“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?”
Our verse for today is a question from Habakkuk, a prophet of God who lived around six hundred years before Christ. His name comes from a Hebrew word meaning, “to embrace.” We can imagine his loving mother embracing him as a little child, just as the Lord loves to embrace His people. In our verse for today, Habakkuk expresses impatience that God seems to be tolerating the lawless and unjust conditions in the land. The Lord seems to be slow in acting to remedy the situation. But the Lord says in verse six that He is raising up the ruthless nation of Babylon to be his instruments to judge Judah for their sins. Habakkuk complains in verses twelve and thirteen that the Babylonians are even more evil than Judah! But God says not to worry, and in chapter two describes His plans to conquer this evil nation and eventually restore Judah from exile. The rest of the book, chapter three is a prayer by Habakkuk, yielding to the will of the Lord.
1. In our verse for today, Habakkuk asks, “How long?” Do you ever feel as though God is late in answering your prayers or dealing with a tragic situation in the world?
2. When God seems to delay His work in our lives, we must be “patient” as we wait upon Him. What does it mean to be patient? Why does it take faith to be patient?
3. What should we do when God finally answers our prayers, but in a manner that we did not expect or want?
1. Habakkuk had to trust in the Lord, even when God seemed to be distant or slow to act. And today, make sure you trust in the Lord, even when He acts in a way different than what you expected or desired. This is what it means to have faith in the Lord.
2. Habakkuk developed patience, moving from one who complained to one who accepted God’s will and timetable for his life. In the same way, take your complaints and impatience right to the Lord. He will answer your questions and ultimately accomplish His will.
3. Habakkuk learned to rejoice in the Lord, even in the tough times. In the same way pray that God would cultivate in your life a sense of faith, confidence, and adventure when difficult times arise in your life.
Pray as Habakkuk prayed in (3:2,17-18): “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy… 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 are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.