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An Encounter With God: Habakkuk

A full moon in the night sky reminding us of Habakkuk's encounter with God.
Photo Credit: Mark Shutt

May 17, 2023

Praying Friends,

Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival. “Prayer is continuing a conversation that God has started through his Word and his grace, which eventually becomes a full encounter with him.” These are the words of Timothy Keller.

Do you have questions about what is going on in this world or why evil and injustice are so rampant?

You are not alone! The prophet Habakkuk wondered the same thing back in the days prior to Israel being taken captive by the Babylonians. He was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah.

Little is known about Habakkuk. His name means “embrace,” and it is suggested by Rabbinic tradition that he was the son of the Shunammite woman mentioned in 2 Kings 4. This conjecture is based on the words of Elisha who said to her, “You shall embrace a son” (2 Kings 4:16).

The writings of Habakkuk are unique and different from all the other prophetic books in that the book is not so much a direct message to the people but rather a conversation, a dialogue between Habakkuk and God.

Habakkuk has an encounter with God!

It starts with confusion and questions in the early verses of Chapter 1, to which God responds by stating there will be judgment from the nation of Babylon. Habakkuk makes another complaint because that didn’t seem fair to him, and God states 5 woes against Babylon in Chapter 2. Then Habakkuk closes off his book with a prayer in Chapter 3.

It is good that Habakkuk brought his bewilderment to God. He went straight to the highest authority and laid it all at the feet of Jehovah!

While it is good to consult with friends, and believers that you trust, it is always necessary to bring your needs and perplexities to your God. He is always there and He longs for your attention. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

You may not hear what you want to hear. This was the case with Habakkuk. You may not even get an answer right away. In Chapter 2, it says that Habakkuk patiently waited for God to get back to him. As you spend time in God’s presence with His Word, you will learn more of the heart of God and how He thinks and acts.

This is what happened to Habakkuk. Through his dialogue, Habakkuk got a clear message from God that forms the core truth about all who believe in and follow God. “The righteous shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).

This statement of God to Habakkuk is repeated 3 times in the New Testament (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38). It is a message that God wants all His people to embrace. It is a truth worth living your life for.

Who are “the righteous”? They are the ones who have trusted Christ for salvation. They have been declared righteous by God through Jesus Christ and His work upon the cross (Romans 4:5).

“Shall live by faith” is a statement that encompasses the whole of our walk with God. We live by faith in a God who is fully trustworthy. Even when we don’t understand life, we can trust Him. Even during extreme turmoil and chaos, we can trust God. Even when everything seems dark and hopeless, we can trust God.

Habakkuk started his book with many questions, yet he closed it with a song of praise, because throughout his conversation with God, he had gotten to know and appreciate a little more of who God is.

This is what he prayed: “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments,” (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

The song starts by stating the bleakness of life and pivots with the word “yet.” Despite the crop failure, and despite the lack of food, and despite the shortage of animals, he says, “Yet will I rejoice in the LORD.”

He rejoices in the God of his salvation. He rejoices in the God of his strength. He experiences the power of God working in him like a deer climbing the high mountains. He sings in the night when all is dark and gives praise to the One who has filled his mouth with praise and his heart with peace.!

May it be so for all of us!

Love in Christ,

Bryan and Rachel


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