Summary: From a Sob to a Song: Learn from Habakkuk How the Lord Leads from Confusion to Calm
It started with four highjacked airplanes and three downed buildings resulting in the deaths of 6,000 people. How did you react when you first found out about the attacks? For me it was scepticism. It looked more like a movie than reality. When the frightful facts finally sank in I was reminded once again that no one is safe from violence and bloodshed. Terror and strife are native to every country and municipality. Shootings that are prevalent in many North American cities take the lives of teenagers right here in Edmonton. Strife and contention caused by alcoholism, or financial difficulty don’t just break the hearts and homes of unbelievers; they smash the lives of believers too.
Now if God really loves us, and if he has power over all things why doesn’t he destroy the evil in the world so that we can live in peace? Why does he allow terrorists to operate and strife to infect our families? If you’ve ever asked yourself or God those questions you’re not alone. The prophet Habakkuk also struggled to understand why God seemed to do nothing as the wicked overran the righteous, and he cried out for an answer. Well, what started out as a sob turned into a song; that’s because the Lord led Habakkuk from confusion to calm. How did he do that? Finding the answer will transform our own sobs into songs.
Last Sunday we learned a little bit about the prophet Amos. Today we turn our attention to the prophet Habakkuk. Habakkuk lived about 150 years after Amos - that’s still some 600 years before Christ was born. Unlike Amos, Habakkuk ministered to the southern kingdom of Judah. By this time already the northern kingdom of Israel had been carried off into captivity because of their impenitent sins of foolish boasting, and self-indulgent living. Unfortunately Judah wasn’t much better. Led by King Manasseh, Judah fell to an all time low in morality. Listen to how the Chronicler describes Manasseh. “He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger...Manasseh led Judah and the people of Jerusalem astray, so that they did more evil than the nations the LORD had destroyed before the Israelites” (2 Chronicles 33:6, 9).
Faced with such evil every day Habakkuk and other God-fearing people cried out to the Lord. Habakkuk sobbed, “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds” (Hab. 1:2, 3). Interestingly Habakkuk’s sob has been echoed by the saints in heaven. The Apostle John reports, “I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6:9, 10)