Habakkuk. I never knew this minor prophet well. I’ve misspelled his name a few times. Sure I’ve read his book more than once. But except for the last few verses of Chapter 3, I can’t recall much about it. The last several weeks proved I’ve been missing out on deep scriptural wisdom by not studying the book of Habakkuk.
Oh Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? 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. Habakkuk 1:2-3
Just in the first few verses, we can quickly see that many of us share Habakkuk’s sentiments. How long? Oh Lord, how long? Haven’t we been asking the very same question these days? These months? We have something in common with a 7th century BC prophet. As we resonate with Habakkuk’s lamentations, let us not miss the fact that He brought his cries to the right place. He didn’t rant on the social media platform of his era but he also didn’t ignore the gravity of the sins he saw among his own people (i.e. God’s chosen people). In fear and frustration he called upon the Lord and laid his burden on One who is Greater. And so must we.
Indeed the entire book is a dialogue between God and Habakkuk. It is the only book in the bible of such nature i.e. one that is purely a conversation between God and man from the first verse of the first chapter to the last verse of the last chapter. In a sense it is a depiction of intimacy; a living personal connection that allows one to ask hard questions of the One who knows better. It shows a relationship with enough trust that enables a servant to wait and listen until he hears from His Master. What a beautiful lesson on perseverance in prayer. He said, I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me…. Habakkuk 2:1 And so should we.
Why do we need a watchpost? Why must I station myself on the tower? Could it be that God wants to change our perspective? People, things, and life in general would surely look different from that vantage point. After all, He did say “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.” Habakkuk 1:5 He wants to expand our vision; to open the eyes of our hearts that we may see Him and be transformed. God used the watchpost to change Habakkuk’s heart. He began with complaints but concluded with worship.
In the watchpost of prayer and humility, God gives us the grace to look beyond our pain and weariness, in order to gaze at His greatness and majesty. From the tower of faith, we can see that He is in fact working out His perfect plan unceasingly. He is neither deaf to our pleas, nor is he uncaring of our suffering. It is difficult for us to see Him for who He is – the Sovereign God of all nations, when we are focused solely on ourselves and all things that concern us. Our hearts must remain in the watchpost of submission, even when we don’t see the answers coming; even when we don’t understand what God is doing. For the righteous shall live by his faith (Hab 2:4). Let us worship Him, the God of all nations, as we faithfully wait at our watchpost.
“So wait before the Lord; Wait in the stillness. And in that stillness, assurance will come to you. You will know that you are heard; you will know that your Lord ponders the voice of your humble desires; you will hear quiet words spoken to you yourself, perhaps to your grateful surprise and refreshment.” -Amy Carmichael