Have you ever skipped over a book because, even though you weren’t quite sure what it was, you just knew there was nothing exciting there? You knew it was probably quite dull and so glossed over it or ignored it all together. But then — have you ever forced yourself to read it anyway (perhaps to prove to others how inane it really is) only to find that it totally blew you away?
Yeah. That’s me this morning with Habakkuk. Yes, Habakkuk!
It’s just three short chapters. Go ahead. Read it. It’s pretty awesome. (Click here for the full text online.)
Why is it so cool? Because, in spite of being written nearly 2600 years ago, it speaks directly to questions we have today. And the answers reverberate God. I’m awestruck.
Here’s a clip from the introductory notes in one of my study Bibles:
“If God exists, why do the wicked so often prosper?” This question is commonly asked by those who are sensitive to social justice. The prophet Habakkuk was quite sympathetic to such concerns.
Habakkuk preached during the last days of Judah, before its fall to Babylon in 586 B.C. He foresaw the impending doom and was troubled by two things: why God allowed the people of Judah to sin and how God could use a sinful nation like Babylon to punish Judah.
Sound familiar? Um, yeah.
Last week as I contemplated the atonement provided by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, the victory offered through His resurrection, I looked around at our world, the tumultuous climate we endure and wondered: Why does God tarry? Why does He wait so long?
From my finite perspective, things just keep getting worse. And I hate it. I long for peace. I crave holiness and righteousness and life without the curse. If He truly desires that none should perish, then why doesn’t He rescue us now? Why must we persist in this tainted world? Why can’t we just be swept up in glorified bodies and plopped in the perfect New Earth now?
Ah, but let us read that verse in context.
“But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
“Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation.”
— 2 Peter 3:8-9,14-15
I want Eden back, but not at the expense of salvation.
Let’s return to Habakkuk. What does this itty-bitty book from the Old Testament have to say about this?
“Desperate for answers, Habakkuk boldly and confidently took his complaints directly to God. God answers Habakkuk’s questions in this book, asserting that he will judge all people, but that righteousness will ultimately prevail. It may not happen immediately, but it will happen. This assurance, along with his glimpse of God’s sovereign rule, gave Habakkuk the courage and hope to trust in God’s plans regarding the dark days ahead.”
It may appear that evil is winning, that trials never cease, but God is Supreme. He is greater. He will win. And this little book is filled with that truth. It’s packed with visual poetry of His infinite power and the extreme lengths to which He will go to preserve and defend those who are His. It may not happen in our timing or in the way that we think it should, but it will happen. And it will be awesome.
“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
TALK TO ME. What makes you awestruck by God? Have you ever glossed over a part of Scripture only to later be struck by its deep significance? Tell me about it.