The three chapters of Habakkuk are interesting. They contain a discussion between the prophet and the Lord. There is not much in Habakkuk that is prophetic. It is a faithful servant of God having a one-on-one conversation with the Almighty.
- Habakkuk was disappointed and angry that God had not acted against Judah’s idolatry and rebellion.
- So, the prophet gave God a piece of His mind. It is nice that the all-powerful God of the universe allows frail humans to express our frustrations.
Have you been there - mad at God? The Lord is not acting as you think He should. You’ve decided that your decisions would be better than those the Lord Jesus Christ is making.
Over the past fifteen years, I’ve had the chance to inform the Lord that I was not happy with some of my friends He took to glory seemingly far too early. On one such occasion, I mentioned to the Lord that if He needed a list of people to take on out, I could supply one that would be better than what He was working from.
If you are honest, you’ve been mad at God. He disappointed you. Pay attention to what happens in the few verses of Habakkuk.
- God answered Habakkuk.
- God informed Habakkuk that He knew what was going on.
- God let the faithful man know that He had a plan of action.
- God even told Habakkuk what was going to happen.
When informed of the plan, Habakkuk was even less happy. God’s plan was not what Habakkuk wanted to hear. God was going to use the Chaldeans to punish His people.
Habakkuk reminded the Lord that the Chaldeans were worse sinners than the Israelites. It was to no avail. God had a plan. He still does.
And part of my lack of understanding of His decisions are because I lack a long view. God’s decisions and actions of this day have implications for 20, 40, or 100 years from now.
God’s remedy for a faithful man’s anger and disappointment: . . . the just shall live by his faith, (Habakkuk 2:4). He said, “Trust me, when you don’t understand Me, trust me when you don’t like My decisions. Actually just live trusting me.”
There is the first answer when you are angry with God. Who can understand the death of a child? Who can explain Covid-19 taking a wonderful friend. We had plans, there were places to go and things the two couples planned to do.
No understanding has come. Nor can I explain the death in auto crashes of the several teens whose family came to me for help. What to do? One one answer works: the just shall live by His faith.
God’s simple statement to an angry saint is quoted three times in the New Testament - Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38. To live by faith is a vital part of Christian living.
Habakkuk 3 - an Angry Believer’s Response
The Bible says it was a prayer upon shigionoth. The word shigionoth should instruct our praise. It means to praise with strong emotion and impassioned triumph.
Habakkuk was still not particularly pleased. But God has spoken. Habakkuk will continue to serve Jehovah, though He does not understand Him. You must come to the same decision.
The first fifteen verses of Habakkuk 3 are a poetic recitation of the greatness of God and His mighty acts. The verses are not particularly easy to follow. With great enthusiasm Habakkuk pin-balled His way through a declaration of the greatness of His God. I’m sure God figured out what Habakkuk was trying to say.
When you are not quite coherent in your emotional and impassioned expressions concerning Him, He understands what you mean.
Finally, Habakkuk comes to His expression of faith in God in the day of trouble, (Habakkuk 3:16). It begins with “Although.” A synonym for although is “despite,” or “in spite of.” What Habakkuk said is easier said than experienced.
- Despite the fig tree not blossoming.
- In spite of the vines bearing no grapes.
- Though the olive trees fail to produce fruit.
- Despite my planted fields producing no grain.
- Although there are no sheep in my flock.
- Despite there being no cows in my barn.
Yet - I will rejoice, I will joy, (Habakkuk 3:18). Not only is Habakkuk’s anger gone. He has moved into a level of faith that demanded that the he celebrate.
And Habakkuk’s celebration is focused on God and God alone.
Habakkuk, you’ve made quite a shift and really you heard nothing positive from God. How have you reached this point.
- Faith - The decision to trust God, even in those moments when you trust Him despite life’s difficulty.
- Exaltation - A rehearsal of the great deeds of God.
- The realization that what I’m angry about is not my responsibility to take care of.
Habakkuk perceives some important things that can help you.
- The Lord is my strength. Not fruitful fields and a life of luxury.
- The Lord does not smooth out the mountains. Instead, He equips you to match the mountain. He makes your feet like hind’s feet. The question: are you willing to receive His changes? All change requires adjustment and practice.
- He prepares you for high places in Him.
The Call to Action
- It’s ok to be mad at God - Habakkuk was and God did not strike him dead.
- Faith matches any moment. Four times, four messages, four different settings - the just shall live by faith. Take up the shield of faith . . .
- Our view of God’s action is limited by time.
- Considering the great works of God, even when you bounce from one thought to another, will grow your confidence in Him.
- There are times to praise Him emotionally and with triumph.
- Rejoice in the Lord, despite life’s imperfections and your personal disappointments.
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