This past week I have heard about Habakkuk twice. Habakkuk is not someone you tend to hear about too often. And if God puts something odd in your face like that, you need to sit up and take notice. I know for a fact God was using Habakkuk to confirm something for me.
Recently I have been doing a lot of doing and not enought “trusting” God. Anyone with me? As a member of a busy society, even our “sitting” is done with a phone in one hand and an ipad in the other. We don’t sit too much. We tend not to sit at all.
I knew I had been doing a lot of doing, and I knew God was telling me to trust Him. You see, doing is fine, as long as you don’t worry about it – or get anxious – or feel overwhelmed. But I had allowed doing to get the better of me. I was anxious, thinking about the “what ifs,” not trusting God to lead my next step. So I decided to stop rushing and to start walking. I had to reach over and feel the hand beside me – a hand that was already there.
I got confirmation I was right in my assessment when I heard my pastor’s sermon on Habakkuk. He talked about Habakkuk waiting on the Lord. You see, Habakkuk saw something really horrible going on around him. God’s people had turned to idols, were acting corruptly, and were making a mockery of God and His rules. Habakkuk had had enough. He was fretting. He called out to God, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear?” That tells us, Habakkuk had been praying a while. This wasn’t his first prayer. Perhaps Habakkuk had been dong a lot of doing and not enough trusting, just like me. And like me, Habakkuk may have dropped to his knees and said, “Can’t take it anymore God! WHERE ARE YOU?!”
I think part of our reason behind doing and not “trusting” is that we know bad things do happen and we worry that bad things will happen. We tend to focus on the “what if’s” without taking it a day at a time. We tend to over think God, knowing that bad could come, and not trusting God to do anything about it, or lead us through it, or lead us out of it. We don’t want the bad. We want what we think is “good.” Let’s take Habakkuk. Habakkuk wanted God to change the people, not destroy the people. But when God answers Habakkuk, God says the people are toast. He is stirring up a nation more wicked than they are, and this foreign power was going to crush them.
Think that was why Habakkuk may have been doing a lot of doing? He didn’t want the people to be crushed, he wanted them to be changed. God knew better. He had given them chance after chance. Only punishment would bring them back to Him. Only a slap in the face would change their direction.
Habakkuk had been spinning around like a bee, pointing his finger at the people and challenging God to do something. Now, when Habakkuk gets God’s answer, he is stunned. He lifts up his head to the heavens and says, “God, why THAT?” And then Habakkuk sits and waits for God to answer.
“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, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.” Habakkuk 2:1
In those days, the watchpost was where you went to be alone. In those days, the watchpost was where you went to look for enemies coming. The watchpost was a place of solitude, a place of reflection. We should take a lesson from Habakkuk. When life does overwhelm, you need to find your watchtower – and you need to find it fast. You can only spot the danger from the tower. You can only be alone with God on your tower. That may mean turning off your phone for the morning. It may mean shutting down your computer for the day. It may mean going for a hike in the woods. But it does mean getting alone with God.
Habakkuk did that – immediately. He sat his tuchus down and waited for God to answer. I wonder how long he waited? Scripture does not say. It just says, “And the Lord answered.”
I can tell you this, I betcha by golly wow it wasn’t in the next heartbeat. You see, Habakkuk was spun up – just like I was. God had to let Habakkuk’s mind ease, his muscles relax, and his focus to turn back to God – not on the problems around him – no matter how horrible they were.
When we get spun up and overworked or overwhelmed, we tend to lose sight of the One in control. When we lose sight of Him, we tend to take control. And when we take control? Well, things get messed up.
If we believe God is who He says He is, then we don’t have to worry about the people around us or the enemy coming because if God is who He says He is – we will trust Him.
“Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you; for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you – Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear, I will help you.” Isaiah 41:10, 13
“I love you, O Lord, my STRENGTH, The Lord is my ROCK, in whom I take refuge. He is my SHEILD and the horn of my salvation, my STRONGHOLD. ” Psalm 18:1-2
Habakkuk’s strength was God. Habakkuk’s rock was God. Habakkuk’s shield was God. Habakkuk’s stronghold was God.
No enemy is stronger than God. So pebble can penetrate His rock. No arrow can pierce God’s shield. No earthquake can break His stronghold.
Troubles may come – just like they did for Habakkuk. But Habakkuk knew who God was and he knew God loved him. The “what ifs” fade away because we trust our Maker.
If we know the enemy is advancing, would we be as content as Habakkuk?
The final words penned by Habakkuk, despite the fact he knew what was coming, are some of the most beautiful in the Old Testament. Listen.
“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 heard 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 upon my high places.”
May the song of our soul be like the song of Habakkuk. No matter what, may God be your strength. No matter what, may you trust your Savior. Enemies will come. Jesus warned us they would (John 15:18-25). But God also promises this:
“Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
God is in the sunshine. And God is in the darkness. Here is the challenge: Shine Him even in the darkness. That is what trust is all about.
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