Let us learn a lesson from the book of Habakkuk. The word Habakkuk means embrace. Out of 12 Minor Prophets, Habakkuk is in 8th Place. Also not much said about Habakkuk apart from the book of Habakkuk.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
The director of music, that means he could be a descendent of Levite. This book got one of the famous verses from the Bible. It says the righteous will live by faith. Acts, Romans, Galatians and Hebrews talks about Habakkuk's words. There are many controversies about what time it was written. Habakkuk probably was grown up in the time of Josiah the king. After Josiah the king there were lot of kings, during this king's time Habakkuk grown to be the prophet of God that God wanted him to be.
There were four other kings who came at that time Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah. None of the kings were righteous; there was lot of unrighteousness, ungodliness in Judea. Habakkuk was disturbed seeing the ungodliness, rebelliousness and unrighteousness in the country of Judea. Just like we feel when unrighteousness, ungodliness and sin being there, it disturbs us, it bothers us. Habakkuk was completely disturbed and he was praying to God for a revival in Judea. He was begging God day and night God you got to change this people; you got to do some thing in this nation.
1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received.
2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?
3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
5 "Look at the nations and watch-- and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.
7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like a vulture swooping to devour;
9 they all come bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They deride kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; they build earthen ramps and capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on-- guilty men, whose own strength is their god."
12 O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
14 You have made men like fish in the sea, like sea creatures that have no ruler.
15 The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food.
17 Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?
We will reflect as Habakkuk reflected in his prayer. Habakkuk is praying how long God, how long to wait, why did you allow me to see all these things. There was lot of Questions Habakkuk asked God. The wicked people are destroying the righteous. He saw lot of fights and conflicts. Habakkuk was praying and begging God and begging the people to change and expecting God to bring the revival like he brought in Judea.
As we read this scripture, we will also pray for revival and we want to reflect on our own hearts. We got to reflect on how are we towards God, how is our relationship with God, how is our personal righteousness, how is our purity, our conviction towards righteousness, how does God see us today. If God would come today are we ready to face him, will we be accepted by him? We need to look at our own hearts. It looked like God was silent for long time. Sometimes we feel like how Habakkuk felt. Sometimes our prayer can take long time to be answered; we may get frustrated with God and say God are you there or not there. God will always answer prayers. He may take long time or shorter time but God will always answer prayers.
Habakkuk 1: 5,6 and 11,12 God said you are going to be totally amazed by what I am going to do. You want a revival in Israel; you want a revival in Judea. You know who I am going to send as a revival to you I am sending the Babylonians for the revival. God knows what he is doing when we want change in our life God will send something that we are not ready for. Habakkuk did not want Babylonians to come and restore righteousness in Judea. Habakkuk was not ready for that kind of answer from God. Prayer is dangerous, we may pray for something but God will give the opposite which you never expected. God knows that Babylonians are not good people. God said I know that they are ruthless, they are violent, they will laugh at people, their own strength is their god. God knows Judea, God knows Babylonians, but He had some plan and He will do it.
Let us look at Habakkuks second prayer, God answered Habakkuk's prayer but was Habakkuk happy? Are we happy when God answers our prayers? Vs 12, 13. Can we see how Habakkuk is complaining? Judea is not as bad as the Babylonians, Judea they fight little bit here and there but not as bad as the Babylonians. God I can't believe you chose Babylonians to attach Judea your people.
Habakkuk could not accept Gods way He wanted his way to change Judea, But God had his way to convict Judea. Who will win may be our plans are good and we think this is the right way. To build the church this is the way we should do it. Who's way is going to win? We think our way is right just like how Habakkuk got frustrated. We can get frustrated when things don't go our way. When things don't go our way what we do we get angry, complain, cry, mourn, get upset, get frustrated, and become critical. And we see Habakkuk struggles with these kind of thoughts. Habakkuk is still respectful to God in Vs 12 he says Lord I know you are my God you are the Holy one and I know you are the rock, even though he is boiling in his heart why God allowed this to me, he never lost respect towards God.
Here Habakkuk had a great complain - Lord! Babylonians are not more righteous than Judea, you should not have allowed Babylonians to attack Judea, it should be the other way around. He thought all his complaints are right. He might have thought Ha! I got God in this. Chapter 2 Habakkuk is waiting for God to answer. How is he going to answer? Then God answered, what is going to happen if Babylonians attack Judea? Everybody knew that the Babylonians are such powerful nation they are going to destroy Judea. It's not going to be a revival, it's destruction. God had a very good answer for his complain Habakkuk was concern lot of good people would die; we will lose the good-hearted people. He was more concern about the good people who lived in his country. 2: 4 God said don't worry about the Babylonians they will attack Judea but the righteous will live by their faith. This was Gods' plan for Judea. The righteous will live by faith.
That's true God ultimately cares about his faithfulness towards God, being faithful to Christ till the end of his life. That is what God wants. Faithfulness is what God cares more than any thing else in this world. God is checking is this sister who is going through lot of financial problem is she going to be faithful to me, is she going to hold on to my word and me. This brother is going through lot of temptation in the world, is he going to be faithful to me rest of his life. This brother is going through lot of doubts, so many people are putting lot of doubts about the scriptures and different other questions in his mind. Listening to all these things is he going to be faithful in his life time. Righteous will live by his or her faith.
God rises up individual or people even if it's Babylonian. God can rise up people or nation and God can remove them when he wants. Whose in charge of history, not man God changes history. We cannot change history; we can only be a part of history. We can only be able to influence history, God allows us to influence history in our life.
1 I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
2 Then the LORD replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.
4 "See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright-- but the righteous will live by his faith--
5 indeed, wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples.
6 "Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying, "'Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! How long must this go on?'
7 Will not your debtors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their victim.
8 Because you have plundered many nations, the peoples who are left will plunder you. For you have shed man's blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
9 "Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
10 You have plotted the ruin of many peoples, shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.
11 The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.
12 "Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime!
13 Has not the LORD Almighty determined that the people's labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
15 "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies.
16 You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed ! The cup from the Lord's right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory.
17 The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed man's blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
18 "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.
19 Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!' Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!' Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.
20 But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."
God is talking about the Babylonians. God is saying don't worry about Babylonians I know everything about them. You worry about yourself, righteous will live by faith, you also Habakkuk its time for you to live by faith. 2: 20 what we should do, what Habakkuk should do, stop complaining don't worry about God is just or not. Don't even worry about people, you got to be silent before the Lord. If we trust God if we are really faithful to God you will be silent because God is in control of good people and bad people because God is everything.
Let's see whether Habakkuk gave up praying after Gods answer. Lets see in chapter 3: 2 Habakkuk prays Vs3- 15 he remembers all the good things that God has done all the times of history in Israel and Judea. And he is praising God how awesome God is and how he is standing in awe for all these years the Bible says. Habakkuk is not giving up praying for renewal. He did not get discouraged by Gods answer - instead he got more inspired to pray to God. So never give up praying.
16 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.
The time of calamity has come Habakkuk is in fear. Yet his prayer is that he will wait for this time of calamity because his God is with him. Even if he faces hunger, famine, no wealth, he will rejoice and be joyful in the Lord. He was resolute in his faith, he confronted fear with faith. Fear is a powerful enemy of faith; it destroys leadership, relationships. But faith is powerful we can confront fear in any circumstances, just like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Be resolute in our faith. Prayer changed Habakkuk the whole book is about his prayer. It helped him to stay calm in the storm. Be resolute like Habakkuk, let's embrace God and his ways and his plan in our life.