This week we are wrapping up our study through Habakkuk. After a cycle of Habakkuk questioning God, God answering, Habakkuk questioning, and God answering we arrive at chapter 3 where Habakkuk finally puts his full trust and faith in God.
The chapter starts out with Habakkuk asking God to bring revival to his city and nation. In verse 2 he stats that he has heard of the great things God has done in the past, but has never seen them first hand. Many of us, at times, are in this boat. We have heard of God doing amazing things, performing miracles, and transforming lives, but have never seen or experienced it ourselves. Or we will forget about what God has done in our lives. As we dream of leading the charge of the Church in this new and evolving culture it is important for us to know and reflect on what God has done in the past throughout history. Habakkuk looks back and prays that God would “revive” his nation. Out of faith he is praying that God would move like he has done, and like Habakkuk has heard of, in the past. Throughout the chapter he refers back to God leading the Exodus out of Egypt along with Joshua’s victory at Gibeah where God made the sun and moon stand still in their places. These were, and still are, landmark events in the history of Israel.
In the last part of 3:2 Habakkuk prays for the Gospel when he says “in wrath remember mercy.” He knows that he is a sinner, knows that God justly punishes sin, and asks that God would show mercy through His wrath. He is praying for Jesus. The beautiful reality about this is that as Habakkuk looked forward to the future and how God will show his mercy in wrath, we look back with confidence that Jesus is our Mercy in wrath.
Habakkuk has faith that even through suffering and trails God is working with intentions of good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). This is what he prays in 3:17-19:
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.
The amazing thing about this prayer is that God has not changed the circumstances. The Chaldaens are still scheduled to come and destroy Judua (see Habakkuk 1:5-11). Habakkuk’s heart changes because he has gone from knowing God to experiencing God. His heart is changed not because God has made circumstances better for him but because he has seen and experienced God on a deeper level.
Jonathan Edwards puts it this way:
“There is a difference between believing that God is holy and gracious, and having a new sense on the heart of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. The difference between believing that God is gracious and tasting that God is gracious is as different as having a rational belief that honey is sweet and having the actual sense of its sweetness” (A Divine and Supernatural Light, Jonathan Edwards).
Think about what God has done throughout the difficult times in world history, our nation’s history, and your personal history.
Love God for his soveriegn plan throughout all suffering and trails.
Live centered around the gospel of Christ. Not just rationally knowing that he is our Mercy, but tasting and experiencing the mercy and love of Christ.