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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Prayer Series--2. Habakkuk

Habakkuk was a minor prophet, but he carried some major messages. Habakkuk revealed the central truth of the whole Bible in chapter 2:4b: The just shall live by his faith. This is picked up again in Paul's letter to the Romans 1:17, "The just shall live by faith."

Habakkuk's first prayer is found in Chapter 1:2-4. He questions God about how long he will tolerate violence and wrong-doing.

God's answer begins in 1:4. He will raise up the Chaldeans, a wicked people, who will chastise the land. Again Habakkuk is perplexed and wonders why God will use the enemy to bring Israel to repentance. But he does not accuse God. He said in 2:1, "I will stand my post, and wait for God to answer; then I will know what I should reply."

The Lord told him to record the vision he gave him. It's for the future. There are woes connected with the vision defining the sins and evils that God will judge. 

2:6 begins the list of woes. 1. Woe to the one who amasses debts he can't pay.

2. Woe to him who unjustly gains wealth.
3. Woe to the one who builds a city with bloodshed and injustice.
4. Woe to the one who pours out drink with evil purpose, to engage in sex.
5. Woe to the one who makes an idol from wood or stone.

In chapter 3 Habakkuk's third prayer begins with a recital of God's majesty and continues with descriptions of God's vengeance in terms reminiscent of the aftermath.

3:16 Habakkuk records his response to God's power: He heard, trembled, his lips quivered, rottenness entered his bones. Then he waited quietly for the day of distress.

In verse 17 he begins his statement of faith: Though the fig tree does not bud, and there is not fruit on the vines, and the olive tree fails, the land produces no crops, there are no sheep in the pen, and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in the Lord. I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Yahweh is my strength. He makes my feet like those of a deer, and I will walk on high places. 

We can share Habakkuk's testimony. Even in the worst of times, God is still faithful, and we must trust in him when all else is failing.