Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Habakkuk - part 2


What’s Habakkuk’s next complaint? He cannot believe that the most Holy God would look at, let alone use, the evil Babylonians to punish Israel. Habakkuk is incredulous and waits for the Lord to answer him.

In Chapter 2 God gives his answer.  He points out the 5 things bad people (bad nations) do: thievery (verse 6), dishonesty (verse 9), murder (verse 12), drunkenness (verse 15) and idolatry (verse 18). There’s a sermon in each one of these. Babylon is guilty of these things and God will eventually punish them, too. He says that someone will destroy Babylon. In verse 5 we read, ‘wine will destroy Babylon’. Read the book of Daniel and you’ll find out that this really happened, about 70 years later.

God may use bad people, but be in no doubt that He makes sure that they will get their punishment at some point. It always happens because God is in control.

Chapter 3 is Habakkuk’s prayer or psalm, complete with musical direction as you can read in verses 1 and 19. I especially like verse 2 (NIV):

 2 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.

Habakkuk expresses a strong faith in God despite the adverse situation. In the rest of the chapter he sings of the great events of 800 years before when God led them out of Egypt. He remembers the plagues and pestilences that God used to punish the Egyptians. I think he has grasped the concept, which is that God will do what God reasons to be righteous and just at the exact time that He, in His infinite wisdom, deems to be the right time.

Finally, Habakkuk sees that, although he (and we) may question God’s actions and timing, he (and we) must be patient and, in all things, praise God. If things are bad for us (verse 17) we should still rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in God, or, as written in verse 18 of The Message translation:

I'm singing joyful praise to God.
   I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God's Rule to prevailAmen.