Habakkuk – a Dialog with God
The book of Habakkuk was penned around 605 B.C. a mere nineteen years before the Southern Kingdom of Judah was carried away into Babylonian captivity. This short (only three chapters) book chronicles a dialog between the prophet Habakkuk and God.
I’m sure there are many ways to outline the book, but I’ve chosen a simple one.
I. Habakkuk says to God (1:1 – 4)
II. God says to Habakkuk (1:5 – 11)
III. Habakkuk says to God (1:12 – 17)
IV. God says to Habakkuk (2:2 – 20)
V. Habakkuk says to God (chap. 3)
Although the above outline may not seem immediately useful, I believe it is accurate and reveals the entire book as a conversational exchange between the prophet and Yahweh.
The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”
And You will not save.
3 Why do You show me iniquity,
And cause me to see trouble?
For plundering and violence are before me;
There is strife, and contention arises.
4 Therefore the law is powerless,
And justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.
Verse one is a terse introduction revealing Habakkuk as the author and telling us he was burdened. Verses two and following reveal the reason for the word “burden” in verse one. “Oh Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?” This concise inquiry reveals to us this was not the first prayer Habakkuk made to God concerning the spiritual condition of those around him. God did not answer the prophet the first time he broached the subject. How often does God seem distant and aloof when we inquire of Him? Why does He seem to ignore us at times? Why do I have to ask God for the same thing over and over again? There may be a multitude of reasons why God is not immediate in His responses, but in this case, it seems God’s silence caused the burden to develop and grow within Habakkuk’s heart.
Aren’t you glad that God does not answer our every request like a Genie who is responding to a quick rub of his lamp? Can you imagine God immediately showering us with everything our hearts desire? We would experience the shallowest possible relationship with the creator of the universe if we were to see Him as a vending machine dropping down our desires every time we push a quarter into the slot. We would not value His gifts, and more importantly, we would not value Him.
Our perspective of our prayers and His answers can be very revealing. Do we see ourselves as the center of the relationship? Or is Yahweh and His will center stage? Does He server us, or do we serve Him?
When God does not answer our prayer will we abandon the request and stop praying? Or will we persist in our supplications? Will we stay in fellowship with Yahweh and allow Him to develop a burden within us? Will we allow God to work with us in prayer until we have His perspective?
Habakkuk persevered, his burden lifted and was replaced with praise to God.
Like Habakkuk, we should approach God in honesty pouring out our hearts before Him. We should persevere allowing God’s burden to develop in our hearts. We should then carry that burden until God releases us.
What if we approached burdens the way Jesus commanded?
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Do not despair, do not give up. Don’t let the enemy tell you God has not answered because He doesn’t care about you.
Persevere in prayer.
God is so good, and His fellowship so sweet! He is worthy of all praise and worship! Lay your burden at His feet.
All Scripture Quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.