Ever feel like hashing things out with God? Today’s political and cultural climate sends me to my knees, so I was looking forward to my class on Old Testament Prophets. They have much to say to 21st century America.
One prophet stands out to me. His book is a favorite.
Small book. One of the minor prophets—minor referring to length rather than importance.
Habakkuk’s book is unusual among the Prophets because he hashed an issue out with God—and then recorded it for our benefit (and for those in Judah at the time).
Habakkuk began his conversation with God by pointing out the sin of his nation. He asked God when He was going to do something about it.
God answered He knew what was going on. He was bringing the Babylonians to deal with it.
Habakkuk flipped out. “The Babylonians? Are you kidding? They’re worse than we are.” (Veitenheimer paraphrase)
God assured Habakkuk the Babylonians would get what was coming to them, and in His reply to the prophet, God made two statements:
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)
“But the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.” (Hab. 2:20)
God is in control. These statements refocused the prophet and can refocus us as well.
Habakkuk ended with a prayer of praise. He remembered the great things God had done before. His holiness. His power. His might. The prophet understood judgment was coming at the hand of the Babylonians, but here’s how he finished:
I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
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 Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.
I’m not saying America in 2016 is in the same boat as Judah in the 600’s B.C., but I’m encouraged by several things:
- Engage: God did’t mind the dialogue. Habakkuk was respectful, and God answered his questions.
- Trust: Though Habakkuk wasn’t given the timing of his prophecy’s fulfillment, he learned to trust God as he waited.
- Look Up: Habakkuk recognized that what he saw with his eyes wasn’t the whole story. God had a plan and would strengthen the prophet come what may.
So when you’re tempted to worry, don’t. Trust Him and keep praying.
When Donald and Hillary dominate the news coverage, and you’re thinking, “Really?” take a deep breath. Trust Him and keep praying.
When the war on terror erupts in your backyard, pull your family close. Trust Him and keep praying.
Have you ever hashed things out with God?
What do you do when God doesn’t make sense? What’s your default?
Have you ever read the Old Testament Prophets?
Can you walk in peace in the midst of chaos?