you pray in the midst of bad times? How do you approach God when
everything seems to you to be going from bad to worse? What is your
attitude when God answers, but not in the manner in which you asked? What
is your response when to your perspective God contradicts His own righteousness?
Welcome to Habakkuk, the
Hebrew prophet in the seventh century B.C. God taught him how to trust Him when
everything is filled with confusion and perplexities. Where is God? What is He
doing? Why doesn’t He do something now? Habakkuk sounds like us when life
begins to unravel and fall apart.
Habakkuk teaches us how to
pray and trust the LORD God when we don’t have the answers. Let’s center our
thoughts around an acrostic
P R A Y E R.
P – pursue God.
That is what prayer is all about. Habakkuk asked, “How long, O LORD, will I
call for help, and You will not answer?” (1:1).
Yes, it is a
complaint. His heart is full of anguish. But He is pursuing God. He knows
that He has the freedom to go into the presence of the LORD God and open his
heart to Him. Are our times bad? Are we experiencing a spiritual desert? Are
we in the need of revival? That is when God invites us to come into His holy
presence. That is when we realize that we need Him. Those are also the times
when He comes in His mighty power to help us. "I will stand on my guard post
And station myself on the rampart; And I will keep watch to see what He will
speak to me, And how I may reply when I am reproved" (Habakkuk 2:1, NASB 1995).
The LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him” (v.20).
R – examine self
and confess sin.
“LORD, I have heard the report about Thee and I fear. O LORD, revive Thy work
in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath
remember mercy” (3:1). The prophet confessed his fears and asked God to revive
His work. He prays that God’s work, not his own plans, will be renewed. “Renew
your deeds; receive your work,” is the prophet’s confession. He was praying for
The only way we
dare approach God is in humility and a plea that He be merciful to us. We need
to ask God to do a new work in us. In Your wrath please remember us with mercy.
A – ffirmation of
what God is doing.
The prophet asked God why He wasn’t doing something about the iniquity,
wickedness, destruction, and violence in the land. The LORD told Habakkuk that
He was busy doing something. “I am doing something in your days – You would not
believe if you were told” (1:5).
The God of history
was busy at work. “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans” (v. 6).
Babylonians! Yes. Things are not always as they appear to us. There is no
power in the world that is not ultimately controlled by Him. Every nation of
the earth is under the hand of a sovereign God. God is over all – even the evil
Babylonians! The events of history are not random accidents; they follow God’s
eternal plan (cf. 3:3-15). The LORD God is the Lord of history. He is in
control of history, and He will continue to accomplish His eternal purpose of
redemption for His people.
Y – ield yourself
to the LORD God.
Habakkuk did not like what he heard God reveal. "Your
eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with
favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You
silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?" (Habakkuk
1:13, NASB 1995).
This is where the
prophet grew in His knowledge of God and understanding of His ways with men.
What is God teaching me that needs to be corrected? Let us learn to judge
everything in the light of His eternal purpose. “The righteous will live by his
faith” (2:4). God is still the eternal God, and nothing catches Him by
surprise. Nothing can separate us from His love. It is in those moments we
must reaffirm that conviction and yield to His sovereignty.
E – xpect God to
answer according to His will.
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as
the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14, NASB 1995).
In time God will
answer according to His eternal purposes. God controls history. The
Babylonians did not rise up on their own. God raised them up to accomplish His
purposes in the history of Israel. They were the tool in God’s hand for
correction and purification of His people. Look for God’s answer in His Word.
God will answer your prayers, and you will be able to stand back in awe and say,
“I saw God do it.”
ejoice and give thanks to God. Habakkuk closes with a doxology. “Yet I
will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God
is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on
my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments” (Habakkuk
3:18-19, NASB 1995).
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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