The conclusion of the Old Testament prophetic book Habakkuk has been preached on many times. Even by me. It’s about Habakkuk’s faith standing tall and firm despite economic collapse from barren fig-trees, missing sheep and cattle, down-the-drain olive harvests along with wheat and barley crops going belly up. Life downsizes almost to a goose egg as the grim reaper knocks at their front door.
The prophet’s reaction? Habakkuk 3:18–‘…yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation’. Now that’s faith. No cursing at God or waving an angry fist in His face. No. Habakkuk’s faith triumphs. How would I do under similar circumstances? And you? I’m feeling a twinge of guilt knowing how wishy-washy and out of gas my faith can be. Only me?
But there’s more to this story. Check it out for yourself. Habakkuk 3–a psalm, a song of praise to God, which lifts high the Lord’s name as creator and sustainer, who stands with Israel through the toughest times. Nevertheless, Habakkuk accepts that victory will have to wait. Just around the corner yet not any time soon.
For the Babylonians lurk and skulk around that bend, and they’re not a happy bunch until they wipe out almost everyone and everything in their path (not such ancient history in light of today’s warring tragedies). Destruction and violence will plague God’s people. Habakkuk questions his Lord –‘…why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?’ (Hab.1:13). Why Lord? Why? Include my voice in Habakkuk’s mournful choir.
What’s happened to his faith? To be strong and firm? Like an immovable rock? Again, there’s more going on here. For Habakkuk gets right in God’s face. Bold as brass. Layered with chutzpah. Do you know why? Do you? Habakkuk knows that God can take it. Whatever questions he has, the Lord will hear him out. They possess a vital and spirited relationship. Full of faith. A no-holds-barred bond that lays it out all on the line. More confidence than cowering. No hiding of true feelings with the One who knows all anyway. Our loving heavenly Father wants to hear from His own. No matter what.
There’s more to this story. Read again that ending in chapter 3. Habakkuk knows that no matter what troubles God’s people face, they’re never alone. Not only them. Can you not hear His reassuring words? That abandonment is not God’s plan for His own? Can I hear my Lord Jesus’ loving words as found in the four Gospels of my Bible? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But, then again, He’s not done with me yet. Or with you. That you can hang your hat on! No matter what.
Lord Jesus, increase my faith and trust. Amen.