Habakkuk pleaded with God for a shift in the direction he saw the nation of Israel heading. He wanted his people to return to holy living, towards righteousness and to turn away from evil, idolatrous practices. Today, we find ourselves in a similar situation. We live in a sinful world full of political unrest, division, materialism, and idolatry. What can we learn from this Old Testament Prophet?
Habakkuk is one of the 12 minor prophets in the Old Testament. Most of the minor prophets preached to the nation of Israel, rebuking them and pleading with them to turn from their sin and idolatry and to turn back to God.
Habakkuk is unique as he does not address the people of Israel, but speaks directly to God. In Chapter 1 Habakkuk laments to God asking Him, “how can you be good when there is so much evil in the world?” (1:3-4)
God responds to Habakkuk, that in his sovereignty, he will use these evil nations, particularly the Chaldeans, to bring justice to the nation of Israel. Habakkuk then brings his second lament to God; the Chaldeans are no more righteous than the Israelites! (1:12-2:1)
Chapter 2 begins with God telling Habakkuk to write this prophecy down on tablets. He tells him that the judgment is coming but gives no timeline, just the command to wait. God then pronounces judgement on the Chaldeans in the form of five woes, because of their unjust economics of the rich profiting from the poor, the use of slave-labour, irresponsible leaders, and rampant idolatry. (2:6-20)
God then assures Habakkuk that righteousness will prevail, and eventually all of the sinful nations will be destroyed.
Later on in chapter 3, the book of Habakkuk closes with God’s assurance that the righteous will prevail and a hopeful future awaits those who trust in God, and his plan for the salvation of the world. The book of Habakkuk closes with him bringing praise to the God of his salvation who brings him hope in light of all the dark circumstances around him. (3:1-19)
I don’t know about you, but I have felt a real shift in the way I view the world in light of the events of the last few years. I must confess many times over the years I have put my hope in the comforts of the North American lifestyle. My sense of safety and trust that I put in our government and the nations around us has shifted in light of our current events. Whether it was the pandemic, the war in Ukraine or any other of the many stories in our 24-hour news cycle, I have found myself reflecting on the sinfulness and brokenness of the world. There is no hope here in this world. It will not be found in a change in government, education, medicine, technology, or anything else this world has to offer. The postmodern world with all its bells and whistles, is still the same broken world Habakkuk pleaded with God to change all those years ago. Our hope now, can only be found in the Gospel! But as we wait on God, just as Habakkuk did, we fix our eyes and hearts on God and His Son, Jesus that he sent to save us and give us real hope; we can only have peace in this life as we eagerly anticipate the one to come.
Heavenly Father, Lord we come to you in our brokenness, our sinfulness, our selfishness and ask for your forgiveness. Help us to meditate on your word and set our minds on you and not the current situation. Help us to let go of our idols and put our hope in you and the future you have planned for us. Give us strength to lift our eyes to you and trust in your promises as we put our hope in you.
In Jesus name, Amen.