“God, where are you? Why are you doing this, allowing this pain to happen? I thought you loved me. I thought you were in control.” Have you ever thought these things, prayed these prayers? I certainly have before. Sometimes life blindsides you with brute force, situations shake you and leave you anxious and hurting. The prophet Habakkuk, a messenger to the southern kingdom of Judah, wrestled with this. His people were committing egregious sin, worshiping false idols and even sacrificing their own children to them! As seen before, his book is comprised of his two honest complaints, God’s responses, and his joyous prayer. God was angry and he would bring judgment upon his people.
We pick up in chapter three where the prophet responds to his covenant God. Overwhelmed with praise, he proclaims, “O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (v. 2). Then he recalls God’s past faithfulness to Israel: deliverance from Egypt, the Red Sea rescue, and the conquest of the Promised Land (vv. 3-15). The transformed prophet declares, “His were the everlasting ways” in verse 6. The same God who rescued His people in days past will surely do so again. The Lord’s purpose was this: “You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed” (v. 13). By crushing His enemies, the Lord brought salvation.
Then, the stark reality of it all settled in. The Babylonian judgment was coming swiftly. His response: “I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us” (v. 16). Then, with joy, he rejoices! Calling God’s people to worship, he ends with expectant hope. “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength” (v. 19). Grim circumstances were divine plans in disguise. Our faithful God desires our full trust and confidence. Habakkuk is a powerful model for us to follow.
Ultimately, the Messiah, coming deliverer, would bring restoration and redemption. This was future hope for present pain. First, Judah was judged for their sin, then they were rescued by their God. Today, we trust in Christ, who bore God’s wrath for our sin. His judgment brings us salvation (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10). Just as Judah was delivered from bondage, Christ delivers us from our present sins and struggles. Our response is joyous praise! Do you trust in him for your needs today?
- Do you believe Christ has delivered you from your sins? If so, do you believe he is in control of your circumstances? Is fear keeping you from trusting God?
This week’s devotional was written by Steve Sering. He leads worship with Circle City Canvas Church in Indianapolis and is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.