OK, now into one of my favorite Old Testament books, Habakkuk. Not only is the name cool (ha), but the theme is one that most of could really relate to, especially in times of difficulty and hardship. “Why, God? What are You doing?”
The book starts with Habakkuk calling upon God to save him from all the wrong doers in Israel, the corrupt and immoral and hateful (1:1-5). Ever been there? All this stuff is going on around us in society, in our government, in our families, and sometimes even our churches and we look for rescue from it all. I’m reminded of the folks who call out Maranatha (“Our Lord, come!”) too thoughtlessly.
“I know,” says the Lord (I paraphrase here), “I haven’t been asleep. I’ve been planning something for a while that you won’t believe even after I’ve told you. Here we go; here come the Babylonians (Chaldeans)! You know them; fierce and impetuous, dreaded and feared, violent” (vv. 5-11).
Habakkuk responds: “Oh, wait, Lord; that’s not what I meant; I mean, they’re worse than the bad people around here! Surely you wouldn’t let these pagan Babylonians overcome us righteous Israelites, would you? What do you say, Lord?”
The Lord responds: “Don’t worry, Habakkuk; the righteous man will live by his faith, while the proud evil doer of Israel will pay for his evil. And by the way, I won’t leave bloody, foolish, pagan Babylon unpunished for the things they do. What has gone around will come around to them. And their so-called gods won’t be able to stop Me. They are, after all, mere stone and wood, while I am the true God who is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before Me.”
Habakkuk responds in humble prayer: “I should have known, Lord, that Your answer would be so great! Things too wonderful for me! I am astonished! I am in wonder! I can only tremble as I await your great judgments. But now, regardless of what may happen, knowing your greatness and righteousness and wisdom, I will always exult in You; I will always rejoice in the God of my salvation who is my constant strength! I will say ‘Hallelujah anyway!'”
We may not always understand the evil circumstances around us, how God could let this or that happen, but never, ever doubt that He’s paying attention and putting together a plan to rescue His people. Like Job, we can only see the material side of the greater scene; the spiritual side of the equation is hidden from our eyes. So, like Job and Habakkuk, we sometimes think that God doesn’t know what He’s doing, that He isn’t concerned about us, or He’s letting things get out of hand. Let these glimpses that we see in Scripture shore up your faith in the God who is always on watch, always has our best interests at heart. So we can, no matter what the situation is, say “Hallelujah anyway!”
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.