Mankind is all about justice. We want what’s right and fair, or so we think. We want evil punished and righteousness rewarded. From it’s inception our country developed a system to maintain justice in our nation. Eventually that system became the Department of Justice. Habakkuk, prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah, was no different: he wanted justice.
He began a conversation with God by questioning His tolerance of the Jews, his brethren, and the injustice and violence against His people. After the death of good King Josiah the people fell back into sin and rebellion and Habakkuk wants to know what God plans to do about it. Interestingly, his name means ‘wrestler or embracer’ and that’s exactly how I see him in this powerful book.
God’s answer takes Habakkuk by surprise in chapter one. “OK, Habakkuk,” says God, “here’s what’s going to happen. You want justice; I’ll give you justice.” God proceeded to give specific details of the Babylonian’s arrival to conquer Judah. That’s God’s justice. Habakkuk’s response? “Wait a minute, God! Don’t do it! That’s not what I meant!” He began wrestling with God because his answer is not what he expected. Hmmmm
God and His prophet Habakkuk had a unique relationship. It was personal and honest. Those are two characteristics in man that God appreciates; its called humility and it’s rewarded. Habukkuk was given a vision of the details of Babylon’s advance, the lower story, but more importantly for us, the Church, of the end times, the upper story.
This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT)
God is clear, those who are in right standing with Him will live (2:4). That’s His promise and we can depend on it. The ‘woes’ of chapter two are for those who’ll receive God’s justice because they haven’t asked for His mercy. We can compare the misery or woes described here with the three woes described in the book of Revelation (Ch. 9-18); no surprise, they’re both prophesying the end times. Life wasn’t going to get better for Israel and it’s not going to get better for us.
Where do we find Jesus in Habakkuk? We find Him in the midst of the vision “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,” and “the earth keeps silence before Him.”
Messiah Jesus is returning and Habakkuk’s body trembles in response. Flashing bright light, veiled power, riding on a chariot of salvation, sword drawn, and marching through the earth. That’s where we find Jesus. Oh… what a day that’ll be.
Beloved readers, prepare yourself with humility and assurance that no matter how bad your outward circumstances may appear, God is in control. Roll those concerns over on Him and remember that Jesus will finally crush Satan’s authority (2:13) in final victory.
Our King is coming.