Reflections on Habakkuk

I’m reading through the Bible in a year, and every month I post about what I’ve read. Other posts this month are on 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Micah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

Habakkuk is an unusual prophet in that he talks to God, and not to people. The prophet looks at the lamentable state of things and asks God, “Why don’t you do something?” The Lord’s reply is: “I am about to do something.” He was going to send the Babylonians against His own people.

Habakkuk is horrified, and rightly so. How could a holy God use a nation more wicked than Judah to punish them? Yahweh tells him, in essence, to wait and see. God will triumph over evil, as seen in the five woes of chapter 2. God will be glorified (2:14). Those who believe in Him will live by faith (2:4). And all the earth should be silent before the Lord (2:20).

Having heard all this, Habakkuk stops complaining and prays. He asks that the Lord would remember mercy (incidentally the only request the prophet makes here).  Habakkuk recalls God’s deeds in the days of the Exodus: if He’s done it before, He could do it again. The prophet trusts in God’s goodness, resolving two things. One, to wait patiently (3:16). Two, to rejoice in the Lord (3:18). In so doing, he wasn’t ignoring reality—verse 17 shows us that. He was claiming the Lord as his God and strength (3:17-18). Habakkuk’s name means ‘one who embraces/clings’, and he clung to Yahweh.

If we cast ourselves on His mercy, Habakkuk’s God can be our God today.

Source: Vaughan Roberts

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