We come across a shorter book in the Bible and a dilemma that even we in this day and age may find hard to comprehend. Habakkuk is a prophet pleading to God for a revival to take place in Judah. And God’s answer is that He will send an invading army even more evil that Judah to bring about that restoration. Habakkuk can’t get his mind around that idea. God even states, “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 (1:5 [NIV]).” Then God shows him that even this invading hoard will be destroyed, but Judah will return to God through all of this.
There is a promise to those who stay faithful in all this carnage. In Habakkuk’s prayer we read the following, “1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth. 2 LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, LORD. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy (3:1&2 [NIV]).”
Look at the outline below of this very interesting, challenging and short Minor Prophet.
- Title (1:1)
- Habakkuk’s First Complaint: Why does the evil in Judah go unpunished? (1:2-4)
- God’s Answer: The Babylonians will punish Judah (1:5-11)
- Habakkuk’s Second Complaint: How can a just God use wicked Babylonia to punish a people more righteous than themselves? (1:12;2:1)
- God’s Answer: Babylonia will be punished, and faith will be rewarded (2:2-20)
- Habakkuk’s Prayer: After asking for manifestations of God’s wrath and mercy (as he has seen in the past), he closes with a confession of trust and joy in God (ch. 3)
What are the applications for us? I see several:
- When we pray for something we need to be ready to have our view of God’s ways stretched. We may find His promises and truths on their heads when it comes to conventional wisdom.
- Restoration may come with a price. God’s winnowing ministry can hurt as much as destroy, but as Habakkuk prays, mercy is found in judgement as well.
- God still amazes us in our prayers. We are too many times like the prayer meeting for Peter. When their prayers were answered they didn’t believe it. How are you in that category. I can some times be like those prayer warriors in the first century.
Through restoration and judgement we see God in a new and amazing way. Let’s hold on to that for sure.