We’re studying Habakkuk together on Sunday mornings here at GCR and we’ve started at the very beginning — a very good place to start. Except that the first chapter of Habakkuk is tough reading. It’s the prophet’s prayer to the Lord and it’s not very nice. It questions God. It complains to God. The prayer argues with God and even accuses God of wrongdoing. Habakkuk details the violence and injustice in the land. How can you just stand there, God, and not do anything? The prophet explains to God that because of all the wickedness and strife, the law is paralyzed and justice is perverted. Get off your throne, Lord, and do something!
The Lord answers Habakkuk by telling him things are about to go from bad to worse. The Lord is about to raise up the worst, most evil people on the planet to ride in and punish the Israelites. He paints an awful picture.
Habakkuk’s complaint continues. But listen to the faith in his lament in 1:12.
“O, Lord. are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One…” You are the eternal God, Habakkuk says. You are my God and I have no other.
“We will not die.” Despite all the evidence to the contrary, despite even what God himself is telling the prophet, Habakkuk is hanging on with a white-knuckle-death-grip to God’s promises that his people will never die.
“O, Rock.” I don’t understand any of this, Habakkuk prays. I don’t agree with what you’re doing. It seems unfair, it seems wrong. I can’t see it. I don’t get it. But, Lord, Rock, my trust is in you. My faith is in you.
God tells Habakkuk things are about to get really bad. But the prophet makes it clear he will go nowhere else for his answers. He will seek no one else to protect him or save him. This is a total and complete dependence on God and God alone to do what’s best. Total dependence. Complete faith. A faith that goes well beyond any evidence or proof for it. Facing exile, starvation, and slavery, Habakkuk continues to trust our God.
God’s reply to Habakkuk’s complaints affirms that the Lord is still very much in control. All of it, no matter how evil and wrong and unfair and chaotic it seems, all of it is being controlled by our God.
1:5 – “I am going to do something.” God says, there’s a plan.
1:6 – “I am raising up the Babylonians.” This is going somewhere. And I’m the one doing it.
1:5 – “…in your days.” There is a time frame. God says, it’s all on my schedule.
2:3 – “The revelation awaits an appointed time.” It’s happening exactly when I want it to happen.
Everything that is happening in our world, everything that is happening in your world right now, is subject to and bound up with the Kingdom of God. Things happen for a reason — God’s reason. And we don’t always have to understand what God is doing. We don’t always see it. And we don’t need to.
Ask the questions. Wrestle with the Lord. Accuse him. Argue with him. Bring to him all your fears and uncertainties and pains. But never doubt his supreme love for you and his divine justice. He is trustworthy. And he is faithful.