“How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and You will not hear? I cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ Yet You do not save. Why have you made men like the fish of the sea, like creeping things without a ruler over them? The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook, drag them up with their net, and gather them together in their fishing net. They offer a sacrifice to their net and burn incense to their fishing net. Will they therefore empty their net and continually slay nations without sparing? Habakkuk 1:2,14-17
We certainly live in unusual times! It almost seems that the world has been turned on its head, and things that have been tried and tested by time have been cast aside. Worst of all, if we were to listen to the lies of our age-old enemy, it would seem to some that the Lord has forgotten His people, or He is no longer paying attention to present-day happenings. It apparently seemed that way to the prophet as he stated his complaint to the Lord. He asks, ‘Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?’ (v1:13)
Imagine his initial shock when the Lord tells Habakkuk that He is going to use the Chaldeans to discipline His people (1:5-11). He specifically says, ‘it will certainly come, it will not delay.’ (2:2,3) Then the Lord reminds the prophet that Babylon will eventually be punished as well (2:5-11; 15-20).
That bring us to one of the most mis-quoted, mis-interpreted verses in the Old Testament. ‘O Lord revive Your work in the midst of the years. In the midst of the years make it known.” (3:2b) In processing what the Lord had just said to him concerning both the nation of Judah and the nation of Babylon, Habukkuk cries, Your way is best, ‘In wrath remember mercy!’ (3:2c). Then, coming to grips with the Truth he has just heard, the prophet utters one of the most eloquent prayers of faith recorded in Scripture. ‘I heard, and my inward parts trembled. At the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress; For the people to arise who will invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines; Though the yield of the olive should fail, and the fields produce no food; Though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls; Yet, I will exult in the Lord. I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.’ (3:16-18)
My prayer for myself and for you is that we be found so full of faith that we would respond in such a profound and powerful way!