Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=HABAKKUK%201-3&version=NIV;NLT;MSG
Read this in your preferred version or for this book try something different. I’ve selected three different versions for you to pick from above, but try one you do not use often and ASK God to open the eyes of your heart anew so something you have never noticed before JUMPS off the page INTO your heart and mind. It’s a wonderful thing when that happens!! Be EXPECTANT in KNOWING God will show you something very special today. <<<smile>>>
CHAPTER 1 — Habakkuk is clearly upset, confused, discouraged, and concerned about everything that is going on around him. Hummmmmmmm…….maybe like we are in our current situations today (terrorism, natural disasters, evil people doing evil things, insolvable diseases, job loss, economic downturns, and the list could go on and on). However, what does Habakkuk do with his concerns, and worries? He takes them DIRECTLY to GOD. He does not gossip, murmur, or fall asleep in his tears. He does not pass go or collect $200.00…..he goes DIRECTLY TO GOD, his CREATOR. Habakkuk is not full of fear expressing his questions. WHY??? Because He EXPECTS God to answer Him. I KNOW I have mentioned to you a book I have just finished reading called “The Circle Maker” by Mark Battman. However, Battman encourages his readers to think deeply about our personal, one on one, relationship with the Lord. He focuses on how BIG our God is and HOW much our God DESIRES to HEAR our PRAYERS and HOW MUCH HE DESIRES to answer our PRAYERS. Yes, it is most important that our prayers line up with God’s Word. However, how often do we ask once and then move on. Do we REALLY EXPECT God to answer our prayers (even it if it is not the answer we expected)? Do we pray ONCE and move on to the next thing disappointed and rejected OR do we PRAY with EXPECTATION…KNOWING that GOD WILL ANSWER? PRAYING through things is not something you hear people talk about today, but it is soooooo important. I have friends who are true prayer warriors and they do NOT STOP praying until God reveals HIS answer. SO, DO YOU EXPECT to get an actual answer when looking for guidance, seeking God’s plan, or have a question? Habakkuk did, so guess what? The Lord answered him. And…what God will do for one of HIS children HE will do for all of us. HE WILL answer our prayers …. in HIS timing …. with HIS answer.
God’s first answer horrified Habakkuk. How could God use such bad people as a tool to punish his own people when He himself was perfect and Holy? It did not make sense!
CHAPTER 2 — Verse 1 begins with “I will stand at my watch…” The watchman and watchtower, often used by the prophets to SHOW an ATTITUDE of EXPECTATION. Although Habakkuk was still horrified that God would punish HIS own people with such evil people, he climbs the watchtower. Habakkuk is SHOWING his attitude of EXPECTATION that God would answer his questions and concerns. In my mind, I had this picture of a small child going to bed filled with HOPE and EXPECTATION about watching his/her dreams unfold. Habakkuk climbs his watchtower and waits in HOPE and EXPECTATION to HEAR from HIS BIG GOD. HIS BIG GOD who had lead HIS people across the Jordan River during its fullest time on DRY land. HIS BIG GOD who had brought quail in from over 50 miles away from water into the desert for HIS people. HIS BIG GOD who had answered Elisha’s prayers that his servant could see all the angels surrounding them ready to fight for them sitting on chariots of fire. I could go on about our BIG OUR GOD is and HOW HE truly desires to answer our prayers in a BIG way, but I’m sure you get the point. Habakkuk was sitting on the watchtower WAITING with EXPECTATION for HIS BIG GOD to answer HIM in a BIG WAY.
And GOD does answer Habakkuk!!! GOD says Patience! I am in control, everything will occur in my perfect timing according to my perfect plan! Then in verse 2 it says “But the Righteous will live by Faith!” WOW. Living by faith means living with all your Trust in HIM, even when things don’t look so good, even when the doctor’s report isn’t what you expected, even when you have lost your main source of income, even when we are surrounded by an increasing number of natural disasters, even when a dream of ours has been shattered, our hearts are broken, and our souls are grieving……TRUST HIM. This is SUCH a powerful piece of God’s Word that it is used in Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38.
CHAPTER 3 — The Lord tells Habakkuk to WRITE down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so others would KNOW. God KNEW everything that was going on around Habakkuk, just as HE does with us today. And in God’s timing HE will make things right.
Habakkuk goes through a list of many things God did….revealing God’s character and ends with the fact that God is his strength.
You’ve heard the saying that big things come in small packages and Habakkuk is such a small book yet has such a BIG message. The book Habakkuk is not about Habakkuk, it is about God. He appears in His Glory in Chapter 3, as He always does when one truly calls out to Him. Things to take away from in this short little 3 chapter book:
God is ultimately in control of the universe and that includes us. However, we have FREE WILL to make our own CHOICES. God is SUCH a gentleman that HE will NEVER take that CHOICE away…..even if it means we CHOOSE NOT to CHOOSE, BELIEVE and TRUST HIM. God can and WILL use ALL things. He is working out His own plan in His own time.
God DESIRES that we trust HIM wholeheartedly knowing we often cannot see the big picture (like Habakkuk) but God knows it all.
God DESIRES we ASK HIM for the desires of our heart, to bring it to HIM in prayer and HE DESIRES to answer our prayers.
God does not promise a life without trouble, or a life that is fair. However, HE does promise us that we can trust Him to be with us in ALL THINGS. Just as Habakkuk realized, we can KNOW… God is our strength in ALL things!!
May God make HIMSELF known to you in a BIG way today … I pray in a way as never before.
Sharing HIS love,
The author of the book is none other than Habakkuk himself and was written between 612 and 589 B.C.
The book was written to Judah and God’s people everywhere.
A recap on history would be helpful to understand the setting in which Habakkuk was written. Israel had fallen 100+ years prior to this, to the then world power — Assyria. NOW….Assyria had fallen, just as Nahum prophesied. Egypt and Babylon were both contending for THE spot as THE World Power. In 605 B.C., at the Battle of Carchemish, Babylon became THE World Power as it defeated Egypt. During that battle the wonderful King Josiah of Judah was also killed. NOW everyone fell under the authority of Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar. As we have read, Babylon attacked Judah three times before it completely felt Babylon’s destructive power.
Habakkuk is written as a dialogue between him and The Lord. He asks God the REALLY hard questions, just like you and I do when our world seems all upside down. He asks questions like: “Why, God why?” “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Why do good people suffer?” “Why are people starving and others have too much?” “Why do natural disasters occur and hurt so many people?” “Where is God in the hurt, pain, destruction, cancer, diseases, and so many things we simply can not explain?” Habakkuk knew that Judah would fall to this rising power (Babylon). This was very troubling for Habakkuk who was a worker in the temple as a Levitical Caretaker. Habakkuk questioned how could God let a wicked nation like Babylon triumph over a nation like Judah? What good could come of that?? Why does God seem indifferent in the face of evil? Why do evil people seem to go unpunished? This book in many ways makes me think of Job’s questions to God during all he went through. We learned in Job that in the light of God’s love and HIS complete character, his questions did not need answering because God was the answer. God was ALL He needed, ALL HE would ever need. Job’s questions did not change….his attitude in light of our awesome God changed.
This book is a classic case of one’s attitude during tough times. We will witness Habakkuk go from being troubled to finding great strength in the Lord. His situation did not change but through a conversation with God – Habakkuk’s attitude changed. God will always give us what we need during times of trouble – HIMSELF!! God is always more than enough. Precious things may be taken away from us during our lifetime, but God’s provisions are always more than we could ever think to ask…..HIS provisions are always on time and always exactly what we need…..more than what we need.
Habakkuk concluded his book with a prayer of triumph. Unlike Job, God answered his questions and Habakkuk was given a new understanding of God’s power and love. Habakkuk REJOICES in who God is and in what He will do!!
“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 go on the heights.” (3:18-19)
Sharing HIS love,