H is for Habakkuk
It would have been almost too easy to do a post on Heaven, Hell, Holy Spirit, or even hope. I wanted the topic that I chose for “H” to be a special topic. I wanted it to be a real blessing to you and a topic you wouldn’t forget. As a result I prayed for something that I could share with you and here was the answer. Habakkuk!
Allow me to give you just a little bit of background concerning the prophecy he spoke. Then I will share with you why he is so special to me. I will try to be brief.
Habakkuk was a prophet in the land or for the land of Judah in the late 7th century. Very little is known of this prophet and the rest of the Old Testament is silent concerning him. He seems to have prophesized shortly after the fall of Nineveh to the Babylonians in 587 BC. He probably spent his childhood in Judah during the reign of the boy-King Josiah.
So few people take the time to read this book or acquaint themselves with his prophecy and that is a shame. He actually asked God questions that many people ask today. “Is God in charge of history?” “If He is, why do things happen the way that they do?”
Habakkuk cried out to God concerning the violence and the lawlessness that was rampant in his beloved country. He was a man who loved justice but he had seen justice perverted and cried out to God against the wickedness that was prevalent.
The book is set up with two complaints made by Habakkuk to God and then the replies given to him by God. Habakkuk is able to find joy in Jehovah God, the God of his salvation. He is able to find victory over weakness and he was able to discover and experience God’s faithfulness even in the midst of the greatest trials, tribulation, and testing of his life.
When I was laid off in January 2002 I was at the pinnacle of my secular career. I had achieved the second highest position I could obtain and was making very close to the six figure salary that I had dreamed of. I was devastated when I got the news. This new trial drove me back to God and back to the word of God. I began to pray again and study the word of God again after an approximately five year period of being estranged from God.
My study took me first to the epistle of James, since the first chapter deals so heavily with trials. I was then led to the Old Testament book of Job. Eventually I made my way to Habakkuk. I joined him in his journey from his question of “Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up the more righteous than themselves…?” I was with him when he said, “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Then I came to the same conclusion that Habakkuk did. As God unfolded this for me in the midst of our darkest hour, when our home was threatened by foreclosure, when there was no food in the cupboards, when the bill collectors were calling hourly, and I couldn’t find a job – Habakkuk and I came to this conclusion in chapter three, verses seventeen through nineteen:
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,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the LORD, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places.
The fig tree, fruitful vines, olives, abundant food, flocks and herds were all signs of God’s blessing to Israel. The presence of these things signified God’s pleasure and blessing. The absence of these things signified the opposite. Habakkuk is saying, even if you take away every blessing and possession from me, I will still rejoice in God. Why? I don’t look to these things as the source of my joy or the source of my strength. God alone in all of his splendid and majestic character was the source of joy and strength for Habakkuk.
This has now become my source of strength and joy. It doesn’t matter if I loose my house, my car, my job, my savings, or my health. These things don’t provide joy or strength. What matters if that I find my joy and strength in God.
By the way, as a side note – the blessings on Israel under the Old Covenant were mainly physical – land, produce, animals, etc. The blessings on believers and the church under the New Covenant are mainly spiritual (until we come into the future Kingdom of God.) God has not promised us a rose garden this side of heaven.
It was a major milestone that Habakkuk cleared when he came to the point where if all of the indicators or tokens of God’s blessings went missing, he would still find his joy and satisfaction in the Lord God.
Allow me to encourage you to look to God for all of your joy and strength rather than to physical indicators or tokens. Make God your greatest treasure so if, and in some form it will, (at least if you are a child of God) calamity befalls you, you will not loose your joy or strength.
Sadly, many believers never come to see God as their greatest treasure and they many times, in some cases temporarily loose their joy and strength. Since God is invisible and intangible we have a tendency to place confidence, joy, expectation, and trust in our possessions rather than our God.
Finally, in conclusion, these words are still true in my heart during this time of lay-off some eight years later. Even though I haven't found a job as of yet and the house payment is due, I still find my joy and my strength in God and God alone. He has become and is my greatest treasure. He is all I need!