Nestled between Nahum and Zephaniah, there is a little book called Habakkuk. It’s only three chapters long (56 verses), but very powerful. My dad once called it “everyone’s favorite minor prophet,” but it’s actually my favorite!
Our church just finished a four week series on Habakkuk. I’d like to share three things I learned with you.
1. There’s conflict between what we see happening in the world and our beliefs about God’s character.
When God told Habakkuk He was going to use the Chaldeans (the Babylonians) to judge Israel, the prophet was shocked. How could God use an evil and wicked nation to judge His people? Habakkuk said:
Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor.
Why do You look with favor
On those who deal treacherously [the Chaldeans]?
Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?
But God’s ways are often mysterious to us. We can’t always see how He’s working. But He still is.
Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
Or as His counselor has informed Him?
With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?
And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge
And informed Him of the way of understanding?
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the LORD.
2. God welcomes our questions.
Never once in the book of Habakkuk is the prophet rebuked for questioning what God was doing. In fact, the name “Habakkuk” actually means “to wrestle.”
The prophet never tells God what He should be doing, he simply asks why God is doing what He is because of what Habakkuk knew of His character. Habakkuk wasn’t trying to take control, he was seeking to understand what God was doing.
3. Remember God’s faithfulness in times past.
The Bible isn’t just a book of stories, it’s a record of God’s work. When we worry that things won’t work out for our good, we need only to open the Scriptures to remember what God has done.
Chapter three of Habakkuk is a song written by the prophet, remembering what God had done for Israel in the past.
We can also look to our own lives for examples of God’s work. We’ve all experienced it–God’s providence, answered prayer, His blessing upon us, etc.
Finally, my favorite passage in Habakkuk are the closing verses:
Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
and there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ [type of mountain deer] feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
All Scripture references taken from NASB.