I have been drawn this last couple of weeks to the book of Habakkuk, a profound book that speaks to us even today in our own land. His name means to ‘embrace’ or ‘wrestle’, Martin Luther favored the idea of embracing so as to wrestle and concluded; "It is certainly not unfitting, for in this little book we see a man, in deadly earnest, wrestling with the mighty problem of theodicy (the divine justice) in a topsy-turvy world."
Habakkuk was perplexed, as we are so often, at what seemed to be God’s indifference at what was going on around him. Perplexed may actually be a softer word to use to describe what he was really thinking. Why, we question, is evil abounding around us, why do you not Oh Lord check the violence, the strife and the contention that arises around us? Why is there not any justice for those who try and justify their evil ways or for those who deceive their neighbors. Why do the wicked surround the righteous, the wicked who are sure and secure in their own evil ways and why do they prosper? Habakkuk stood upon his watch to wait and see what the Lord would say unto him (Habakkuk 2:1).
We ask the same today don’t we? In our nation we wonder why the wicked have had their own way and why the nation has elected a man to the White House that surely will destroy our freedoms and bring about chaos, or at least the beginning of it.
Is the answer to our perplexity the same as Habakkuk? In one sense I believe it is. The Lord answered his questions by saying this: “Be utterly astounded! For I will work in you days which you would not believe though it were told you”. The Lord was raising up the Chaldeans to bring judgment and destruction to the Jewish nation and the vision of it was a burden to Habakkuk. The vision of who the Lord has raised up for our nation presents a picture of things that we never in a million years dreamed would come to us as a nation; a nation of the free and the brave, America the Beautiful. It is a picture of a nation being overrun by communism, a picture of destroyed freedoms which this nation has thrived on. It is a picture to the believer of being a captive of sorts just as the Jews were captive to Babylon and so this vision is a burden to us.
We are a nation, just as the nation of Israel that has rejected the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel. We are a nation that has become an idol, a nation full of pride in its own accomplishments and a nation that is the epitome of Romans 1. We have exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, the Creator who is blessed forever. Dare we question His judgments for we must make no mistake and think that they come by any other than His Sovereign Hand. They come by His alone for the vision is yet for the appointed time. (Habakkuk 2:3)
I pray that we would have the comfort that Habakkuk offered to the people of Israel in his day. I pray that we might rest in the day of trouble and
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls.
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feel like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills”
“But the righteous will live by his faith”
Grace and Peace!