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August 18, 2023 - Habakkuk 1-3

The prophet Habakkuk looked out over a scene of devastation and hopelessness. Things were so bad as the troops of Babylon came into the city of Jerusalem and destroyed it. How encouraging is the book Habakkuk to us! “What?!?!” you say? Well, it’s precisely because things were so bad, and Habakkuk, then, is led into a conversation with God about what he sees, a conversation that ends with such hope. The prophet is as honest as can be. He cries out to God, but he cannot hear God answer. He just doesn’t understand. How can the unrighteous and godless Babylonians so mistreat the people of God?

Habakkuk waits and, wow, what an answer the Lord gives! “Look! I am raising up the Chaldeans” (1:6). The Lord is doing this! But the Lord also reminds the prophet that the righteous one will live by his faith (2:4). That is, to Habakkuk the Lord says, “Trust me. Lean on me.” And though Habakkuk is so terrified that his bones quake, and he trembles, yet he will wait on the Lord: “Yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!” (3:18)

It has often been noted that the matter of courage is not the absence of fear; rather, it is the pressing ahead in the face of fear. Perhaps a bit of revision here. Faith is not so much the settled resting during good times; rather, it is trusting the Lord even when everything is falling apart.

Away, my unbelieving fear!

Fear shall in me no more have place . . .

Barren although my soul remain,

And not one bud of grace appear,

No fruit of all my toil and pain,

But sin and only sin is here;

Although my gifts and comforts lost,

My blooming hopes cut off I see,

Yet will I in my Saviour trust,

And glory that he died for me. -- Charles Wesley (1742)

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