A hopeful and timely message in Habakkuk

Recently, I turned to the book of Habakkuk for clarity and hope during this time of unrest in our culture. Injustice and idolatry prompted him to cry out to the Lord:

Why do you make me see iniquity and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted (1:3-4).

In addition to rampant moral degradation in the land, Babylon was threatening to invade and destroy. Amid such troubling circumstances in Habakkuk’s day and ours, God speaks through the prophet. I want to offer you three insights that are particularly helpful and applicable to our present circumstances.

1. If we knew what God was up to, we wouldn’t believe it.

Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told (1:5).

What we have witnessed in the past three months is astounding and very unsettling! It can seem to us, as it did to Habakkuk, that life as we know it is spinning out of control. However, what seems like chaos and craziness to us is God accomplishing His purposes. He is in control, and if we were told those purposes, we would not believe it. It is good to be reminded of this.

2. We know where this is going.

So many times in the past several weeks I have wondered, “Is this ever going to end? Will things ever be back to normal? Will Truth78 survive this? Will we survive it? Are we self-destructing? What will happen to us?” There are no certain, short-term answers to these questions but we have the ultimate answer in Habakkuk 2:14:

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 

This is where all of the craziness is leading. When all is said and done, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD. So many in the world are blind to this glory, but they will not always be blind. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil. 2:10,11). This is a sobering, yet comforting reality.

3. We are trusting God, no matter what. 

Habakkuk resolved to trust God, regardless of the outcome.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls… [and we could add, “though COVID-19 consumes us, and our government, health care, economic, security, justice, and public safety systems all collapse…”]  yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-18).  

Our hope is secure. We have an inheritance that no virus, individual, government, court, enemy, nor anything else can take away from us (Rom. 8:31ff). In this we have all the reason we need to rejoice and approach these uncertain days with hope and confidence.