Daily readings and thought for December 12th. “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help”


 Today we started to read the 3 chapters of Habakkuk.  This prophet wrestles with his perception of God’s actions, essentially he has been asking, ‘God when are you going to do something to deal with all the evil around me?’  There are some clues that he is living in the final years of the nation of Judah when Godly kings were men of the past. 

It is an uncommon book in that he is asking God questions, questions we would like to ask!  Then he gives the answers he gets from God.  “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help … and you will not save?  Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention … the law is paralysed … justice goes forth perverted.” [Ch.1 v.2-4]

God’s first answer is that he is bringing the Chaldeans and they will punish the nation. This leads to the prophet’s next question, “Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One?” [v.12] “Why do you idly look at traitors and are silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” [v.13]

The answers from God come in tomorrow’s chapter, “And the LORD answered me: Write the vision; and make it plain … the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end … if it seems slow wait for it; it will surely come … for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” [2 v.2,3,14] 

Until that time surely comes we note God’s words of woe to those who ignore him. 

“Woe to him who gets evil gain” [Ch.2 v.9] “and nations weary themselves for nothing” [v.13].  The nations are striving to do so much at the moment but achieving so little, such as in their efforts to combat climate change – or keep the world’s finances in a stable condition.  It may well be many more problems lie ahead, but what is Habakkuk’s attitude?  “Though the fig tree should not blossom, no fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off …” [Ch.3 v.17]   Despite also being affected by this, the prophet says, “yet I will rejoice in the LORD: I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  GOD, the Lord is my strength” [v.18,19]

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