Looking for Answers
“I will stand like a guard and watch. I will wait to see what the Lord will say to me. I will wait and learn how he answers my questions.”
Habakkuk 2:1 (ERV)
Habakkuk starts his book with an outburst. Not stopping for any thanks or praise, or even a ‘Good morning Lord’ he launches into a heated complaint to God: “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:1 NIV) All he can see around him is lawlessness, injustice and godlessness, and he can’t understand why God isn’t doing anything about it. Life in the remaining southern kingdom of Judah had deteriorated into a thoroughly unrighteous society. God’s reply to him—that the Babylonians were coming to execute judgment—sparked off Habakkuk’s next astonished prayer: how can a Holy God ally himself with such ruthless evil people like the Chaldeans, who are even worse than his chosen people? It seems unjust and perplexing and he lets God know. Having said that, he then wisely decides to shut up and wait.
He doesn’t tell us how long he had to wait for the answer, but God makes it clear to him that the day would come when the destroyers would be judged and dealt with too. And almost hidden in those verses is a little jewel that, in the English, seems to interrupt the flow of the prophecy, a sentence that seems to call for parentheses: “but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (NIV) or in the NKJV, “but the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). God does not just give Habakkuk a surety for the future—in those few words he gives him a practical way to take him through whatever life would throw at him whilst he waited for God to act.
We don’t know how or when answers may come as we grapple with the perplexing questions we may have. There are questions which will never be answered in this life, but Habakkuk’s experience surely shows us that God is willing to give us gems of understanding to guide and that enable us to rest in him and live in him in our journey through life. So we can say, as Habakkuk said in the end of his book:
“…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”(Habakkuk 3:18-19 NIV)
Study by Hilary Buck
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
LEWES BN7 2XN
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