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Devotionals August 8 – Sept 7, 2021: Habakkuk’s Lesson: Trust in Our God

Habakkuk is the eighth book of the minor prophets and is mostly written as a conversation between God and his servant Habakkuk. The book begins immediately with the prophet’s sad and angry evaluation of the state of Judah around him. He sees God’s chosen people behaving in wicked ways. He sees violence, greed, and injustice happening in the nation. He has been crying out to God asking for help, but God isn’t answering him—or so he thinks. Habakkuk wonders why God seems to be turning a blind eye and letting his chosen people get away with such terrible sins.

God graciously answers Habakkuk’s plea in chapter 1:5–11 with one of the most fearfully comforting and beautiful texts in the Bible. The second half of verse 5 points to the sovereignty of God, who says, “For I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” God was raising up the Babylonians (Chaldeans) and would use them to take Judah into captivity as chastisement for her sins. The Babylonians were the next world power of their time, one that God describes as a bitter and hasty nation (v. 6). They were an evil people who destroyed, devoured, and took what wasn’t theirs. Their own strength was a god to them. So, while verse 5 is comforting to us, it was terrifying to Habakkuk. He didn’t understand God’s answer. God is so holy (v. 13), Habakkuk thought, how could he send this wicked nation to judge Judah? How often don’t we ask the same question! Why does it have to be this way?

Habakkuk knows God will use his counsel for judgment and correction of Judah (Hab. 1:12), but he still questions the means (the Babylonians) God is going to use. Through all this wrestling, Habakkuk is still clinging to his covenant God, whom he calls “Oh Lord, my God.” He is confused, but he trusts that this will not be the end for Judah. He has that confidence and knowledge because the promised Savior has not been born yet. He knows that the Messiah must come from Judah. Habakkuk clings to this truth. He stands on the solid Rock that is God and his promises. Habakkuk trusts God as his covenant Father, so he says in chapter 2:1 that he is going to wait for God to bring an answer to his questions. He trusts God will answer him—and God does.

God’s answer comes to Habakkuk in the form of a vision of divine judgment on the Babylonians, whom God would eventually punish through the Medes and Persians. Though it would seem to the people of Judah that this vision was slow in coming, God proclaims that it will come at the perfect time. God’s timing is always perfect! In verse 4, God tells Habakkuk to live by faith. By faith, he and the people of Judah need to patiently wait for deliverance. God commands Habakkuk to write down the vision along with the five woes against the sins of Babylon (Hab. 2:6–19). This is so that the elect in Judah may know and live by faith that this judgment will come. The Lord cannot lie!

In chapter 3, Habakkuk responds to God with a prayer of faith and humility that is meant to be sung. He knows Judah deserves her punishment, so he says, “In wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2). “Lord, we deserve this punishment. Forgive us because of thine own mercy, God. Remember mercy and let this punishment serve our good. Let this destroy the wicked in Judah and preserve the faithful in her.” Habakkuk goes from fear to faith over the course of just a few verses (3:16–19). He says that although bad things are coming in the form of the Babylonians, yet he will rejoice in the Lord. He trusts God, even without seeing the actual plan of salvation come to pass. Trust brings joy not in circumstances, but in Jehovah God. The joy of the Lord is Habakkuk’s strength!

Does the voice of Habakkuk in chapter 1 not sound like us today? “God, I see abortion, shootings, hatred, greed, and fighting in the world! And the church is no better! There is anger and hatred, murder with words, violence, and many other terrible sins in her. Lord, please do something! We are sinning against each other and against thee!” We wonder if the wicked will be held accountable and whether sin will be justly punished. Friends, God’s answer to Habakkuk is the same as it is to us! He is doing a work that we wouldn’t even believe if he told us (Hab. 1:5). While we wait for him to reveal his plan to us, we need to be patient. We need to trust him! We need to bring our sorrows and worries to him in prayer. Tell your soul to be still, for your heavenly Friend is leading you through thorny ways and will bring you to a joyful end.

Our God is always working. He doesn’t start working on something when we start praying about it. Rather, he is always working. He had Judah’s story and yours planned out for eternity. His plan and promise for you and for me is the same: to work everything—the good, the bad, and the downright ugly—for our good and to conform us to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:28–29). Live in this promise. Trust your Father in heaven. He loves you and he always keeps his promises. He is always with you even in the challenging trials and times of questioning in your life. Ask him for wisdom in your circumstances. Pray that God will show his plan to you. But if it is not his will to do so, pray fervently that he will uphold you and give you patience. Heavenly Father, give us the grace to trust in thee!

 

Date Read Study Question Sing or Pray
Aug. 8 Habakkuk 1:1–4 When was the last time you felt as if God wasn’t hearing your cries? Pray or sing Psalter #123
Aug. 9 Habakkuk 1:5–11 Do you remember a specific time when God gave you a very clear answer? Have you talked about this wonderful gift with others? Pray or sing Psalter #241
Aug. 10 Habakkuk 1:12–2:1 Has God ever answered your prayers with a plan you would not have chosen? Have you yet seen how his answer worked out in your life? Pray or sing Psalter #87
Aug. 11 Habakkuk 2:2–4 Are you living by faith in God or faith in yourself (pride)? Pray or sing Psalter #99
Aug. 12 Habakkuk 2:5–8 Have you ever had so much greed that you stole from someone? Have you repented from that sin? Pray or sing Psalter #216
Aug. 13 Habakkuk 2:9–11 Are you more focused on wealth than you are on Christ and his church? Repent and ask God for grace to escape that sin. Pray or sing Psalter #156
Aug. 14 Habakkuk 2:12–14 Bullies make others low with their actions and words to bring themselves higher. Does this describe you? Pray or sing Psalter #13
Aug. 15 Habakkuk 2:15–17 Have you pressured others to commit sins (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.) with you? Pray for forgiveness from God and ask those whom you pressured to forgive you as well. Pray or sing Psalter #151
Aug. 16 Habakkuk 2:18–20 Do you put your own idols (self, money, your phone) before God? Remember God is in his holy temple, and he alone deserves the honor we give to the silent gods in our lives. Pray or sing Psalter #20
Aug. 17 Habakkuk 3:1–16 Do you use the history of the church of old to praise God? If not, do so! He is ever faithful! Pray or sing Psalter #121
Aug. 18 Habakkuk 3:17–19 Are you able to rejoice in the Lord even in times of hardship? Pray or sing Psalter #374
Aug. 19 Deut.
28:45–52
Are you serving the Lord with joyfulness and gladness of heart (v. 47)? Pray or sing Psalter #122
Aug. 20 Psalm 13 Do you feel as though your enemies are exalting over you? Sing to the Lord with David because God deals bountifully with us! Pray or sing Psalter #22
Aug. 21 Psalm 5 Are you asking God daily to make his way straight before you? Pray or sing Psalter #10
Aug. 22 Psalm 110 Do you have confidence that our great God will keep his promise to destroy the wicked? Pray or sing Psalter #302
Aug. 23 Habakkuk 1 This is the second time you have read through Habakkuk 1. Is there anything you missed that you are just seeing now? Pray or sing Psalter #224
Aug. 24 Habakkuk 2 Focus on verses 14 and 20. Do you live in the confidence that the whole earth will be filled with the glory of God? Pray or sing Psalter #5
Aug. 25 Habakkuk 3 Find the passages in which Habakkuk talks about Israel’s history. Do you have a history that shows God is faithful? Pray or sing Psalter #20
Aug. 26 Job 13 Focus on verse 15. When God brings you low, do you say with Job, “Yet I will trust in Him”? Pray or sing Psalter #87
Aug. 27 Hebrews 10:24–25 The OT church in Judah was failing at holding one another accountable. Are you seeking to keep fellow saints accountable? Are you gracious when they come to you? Pray or sing Psalter #369
Aug. 28 Hebrews 11 Note the amount of time between the promise and the fulfillment for each of the heroes of faith. God’s plans sometimes take lifetimes to be complete. Are you patient as God fulfills his promises in your life? Pray or sing Psalter #381
Aug. 29 Psalm 17 God protects and provides for his people because he loves them. Do you trust this promise in the lowest valleys of life? Pray or sing Psalter #7
Aug. 30 Romans 1 In verse 17, Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4. How do you show that you live by faith? Pray or sing Psalter #27
Aug. 31 Psalm 90 Life is short. Are you living in God’s ways or are you wasting your life away on things of this world? Pray or sing Psalter #247
Sept. 1 Psalm 33 The Babylonians trusted their own strength. Psalm 33 says that a warrior is not delivered by strength. Do you have confidence that God will avenge you without your help? Pray or sing Psalter #87
Sept. 2 Psalm 16 Do you look forward to everlasting life in God’s presence? Or are you like Judah and focused on this world and its pleasure? Pray or sing Psalter #29
Sept. 3 Habakkuk 1 God welcomes boldness and honesty when his children come to him in prayer. Are you living in the blessing and praying to him daily, even with your seemingly small questions? Pray or sing Psalter #9:1
Sept. 4 Habakkuk 2 It can be so easy to see others in the woes to the Babylonians while missing our own guilt. Do you know your own sins? Are you bringing these to the cross of Christ daily? Pray or sing Psalter #9:2
Sept. 5 Habakkuk 3 Have you ever known you were being chastised by God? Did you praise him through it even though it was hard, or were you angry with him? Think like Habakkuk and worship God! Pray or sing Psalter #9:3
Sept. 6 Psalm 46 Is the God of Jacob your refuge, or are you your own refuge? Pray or sing Psalter #128
Sept. 7 Read all of Habakkuk What is the biggest thing you have taken away from your study of Habakkuk? Talk about it with a friend. Pray or sing Be Still My Soul

 

Originally published August 2021, Vol 80 No 8