Sunday, March 26, 2017

Block 59: Habakkuk

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“The Lord, who is my master, will make me safe.”  Habakkuk 3:19
Once again, little is known about the minor prophet Habakkuk.  His self-identification as “the prophet Habakkuk” indicates that he may have been a professional prophet, trained formally in the laws of Moses in a prophet school that came into existence after the great prophet Samuel retired.  So assuming that Habakkuk was a formally trained prophet, he most likely also was a priest in the temple. Habakkuk’s prophetic career came at a time when the kingdom of God was at an all time low.  The northern tribes of Israel had been conquered, and God’s people in Judah did not appear to comprehend God’s message: repent or be punished. The Babylonians were ready to invade Judah, and God was conspicuously absent.
In the first section of the Book of Habakkuk, the prophet carried on a lengthy conversation with God. Habakkuk complained that God had abandoned His people, and God replied that he would allow the Babylonians to carry out His punishment.  This was not the answer that Habakkuk had hoped for, so he continued he pleaded with God to punish the Babylonians, not the Judeans.  In Habakkuk’s prophecy, God replied with a list of the wrongdoings that would result in the coming punishment.  As Habakkuk recounted the many sins (pride, greed, violence, murder, corruption, debauchery, destruction of nature, and idolatry), he came to accept that God would establish order by defeating chaos.  In the third and final section of the  Book, Habakkuk closes with a beautiful song of praise and hope.  Habakkuk knew instinctively that God would not destroy all of His people; He would surely save the faithful and would one day destroy the Babylonians.
Often, when we face adversity over time, we question God’s presence in our lives.  We think we are in our fight, and lose sight that God is always with us and ALWAYS loves us.  It’s okay to question what God is doing, but we must always respect and revere our sovereign God, from whom our strength is found.

I chose Three Steps to represent Habakkuk because the Book is divided into three distinct sections:  a dialogue with God, prophecy against a wicked nation, and a beautiful psalm.  Each section is written in a distinctly different way, but all are attributed to the prophet Habakkuk.


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