Posted by: St. Mark Lutheran Church | October 14, 2010

A Taste of the Minor Prophets: Habbakuk

Habakkuk is fascinating.  It’s made up of three parts:  1) two questions – or complaints – leveled by Habakkuk against the LORD; 2) the LORD’s two replies; and, finally, 3) an incredible prayer lifted up by Habakkuk.

The complaint?  First, “Um, LORD, things are messed up here in Israel.  Your kings aren’t protecting your people.  Your prophets aren’t faithful to your Word.  Injustice and unfairness is the rule of the day” (1:1-4).

God’s answer, “I’m sending the Babylonians” (1:5-11).  This leads to complain two:, “LORD, You cannot tolerate wrong.  You are aware that the Babylonians are even worse aren’t you?  That they are godless pagans” (1:12-2:1)?

God’s answer:  “I know.  Trust me, Habakkuk.  I am from everlasting to everlasting.  To me a thousand years are like a day.  If you can’t see my plan or understand my grace, it’s not because there is no plan and there is no grace, it’s because in sin you cannot understand my will.  I tell you today, it is not sight, it is faith that rules.  The righteous will live by his faith.  And the Babylonians will not go unpunished” (2:2-20).

Don’t we complain?  “Lord, things are terrible!  People turn away from Christianity!  People advocate disgusting morality!  Governments are more aggressively anti-Christian!  The world is falling apart!”  And these forces and enemies of the Church are replaced by more fearful things – Communism falls, Islam rises!  But God says, “Be patient!  I don’t tolerate wickedness!  I punish and I destroy!  I have a plan!  You’ve seen it – you’ve seen Christ!  Cling to that and know that everything else I have said comes true – new heavens, new earth, peace, joy, safety, everlasting life!”  And so we pray with Habakkuk:  “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy….  Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (3:2, 17-18).

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