08 The Prophet’s Comprehension, Cry and Contrition

Habakkuk 3 v 1 – 2

First prayer –
Habakkuk’s lament about Judah’s unrighteousness and coldheartedness.
Second prayer –
Habakkuk’s lament because God used the Chaldeans to afflict Judah, taking them into captivity for seventy years (two generations).
Third prayer –
Habakkuk reveals through this prayer what the Lord has revealed to him.

God told him in the second chapter what He was going to do to the Babylonians in His own due time and that instilled fear in the heart of Habakkuk.

There are three things in these verses:

  1. His  Comprehension
    Before we lament to God we need to know who we are talking to. We need to be able to say with Habakkuk ‘I’ve heard the report of You, I’ve heard what You have to say. I now understand better God’. It’s that comprehension that’s necessary for every human being. If you wake up and you don’t have a sound theology in place – if you don’t know who God is, what He is like and what He is going to do, you can’t go into the day.  We need to comprehend God – to know that He is almighty, all-wise, omniscient, He knows everything, He understands everything perfectly, understanding the work of His own hand. Christians must live with a sound theology – proper doctrine of God.
    God is God, and He is right in His being and behaviour.  All perfect, holy in His temple.
    What do you know about God and His work?
    This world is going to go God’s way.  Most people don’t like that. They are angry and want to change His way.
    We must say: Have it Your way, O God.
    We need to understand how it really is.
  2. His Cry
    When God responded to him, he said: “Your work, O Lord, do I fear.”
    We must fear God more than we fear the Covid virus. People are afraid of the virus, but what is Habakkuk’s response? He fears God.
    If there is anything in your life that you fear more than God and His work, then there is something wrong with you. The reason why we are not crushed every day, is because God is a God of grace.
    Habakkuk said to God: “In the midst of the years (probably the Babylonian captivity), revive Your work, o Lord!”. Don’t just leave us to ourselves and our own devices. Revive Your work, o Lord.
    So often we want Him to revive our work, coming to Him with our plan and wanting Him to bless it, but we must desire for Him to revive His work.
    What will happen in your life if the Lord revives His work in the midst of your years?  How would your life change if God revived His work?  How would your family change? How would your behaviour change? How would your creed, character and conduct change?
    We see in history that the Lord did revive His work – He dealt with Babylon.  He will deal with them all conclusively at the end of time – ‘fallen is Babylon the great!’.
    All world systems that set themselves up against God and His Church – He will revive His work in the midst of the years.
    Habakkuk expresses his fear, knowing that it was going to be terrible, but he wants the Lord to revive it.
    In his comprehension Habakkuk now understands that God is God and God is right – in His being and in His works. He has relented.  That’s where you and I need to get too – in the midst of the years that we find ourselves in now, we must ask the Lord to revive His work.
    I may be wrong, but what I think I see is troubling for western civilization. I think we are seeing the fiercest attack on Western Christian civilization in a very long time – our languages, our culture, our music, our churches, our world and life view, the way we understand gender – have you noticed how confused people are with that? They can’t tell a boy apart from a girl! In the midst of this we must pray that God revives His work. The Lord’s people need to wake up and become aware of what we’re facing.
    It will be fearful and fearsome when the Lord revives His work!
  3. His Contrition
    The fear that he has for God’s being and His power works contrition in his heart, and he has this beautiful cry: “In wrath, remember mercy!”.  I’m sure that he wasn’t only asking for mercy only for the Chaldeans and for Judah, but also for himself – that awareness of own sinfulness and fallenness, an awareness that “if we would get rid of all our bad parts, there would be very little left” (Jordan Peterson). That’s good Christian anthropology!
    That’s when we’re honest with ourselves, and we know that if the Lord had to pour out His wrath on us, he would be just in it, and we have no excuse saying that He can’t do it. All that we can say is when You do it, remember mercy!  Stay Your hand a little Lord –  just put a bit of softness in there as well. He has this deep awareness that we deserve the very worst that God can mete out, and all he can do is cry for mercy. Habakkuk not only knows and understands that God is God and that He is right in His being and behaviour, he also knows that God must be God and do what He does and that all people can only live by grace and mercy. You can live by nothing else  – not our works, character our performance. You can’t balance things out with God.  If God had to pour out His wrath, only one thing can save you and that is Grace and Mercy!
    Grace – when God gives us what we don’t deserve.
    Mercy – when God stays His hand from giving us what we do deserve.

The reason why I am a Christian is because I need God’s mercy and grace.

Habakkuk had a deep pain and had the plea and patience to wait upon the Lord.

Habakkuk’s spiritual growth in this book is beautiful to behold. We must have one desire – that the Lord’s plan come to fruition, revives His work. You must want your life to go the way God wants it to go, remembering that we live by God’s grace alone and God’s mercy alone.