving forward in faith.
Let’s allow God to tend to our fearful hearts in these dark days. Go ahead and read Habakkuk 1:1-11. We will study Habakkuk’s first complaint and see how God responded to Him.
What similarities do you see in Habakkuk’s complaints in verses 1-4 that are the same today? What may you be complaining about during such division and chaos over political corruption, racial injustice and a pandemic?
Habakkuk questions God on why He seems to not be listening. “Violence is everywhere,” he says! “Where are you God?” He is tired of watching all the misery. “Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence.” Do you question these things too?
Habakkuk also says that he is surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. Can you imagine what Habakkuk would think if he lived today with social media? He would probably pull his hair out!
Reread verse 4. This is exactly what is happening today. “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.” This is the wake up call that I believe God is wanting for His children. Christians are not walking righteously. Too many believers are acting worldly, like non-believers, and there is no distinction between the two. This gives evil the upper hand.
We must get serious with our faith and allow God to change us. Check out Jeremiah 31:11-14 and see what needs to take place within each of us. The Lord redeems a broken and repentant person. He will not redeem us until we allow ourselves to bow into this posture.
A broken and repentant person returns back to God. He comes home praising God. We are home when we are in His presence. God makes us radiant because of His good gifts. Life becomes like a watered garden where sorrow cannot reside. Hearts praise God with joy as He comforts them. He exchanges our sorrow for rejoicing in Him. We will feast on His good gifts. We live knowing that life is not about us.
A broken and repentant person will be filled restored, and made new by His presence and in His presence.
God tells Habakkuk to look around and be amazed! “For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” While we hope and desire for the good side of God, God reveals to Habakkuk what needs to happen to His stubborn children so they may become broken and repentant. God must prepare His children for what lies ahead for the world.
God is going to raise up an evil people to march across the earth and conquer lands. This isn’t quite the response that Habakkuk was hoping for nor would we hope for, but we forget (especially when life is comfortable and easy) that God is not our genie. He is not here to please us nor keep us happy. We forget God when we are successful in our own endeavors. We forget God in our self-sufficiency. We forget God when we enjoy the world more than Him.
Look at how God ends His reply, “But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god.”11 May we not fall prey to the evil one. He is out to deceive everyone, especially those who say they are Christians. We must be wise and alert, like a watchman in a high tower. We can never let down our guard.
Before the next lesson, spend time in His presence with His Word and allow God to reveal where you need to be broken. I was reminded this week in Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining and arguing.” What challenged me was the fact that I grumble within my mind, even if I don’t speak a word. Oh, how I need humility. We need humility as we make our way to heaven.
Be encouraged and be changed in these dark days for God is with us.