In Those Last Days...
The prophet has a problem. In fact, he has several problems. As Habakkuk looks around Judah, all he sees is evil. He wonders why God doesn’t do something. Sound familiar?
In case someone should think that it isn’t right to complain to the Lord, check out the book of Habakkuk. God’s servant is full of complaints. When God answers the prophet by telling him that He is allowing the Babylonians to invade as His instruments of punishment on the sins of Judah, Habakkuk begins to complain again! This time he wonders about the fairness of sending a nation even more sinful than Judah to punish her. Once more God responds by telling His prophet that Babylon too will receive her punishment in due time.
Among the interesting verses in this short book are those that come right at its end. Habakkuk, having heard God’s answers, realizes that the time ahead is not going to be pleasant. As much as he wants justice and righteousness to prevail, the cost is going to be a heavy one.
There are some who think that those who preach “doom and gloom” do so out of some perverted pleasure at the result. That might be true in some cases. But the truth is that men like Jeremiah and Habakkuk, along with more modern day prophets of God, understand that the Almighty will only allow people, especially HIS people, to malign His Name and tarnish His glory through their disobedience for so long. He will act and it might not be pretty.
Habakkuk responds appropriately with an expression of dismay and faith. He is afraid of the cost, but though he may be among the very few who understand what is happening, he will also trust.
“I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the pay of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there be no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” —Habakkuk 3:16-19, NIV.
The signs are all around us. God speaks. He continues to hold out His hands to that stubborn and rebellious people—those who claim His Name. But countries and people who give lip service to Him continue to drift farther and farther away. How long will He wait? How many hints will be ignored? And if the worst should happen, will there be, like Habakkuk, men and women who see, tremble, and continue to trust?