WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19
SCRIPTURE: Habakkuk 1
Author: Jeremy Witt
Before I forget, small groups start back tonight. If you are able, would love for you to join a group to dive together into becoming more like Jesus together.
Just so that we have a timeline to get the whole perspective, let me point out some details. Jeremiah is a contemporary and began his ministry in 627 BC. Habakkuk starts around 612 BC. Jerusalem will completely fall in 586 BC. King Josiah (a good and faithful king) dies in 609 BC. Daniel is taken into Babylonian captivity in 605 BC. Ezekiel the prophet is a captive in Babylon in 597 BC. Zedekiah is king in the same year. Habakkuk’s ministry ended in 589 BC.
In chapter one, Habakkuk calls out to God, “Why don’t you answer my prayers? Violence is all over. Don’t you see what is happening?” (1:2-4) God responds in verse 5-11 with that God will use Babylon to punish Judah for its unfaithfulness. Paraphrased, God says, “I am going to use someone you wouldn’t believe even if I told you (which He was doing right then). They love to take captives, they trust in their military strength, and they are proud of them. They are evil, and I am going to use them to call you (Judah) back to me.”
Have you ever felt like Habakkuk? You have prayed. You have tried to be faithful. Yes, you have messed up and sinned, but you have tried. You wanted to be faithful. You are trying to seek God. He seems distant and silent. You are tired of seeing others hurt. It is something we can relate to. Our world is falling apart, especially in 2020. We do not know who we can trust. We do not know what is truth and what is covered up in politics and lies. It is an election year, and this is just old already!
When God responds, He takes Habakkuk to a place that Habakkuk never imagined. He tells Habakkuk that He will use another country (Babylon) to bring discipline to the Jewish people. He did this with Assyria on Israel who were taken into captivity. Judah was more faithful than Israel (northern kingdom) and they knew it. In fact, they thought that they wouldn’t be taken into captivity despite what the prophets had been saying. They trusted in their goodness. They trusted in the Temple rather than trusting in the One whom the Temple represented. They trusted in the Law rather than the One who gave the Law. We have to be careful not to trust in the things of God over God Himself. We must be careful not to trust in the ministry of Jesus but to trust in Jesus Himself!
In verses 12-2:1, Habakkuk cries out, (paraphrased) “Hold on! Wait! You can’t do that, because they are evil and You are holy! How can you send more evil people against us? They trust in their own power and don’t trust in You! I am going to wait to hear Your response. I am will wait and watch (watchtower – Jeremiah and Ezekiel used similar terminology)
The big takeaway from chapter one is that Habakkuk went to God with his questions/complaints/laments. He didn’t just say them out loud and then move along and become bitter. He sought God out. Habakkuk didn’t just sit around and complain. He did something. He took it to the LORD God. And he waited. He watched for God to answer.
In 2:1, Habakkuk used the term “watchman” or guard post. These were those who were isolated from the rest but scanned the horizon for movement. I connect it to deer hunting. You sit and you look for movement. You scan around looking for that buck or doe. A watchman was looking for the enemy to protect the city or nation. In this case, Habakkuk is watching and waiting on God to reply. This is the big difference in what we do not do well. Today, we want answers immediately. We want to know the LORD’s will right now rather than trusting Him, waiting for His response and direction. Habakkuk got answers, but he had to wait first. Things were silent first. He showed faithfulness first. He showed obedience first. He showed that he was willing to put in the time first.