Habakkuk ~ Chapter One
"Look among the nations and watch -
be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
which you would not believe,
though it were told you."
Morning Meditation: Read Habakkuk 1:1-11
Habakkuk lived in a time much like we live in today. The land around him was full of violence, lawlessness, and injustice. The religious reform which had been established during the reign of King Josiah had ended with his death, and wickedness was now on the rise. The kingdom was broken, society was deteriorating, and the nation was teetering on the brink of disaster. Habakkuk was deeply disturbed and grieved over the abuses he witnessed, but when he cried out to God, the Lord didn't seem to hear.
"O LORD, how long shall I cry? And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, "Violence!" And You will not save"
(v. 2). We can easily become discouraged and filled with anxiety when we focus on the evil and trouble all around us. When we shift our focus onto our circumstances and our feelings, we can become paralyzed with fear and begin to accuse God of being unconcerned with our needs and accepting of wickedness.
"Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, contention arises"
"Righteous are You, O LORD,
when I plead with You;
You let me talk with You about Your judgments.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?
You have planted them, yes, they have taken root;
they grow, yes, they bear fruit.
You are near in their mouth
but far from their mind.
But You, O LORD, know me;
You have seen me,
and You have tested my heart toward You."
Habakkuk did the right thing in taking his problems to God in prayer, and God answered him with a revelation of His majesty and sovereignty.
"Look among the nations and watch - be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you
" (v. 5). All the world around him was sinking, and Habakkuk's heart began to sink with it. If he didn't regain focus he would soon be drowning in a sea of doubt and despair. When we become so weighed down by the burdens we bear, we can easily begin to shift our focus away from God and onto ourselves. This is where we get into trouble. When the mind begins its mental descent away from God, our thoughts become corrupted and we begin to think less of Him than He really is. This dangerous shift away from unwavering devotion to God into the depths of idolatry was exactly what the Lord was bent on correcting in His people when He presented His plan to Habakkuk. The moment we begin to entertain shallow thoughts of God that are beneath His dignity and unworthy of His majesty we find ourselves in polluted waters, and soon all our activity, internally and externally, becomes immoral and corrupted, and our worship is no longer pure and true.
"Beware therefore, lest what as been spoken in the prophets come upon you"
(Acts 13:40). The Lord had sent His people repeated warnings in order to get them to repent, but they rejected His many tender and gracious invitations to return to Him with all their hearts; therefore, God would now inflict them with the rod of discipline, and He would do so with an unlikely and unexpected weapon, making a spectacle of them to all the nations.
"All nations would say, "Why has the LORD done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?" Then people would say, "Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt" (Deuteronomy 29:24-25).
As we begin our journey let us take a moment of reflection and consider our own thoughts about how we think of God and His marvelous works. Let us spend time in adoring worship of our Sovereign King and give Him the honor and glory due His name.
"Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
and honor Me with their lips,
but have removed their hearts far from Me,
and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people,
a marvelous work and a wonder;
for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden."