August 20. Habakkuk 1-3
These three chapters are full of powerful imagery that illustrates a complete journey of the soul from raw fear, anger, disgust, frustration, and doubt – and ending with instructions to sing these words of praise, confidence, strength, hope, and faith, all with stringed instruments.
1:2 O Lord, how long must I call for help before you will listen? I shout to you in vain; there is no answer. “Help! Murder!” I cry, but no one comes to save. 3 Must I forever see this sin and sadness all around me? Wherever I look I see oppression and bribery and men who love to argue and to fight. 4 The law is not enforced, and there is no justice given in the courts, for the wicked far outnumber the righteous, and bribes and trickery prevail.
3:1 This is the prayer of triumph that Habakkuk sang before the Lord:
3:17 Even though the fig trees are all destroyed, and there is neither blossom left nor fruit; though the olive crops all fail, and the fields lie barren; even if the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength; he will give me the speed of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.
What a shift in perspective and spirit! What made the change? There are some clues in these three chapters, that if acknowledged and followed can help you when your outlook and world is better described with the word pictures of complaining found in chapter 1, rather than the rejoicing of chapter 3.
So what can you look for to help you when all seems unjust, evil, desperate and hopeless? First notice verse 1 of chapter 1 (this is a great comforting truth), God is always trying to get your attention, pursues you through circumstances, conversations, a song, a message, a verse. The first thing is to know that He is seeking you out. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to seek and save those which are lost (Luke 19:10) and He keeps pursuing us beyond our salvation.
Next, comes your part – call for help. It is okay to unload it all on God’s shoulders. He can handle it. Do not be afraid to let Him know exactly how you are feeling and how you see things shaping up.
2:1 I will climb my watchtower now and wait to see what answer God will give to my complaint.
Wait… wait and listen again for God’s response, remember verse one? He is always seeking you out, reaching out to you, ready to talk to you. Listen for Him. He has a message of hope and triumph. It may not look like what you want (read the end of chapter three again), but you can trust Him. He has a perfect plan.