A Difficult Word!
In recent blogs, we have been looking at the short book of Habakkuk and seeing what was taking place between the prophet Habakkuk and the Lord God of the universe. First, we saw Habakkuk’s complaint about the evilness that he saw and the wickedness of living in the land of Judah during this terrible time. Two weeks ago we looked at God telling Habakkuk that he was planning on using the Babylonians to judge Judah. Habakkuk’s response to God’s decision to use the Babylonians to chasten Judah is the core of the rest of his short prophecy. We read his response in Habakkuk 1- “O Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O Lord, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am able to give to this complaint.” (Hab.1:12,13;2:1 NIV). There are several interesting aspects of the character of God that Habakkuk reveals to us in this section of his complaint.
First of all, Habakkuk sees God as eternal. The word “everlasting” has to do with God’s relationship to time, God stands outside of time having neither beginning nor end, for a time as we understand it came into being at the fall of man. God himself dwells outside of time, and I believe Adam and Eve did as well until the fall. God of necessity has always existed. This was the grounds of Habakkuk’s hope and confidence because God has been Israel’s God from ancient times, and He has a covenant relationship with them that is an everlasting one. Habakkuk also states that God is “Holy”, and He must punish ungodliness where ever it is. His statement “my God” reflects his faith in a personal God, rather than the impersonal gods of the Babylonians. To be “Holy” is to be set apart, to be consecrated, and to be dedicated, it is the picture of being removed from the realm of the common and moved into the sphere of the sacred. The Old Testament stresses the importance of maintaining a distinction between that which is sacred and that which is secular. God’s words are His only credential that He is sharing with Habakkuk, but they are sufficient. God lays out before Habakkuk what He is about to do.
Habakkuk in this passage also sees God as his rock and that God is unchanging, He cannot endure or approve of the deeds of the wicked. Evil is the opposite of holiness God will eventually judge, that should stand as a warning for our nation. When it looks like the wicked are prevailing it’s good for us to remember these attributes of God. As we continue to look at Habakkuk, we will see that he struggles greatly with what God is telling him. And yet in the first verse of chapter 2, he says – “I will stand”, by this he is saying “I will wait and see what all this means”. Habakkuk is in the process of surrendering his will and he would wait on the watchtower as God revealed to him many remarkable words. In ancient times there were watchmen on the watchtower. It was a 24 hour a day job to guard against possible invasion and watch for messengers. Habakkuk is an honest seeker, not a dabbler in divine affairs. Habakkuk makes a wise decision to seek a fresh vision from God. The prophet stations himself deep in his spirit to await God’s answer to his inquiry. He assumed a humble attitude of heart and anticipation and watchfulness.
Habakkuk was expecting God to speak into his life. I think that is a very important expectation that we should have as we enter this new year of deep uncertainty. Are we willing to watch and wait? Many times there is nothing harder than to just wait on the Lord, but though Habakkuk was puzzled and needed perspective he didn’t complain to other people about God but took his concerns right to God himself. The secret of life is realized in the unseen part of our lives when God works and moves to teach us secret lessons about Himself. God reserves the right to be God. We tend to want to get God’s thinking in line with our thinking, instead of waiting for Him to reshape our thought lives. Do you have a secret place, a quiet place where you can escape the hustle and bustle of this fast-paced world to allow God to speak into your heart? The Lord Jesus Christ took frequent times for seclusion and quietness time and allowing God to speak into His life. I believe God wants to speak into our lives as He spoke into Habakkuk’s life. Are you listening for His still small voice and how God may be speaking into your life today?
In the King’s Service,
Pastor Rich Sivo