Habakkuk 3: 1 - 19
Give Thanks in All Circumstances
I wonder how easily you found your way to this book in the Bible? Habbakuk is one of those little books at the end of the Old Testament that you miss if you blink as you’re flicking through the pages. We don’t know much about him, even how to pronounce his name, but he’s one of those characters that I’m looking forward to meeting in heaven and finding out more about him. Probably the most memorable words he wrote are found in Habakkuk 2: 4, ‘the righteous will live by his faith’.
This chapter is headed in the NIV ‘Habbakuk’s Prayer’. And what an interesting prayer. I don’t know how you pray but here is a man who ‘stands in awe’ of God’s deeds and yet a man who is not afraid to enter into a conversation with Him; arguing and asking questions, trying to find out how God felt, pleading with Him in effect to, ‘do it again in my day God’ (v2). Almost saying, ‘I’m fed up with reading about what You did long ago - do it today, Lord’.
Notice as the prayer progresses how the pronouns change from the impersonal ‘He’ (vs3 - 7) to the more personal ‘You’ (vs8 - 15) and even back to ‘I’ (vs16 - 19). Are you on such personal terms with God? It seems that as Habbakuk takes the time to meditate on God’s deeds, so he comes deeper into His presence and feels safe to open up his heart - though ‘[it] pounded and my lips quivered’ - as he did so (v16). His meditation leads him to the same place as that of Daniel’s three friends (Daniel 3: 17 - 18). Whatever may happen to him - and verse 17 describes a pretty awful state of crop failure and death of his animals, leading presumably to hunger and possibly starvation - he is prepared to say ‘yet I will rejoice in the LORD’.
It’s perhaps too easy for us in the West to quote Paul’s words to the Philippians - ‘Rejoice in the Lord always.’ (Philippians 4:4). But here is a man who was able to do that. It may be that you are facing a situation today where those around you are living in poverty and facing hunger and starvation. What do you say to them? What can you say?
We can but walk in obedience to God’s word and be thankful for His goodness to us while reaching out to those in need and sharing our wealth with them in whatever way we can, in however insignificant a way that may seem. God will bless you as you do so today.
Prayer and Action
Try and turn Habbakuk’s prayer into a song and let his words minister to your heart.
Ask God to show you how you can appropriately share the comparative wealth He has given you with the needy folk you will meet today. Remembering that ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me’ (Matthew 25: 40).
Read I Peter 1: 3 - 9. Be honest with yourself (and God) but seek to praise Him and greatly rejoice in the hope He has given us, and determine to develop a lifestyle of thankfulness where you are giving thanks in all circumstances.