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The Prayer of Habakkukby Sean Estler on March 11, 2020
I have been stuck on the prayer of Habakkuk found in Habakkuk chapter 3 for some time now. I do not know why, but I just keep circling back to it. This prophet is one after my own heart considering he is recorded debating with God instead of speaking to Israel on God’s behalf. As I consider the change of the seasons as we move from winter into spring, I cannot help but echo the words of Habakkuk. Chapter 3:2 says, “Lord, I have heard the report about you; Lord, I stand in awe of your deeds. Revive your work in these years; make it known in these years. In your wrath remember mercy!” and further down in 3:16-19a it says, “I heard, and I trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness entered my bones; I trembled where I stood. Now I must quietly wait for the day of distress to come against the people invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the flocks disappear from the pen and there are no herds in the stalls, yet I will celebrate in the Lord; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!”
I know that God will defeat evil, bring justice to all, and rescue the oppressed. And I know that it will be done in His time and way, but I ask that it would happen soon for our sake and for the sake of those to whom we might have brought injustice and oppression. I really do wonder how often, we see injustice, idolatry, wickedness in others and respond in disgust rather than the compassion and empathy we ask for when others see the same in us. Habakkuk sees a vision of the future destruction of all evil and wickedness and praises God for that. But in the opening of the prayer Habakkuk asks God to revive his wonderful works in the people of Israel and do that wondrous work that we would not believe in the nations (1:5). Would you be willing to pray for your nation that way? Pray that God would soon destroy all wickedness so that we might see his full power and glory and love and mercy! Pray that you can partner with Him and bring that love and mercy into the world now to upend the injustice and wickedness found within your areas of influence. Pray that He comes soon, and even if He does not come soon that you would learn to rejoice with one another and will all humanity as though He has.