Tuesday, February 21, 2012

God, what are you doing?

In short, this is what the ancient prophet Habakkuk was asking. God was at work in the world but God’s ways were incomprehensible to him.

Have you ever felt this way? I am sure you have. And I am sure you have heard people in your life express frustration, confusion, anger, disappointment and cynicism about God’s ability or inability to act.

In fact he complained, “Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Habakkuk 1:3

From his vantage point he thought God was either weak, slow to act, or simply did not care.

If you have never read Habakkuk then take a few minutes and read all three chapters. Notice how unlike the other prophets who delivered their message to the people around them, this prophet engaged in dialogue with God.

The first chapter is a prayer or an extended complaint to God about the moral and spiritual decline of Judah.  

God’s response puzzled him even more: “I am raising up the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to take care of the situation.” Habakkuk 1: 6-11

The prophet is shocked.  “How could a good and just God use a more wicked nation to punish a less wicked one?” (Habakkuk 1: 12-17)

 God makes it clear that both nations are to be judged and appropriately punished for their evil acts.

 Although Habakkuk did not fully understand, he learned to rely totally on the wisdom and justice of God to bring about the proper resolution in ways he could never have imagined. This God is certainly worthy of Habakkuk’s praise and worship, which is how the book ends:
            Though the fig tree should not blossom,
                        nor fruit be on the vines,
            the produce of the olive fail
                        and the fields yield no food,
            the flock be cut off from the fold
                        and there be no herd in the stalls,
            yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
                        I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
            GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
                        he makes my feet like the deer's;
                        he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

Habakkuk moves from complaint and confusion, to faith and implicit trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God. Look again at his closing song of praise and ask yourself, could I do what he did? Could I thank God in the midst of my pain, my loss and my problems? 

I think so. Walk by faith in God's sovereign grace, trust the Lord, and even when the times are hard you will receive his strength to carry on. My grace is sufficient for you; because my strength is made perfect in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).