Are you not from everlasting,
O Lord, my God, my Holy One?
We will not die.
Habakkuk was a contemporary prophet of Jeremiah’s, and he asks the questions that we all want to ask of God. “Why do You let wickedness and unrighteousness continue? Why do You choose to use the wicked to oppress and discipline Your people? How can You look at the evil that is going on in our world, and not do something about it?” (1:12-13)
Habakkuk sees a vision that God intends to bring the Chaldeans against Judah to punish and discipline His children. What he can’t understand is that the Chaldeans are even more wicked than Israel. It seems odd that God would permit them to destroy, oppress, and persecute His own. Thankfully, God answers. One Bible scholar summed it up this way: Evil, wherever it is found, always bears within it the seeds of its own destruction. It doesn’t matter where Israel’s punishment comes from; it is inevitable, but if the oppressors themselves are evil—as the Babylonians are—then they too will face their own destruction. Only in righteousness is there life; sin always brings death.
The discipline of God can have two effects on us. Without faith, we respond in righteous indignation, questioning God’s purposes as He deals with our sin. This response causes us to fall away. Habakkuk teaches us a better way as he shows us some key beliefs that will not only sustain our faith in God, but deepen and refine our faith under the Father’s loving hand of chastisement and correction.
We must believe and live with an eternal perspective.
Habakkuk sees the destruction coming, and it’s frightening. The enemy is fierce, and they are coming with violence to devour the land. If Habakkuk looked at the physical circumstances right in front of him, he would lose heart, but he has an eternal perspective. God is eternal; He is everlasting, and His people are hidden in Him. He says it simply, as a matter of fact: We will not die (1:12). Of course, many will die physically, but Habakkuk sees from an eternal perspective. We will not die.
We must trust in God’s justice and leave the timing to Him.
Whatever evil is perpetrated on God’s people will be turned back onto the oppressors. The cup in the Lord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will come upon your glory (2:16b). Where they disgrace others, they will be disgraced. Where they shed blood, their blood will be shed. Where they have done violence, violence will be done to them. Where they have plundered, they will be plundered. Habakkuk is told to wait because God’s justice and righteousness will one day prevail. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail (2:3).
We must believe in God’s glorious reign over earth.
When wickedness seems to be winning it’s easy to lose faith. Habakkuk encourages us to look beyond what we can see and trust in what we know. For the earth WILL be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (2:14) There is a future reign of Christ yet to come – a visible, present kingdom with Jesus ruling from Jerusalem. That is enough for hope, but there’s more. But the Lord IS in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him (2:20). God is ruling right now. Men may have the illusion they are in control, as the Chaldeans thought they were responsible for the conquest of Judah, but man is under God’s authority, sovereignty and rule today; they just choose not to acknowledge it.
At the end of his prophecy, Habakkuk writes a beautiful prayer to the Lord that reads like a psalm – full of emotion and passion. He reminds us of all that God has done in the past for Israel and the mighty display of His power that gives us hope.
As we look around at the world today, we see that evil and wickedness grows more and more prevalent. God’s people are persecuted, oppressed and many are dying for their faith even now. It often looks like evil is winning. Like Habakkuk, we “must wait quietly for the day of distress,” confident in the same power that saved us to overcome the darkness around us.
Are you discouraged? Do you feel hopeless? Does it seem things will never change, but only get worse? Take heart. Remind yourself of all that God did to bring you to salvation and how He has changed your life. Trust in His timing to redeem all things.
Give me faith like Habakkuk. May we keep our eyes on eternity, trusting God’s perfect timing to render justice to all the ungodly who stand in defiance against Him. Let us live in the knowledge that He rules and reigns with perfect wisdom.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 – Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds feet, and makes me walk on my high places.
Dear Father, We trust in Your perfect justice. Whether we are on the receiving end of Your hand of discipline, or simply experiencing the effects of our enemy’s influence in an ungodly and fallen world, we want to keep our eyes on You. Give us faith like Habakkuk. We have heard the report about You! Oh Lord, in wrath remember mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Today’s blog is an excerpt from our new devotional, Give Me A Faith Like That. You can order your copy here.
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