Summary: Even though times were devastating, Habakkuk praised God for being a merciful and just God, but he still believed salvation was coming. No matter what God, is here for you and he’s coming. He’s getting ready and He’s behind all the changes you face
Can you remember one of the first Sunday School songs you learned? (Wait for response.) Back in Janesville, Wisconsin one of the first songs I remember was, “Jesus Loves Me”. My Mom sang it with me. I also remember my mom teaching me the Lord’s prayer when I was 4 or 5. I still have memories of asking her what the word, “hallowed” meant? I mean, that’s a ginormous word for a kid - “hallowed.” But she was patient and would explain it.
A few years later, when I was walking down the alley to do my paper route for the good old Waterloo Courier I ran into something that freaked me out. It was Sunday morning and I had to get up real early to get all 74 papers delivered. I walked down the alley to start my route and I didn’t notice it until I almost stepped on it. I looked down and there was a bat./ And the bat was looking up at me. I don’t know if it was because it surprised me or because I had the fear of vampires (I would sleep with the blankets over my head so Dracula couldn’t bite my neck. Electric blankets are as good as holy water) But when I looked down at the bat, it looked up at me, opened it’s mouth full of sharp pointy teeth and said, “ScrEeCH!!” I ran. I ran fast, yelling my head off and when I got in the house you know what I did? I prayed the Lord’s prayer.
It was just a bat. I know. But it freaked me out. It scared me. I wanted to run. Believe me, there were other times that I wanted to run when I was growing up. There were other times that I was very afraid, but it wasn’t of make believe monsters it was of very real, frightening situations at home. And I prayed the Lord’s prayer a lot during those times and I sang Jesus Loves Me too. Whether under a blanket or in a closet or behind the couch or in time out, that prayer and song were words of faith and comfort.
Thank God for my Mom who taught me that prayer and that song./ A prayer and a song to rely on when things got scary. A prayer and a song to make me look up to God. Habakkuk 3 is that kind of prayer and song. Like many moms and dads that love God, Habakkuk is preparing a way for generations that follow God to have faith even though it looks dark and tragic. (READ Habakkuk 3:1-2) Prayer in the temple was central in the Old Testament. Over and over again we see God answering prayer that was offered in the temple. Habakkuk is telling us this is a song that’s to be rehearsed and drilled just as much as we know Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, I Love You Lord.
Habakkuk wants us to remember this song and prayer. But it says here, (READ v. 2a) He was afraid. Afraid of what God is going to bring. Look how he responds after He says He’s afraid (READ v. 2b) A long time ago, the king of Hungary was depressed and unhappy. He called for his brother who was a good-natured but pretty indifferent prince. The king said to him, "I am a great sinner; I am afraid to meet God." But the prince only laughed at him. This didn’t help the king’s mood at all. Even though he was a believer, the king had gotten a glimpse of guilt for the way he’d been living lately, and he really wanted help.
In those days it was the custom that if the executioner sounded a trumpet outside your door at any hour, it was a signal that you were to be led to your execution. The king sent the executioner in the dead of night to blow the trumpet at his brother’s door. The prince realized with horror what was going on. He stepped to the door and was grabbed by the executioner, and dragged pale and trembling to the king. In pure terror he fell on his knees before his brother and begged to know what he had done. "My brother," answered the king, "if the sight of a human executioner is so terrible to you, shouldn‘t I, having deeply offended God, fear to be brought before the judgment seat of Christ?" You see, fear can be a sign of faith. That is what Habakkuk had before God and His coming judgment.
Right now Habakkuk is pleading with God to help His people know how to survive the trials coming down the road./ Habakkuk quickly realizes that it is only the undeserved mercy of God that will sustain us. “In wrath remember mercy.” // Mercy is what His people need. His own people have oppressed the righteous and the poor. His own people have corrupted His law. There is no fair trial. There is no justice in Israel. And now God is coming with judgment in the form of Nebuchadrezzar and the cruel Babylonian army. It is coming soon and Habakkuk pleads for mercy.