Recently I came across this lesser known and appreciated book of the Old Testament. I had not myself ever truly read it but I received a prompting to have a look at it. Which I did and upon reading it gained a genuine appreciation for it.
Habbakuk from what brief research I have done on him was a minor prophet and possibly a temple musician during the reign of Jehoiakim (from 609-598 BCE.) This is when the Babylonians were growing in power.
The main interchange in this book is of how a man openly questions the wisdom of God asking why He allows such problems and horrible things to happen to His people? In the first chapter we read in verses 12-17:
"LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die.
You, LORD, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?"
Reading the pleas all through this book and the responses that God sent back to His servant made me feel as if I too could relate to this prophet. Nowadays when we look around and see the violence that happens on a daily basis. Plus we see so many people getting wealthy off doing questionable things. The parts where he mentions how the wicked enjoy the luxuries and continue to succeed while many don't. Plus the part where he speaks of the treacherous wrong doing that abounded caught my heart.
I realize that Habakkuk comes across initially as indignant and demanding but I feel each of us have had those "moments" when we too have searched God for understanding.
Though it's not quite on the level of Habbakkuk's, I can myself recall a hissy fit I threw when I was 16 over wanting to join a Church. How the Lord dealt with my searchings shows the same level of mercy and compassion that He displayed to Habakkuk when he too stood upset and indignant towards The Lord.
I had been myself patiently waiting for years to join a church that I had grown to love. However, my mom couldn't sign the permission slip for me to join as the sect she belonged to had threatened to expel her if she did.
On a "fleshly level" I felt that it was so wrong as I felt that I had the right to worship however I wanted.
I also didn't like how the leaders within her sect were over-stepping personal boundaries with me and dictating even my being able to attend the Church. Especially since I was not even a member of their sect and had not attended in years.
When I was able to finally win that battle to attend, the right to join seemed almost futile. Finally during a meeting I attended, which was held during the week for the youth and happened about a month after I started attending Church, I sat and listened while 3 teenagers (younger than myself) be asked about how they were faring with their families and friends since they were about to be baptized.
The teens all shrugged and said basically "aehhh". Now at this time it had taken me months to even get to the point of being able to attend. Plus I was enduring a lot of crap from people about my choice plus dealing with this sect also. After listening to all this at the meeting, I was rather upset and ended up having a rather vocal and lengthy hissy fit talk with God.
I remember to this day how He handled me as He said "To be silent before the Lord and wait for Him" (Psalm 37:7 click to read)Then He gave me a verse from the Bible at Matthew 25:23 which reads : "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"
I grew quiet and sure enough in a matter of 4 days my mom allowed me to be baptised in secrecy.
The interchanges between Habbakkuk and God are so timeless and faith affirming. God's responses to him show such wisdom and mercy. My favorite response can be found throughout chapter 2 of the book the last line is so important, for God urged silence, saying "But oh! God is in His holy Temple! Quiet everyone—a holy silence. Listen!"
A verse found at Habbakkuk 2:4 is referenced several times by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:17 Galatians 3:11 and the essence of the verse can be found also at Hebrews 10:37,38
As you read further into this great book you will begin to learn, that the true theme of Habakkuk, is growing from a sense of perplexity and doubt, to one of absolute trust in God.
It is a journey we all take. In the end God pulls us through as His Holiness and mercy reveals itself even more in our lives and in the world around us.
Be still and trust. God has it.
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