Habakkuk – written at a time when wickedness had the upper hand. Habakkuk was troubled by two things in particular – why God allows evil to exist and how God could use a sinful nation Babylon to punish Judah. God answers with a vision of himself – an insight that allowed Habakuk to live through the dark days with determination and strength. The basic message is the sovereignty of God, the fact that he is in ultimate control of all nations and that we need to trust him not doubt.
God, I’ve heard what our ancestors say about you,
and I’m stopped in my tracks, down on my knees.
Do among us what you did among them.
Work among us as you worked among them.
And as you bring judgment, as you surely must,
A prayer that has echoed down the ages – in times of trouble, where wickedness has the upper hand – come and do something Lord…
Skies are blazing with his splendor,
his praises sounding through the earth,
His cloud-brightness like dawn, exploding, spreading,
forked-lightning shooting from his hand—
what power hidden in that fist!
Plague marches before him,
pestilence at his heels!
He stops. He shakes Earth.
He looks around. Nations tremble.
The age-old mountains fall to pieces;
ancient hills collapse like a spent balloon.
The paths God takes are older
than the oldest mountains and hills.
He is the Lord – a recurring theme through much of the Old Testament prophets – God is in control, God makes the ultimate final decisions, God is looking for those he can work with…
Even today that same message is true. The very fact that God used Babylon to destroy Judah shows us that God is God and he can do what he wants! He won’t always fit into our pattern, our ideas, our wishes – he will do what he needs to do.
If life is hard, times are troubled – hang on to the fact that God is God! If the world situation looks bleak (another shooting, terrorism, wars, unrest, tragedy) then pray the prayer above – do among us what you did in the past. Rejoice that God is in control (and maybe with some of the things highlighted in recent years – from celebrities to politicians, car companies to banks – he is bringing to light hidden evil and setting things right?)
Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I’m singing joyful praise to God.
I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I’m king of the mountain!