Habakkuk’s Hope

            Habakkuk is a representative of all who remain faithful and stand in the gap between unholiness and a Holy God, even if imperfectly.

           What Habakkuk wants is righteous justice that will reveal God to the world as Sovereign King, powerful and able to bring all into His command. To rephrase the Newsboys, “I don’t want to follow a god I can lead around…”.

           “Show yourself to the nations, Lord! Let them know you are the God Who is There.”

            What does Habakkuk do as our representative?

           We have already seen that he turns to God in his despondancy, taking his case directly to God in a secret place away from the din of the world. He sets his mind on God. He will judge the situation when he has heard from God Himself on the matter. Yet petition is not the end of intercession, but the beginning.

The Patience of Hope

            In his commentary on Habakkuk, John Calvin makes a most crucial point: after making his case to God, Habakkuk remains on the watchtower of faith with the patience of hope. From out of the abysmal situation, hope arises in faith and waits…waits…waits.

            What an important principle we have in this!

            This is where our faith is tried, not out in the grit and press of the world, but here in the place integrity dwells–in secret prayer before Holy God.

          Do I believe God even hears prayer? Am I willing and faith-filled enough to wait on God as long as it takes for him to act in answer to prayer?

The Purpose of Hope

          Calvin further notes that Habakkuk was not waiting for a lightning bolt from heaven giving explanation or reasoning. Habakkuk was not waiting for a “Why?” or a “When?”[1].

            Habakkuk waited patiently for the Lord’s favor to return. He knew the prophecies of old. They spoke of God’s tender mercies and compassion for His people. Habakkuk knew God would accomplish His promises. This gave his hope the stability of purpose.

           Hope is not just personal desire; it is faith that waits with expectancy to see unfolded what has already been decreed. God’s promises are not defunct, yet they wait their proper time.

           Only when the prophet stilled himself before God in expectant faith and hope did the Lord reveal His greater plan.

Personal Reflection

            There are many thoughts for myself on this line.

  • Do I even know what God’s promises are?
  • Have I been reading my Bible in the light of God’s greater plan for mankind? Or only for my own “needs” and desires?
  • Do I need to understand everything before I believe, or can I trust that if God is in control, my understanding will unfold as God reveals it?
  • Do I know how God has worked in the past, so I can trust Him for the future?
  • Do I know what God has already said about the future, and do I believe Him in this?
Habakkuk 2:1

Footnotes:

[1] Job did ask “Why?” and “When?” in his laments. Jeremiah cried out the same in his book of Laments (Lamentations 1-3). Habakkuk does, too, when he cries out to God at first (see chapter 1). However, their turning to God itself is a statement of belief that was grounded on earlier promises and (for Job especially, as a Gentile) the character of God as a Promise-keeper. When they have cried out to God in their mortality, they sit and wait for God to fulfill His promises. Their earlier questions of why and when are rhetorical, they are expressions of anguish. They already have their answer in what God has promised, and so do we. But we come to God to wait in His presence for His fulfillment. And God is about to astound us all with His reply.

© May 2019 by www.ReadPsalm119.com.  Revised from Habakkuk's Tower on May 20, 2019.  
This is the third of a series of reflections on the book of Habakkuk, The Holy Bible.  See Habakkuk's Lament (Pt1).  

WORSHIP

Whispering Hope, written by Septimus Winner (1848) and recorded by Gorden McRae and Jo Stafford (recorded 1949). Uploaded by w3tno on Dec 1, 2009. [YouTube; 3:40 min]. Lyrics are on the screen. This is an old hymn our congregation sang as a child growing up in church. It was a favorite of my father’s and he clung to its message in his last days on earth, as he waited his own promises from God to be revealed in death to await a sure resurrection.

Standing on the Promises sung by Alan Jackson. Uploaded by Gaither Music TV, on August 24, 2017. [YouTube; 1:32]. Full lyrics available at hymnal.net (click on link). Though there is not much “sermon” to this song, the song’s refrain and verses are memorable, scriptural, and helpful as an encouragement in times of waiting. Another old congregational hymn from childhood that has benefitted me through life.


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