|@December 7, 2023
|ESV Prophets Plan 2023
Review conducted using the TGC’s Knowing the Bible: Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah by Camden M. Bucey. All pull quotes are taken from this resource.
God’s people had fallen into grave sin. As a nation, they had abandoned the Lord, and he would now bring the covenant curses upon his people. Yet he is gracious and has heard the cries of his servant Habakkuk and others who have looked to him in faith. He was at work to bless his people even before they had cried out to him. In Romans 8, the apostle Paul teaches that the Holy Spirit “helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26).
What a wonderful reminder that God demonstrates His grace by His Spirit interceding for us despite our weakened prayers. They may be clunky or inarticulate, but in seeing our hearts, the Spirit steps in to refine our prayers and make them ready for delivery.
God’s grace transcends our understanding. He challenges Habakkuk to “wonder and be astounded,” for he is “doing a work . . . that you would not believe if told” (Hab. 1:5). A temptation in prayer can be to tell God how he should answer. This presumes that we know what we need in any given circumstance. However, in Isaiah the Lord declares, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8–9). We cannot comprehend God’s ways…God surprises his people and exceeds their greatest expectations.
How true this has been of my prayers. Thinking I have a firm grasp on what I need, I ask but the answer often does not come as I expect. Instead, it is far better. It is something for which I would have never asked. We are to come to Him for everything, but also trust in the transcendent efficaciousness of His answers to be exactly what is needed.
Prayer is the framework by which we express our burdens to God.
A really good definition of our prayers of supplication. There are other dimensions to prayer, but it is beneficial to understand it as a framework of expression.
The fulfillment of God’s prophecy would not come immediately; it awaited “its appointed time” (Hab. 2:2–3). Therefore, Habakkuk was to be patient (v. 3). Judah would be judged soon, but judgment upon the Babylonians would come later. God is gracious to reveal his plan to Habakkuk. As it did generations ago, God’s Word calms our restless hearts and provides comfort today.
This distinction between patience and restlessness is helpful. By default, our hearts are restless because we are born in the bondage of sin and separation from God. We lack patience because we lack trust and relationship with God. Through the work of Jesus this relationship is restored and by our union with Him we are granted the divine patience and rest we desperately seek.
…faith in general is meaningless. Faith is only saving faith if it has the proper object. That is, it truly matters only if it is faith in Christ. Saving faith is an abiding trust in God that he will accomplish all that he has promised to do. Jesus Christ is the object of saving faith, for he has been faithful to establish a new covenant in his own blood, having died for the sins of his people and having been raised for their salvation. The one who believes on Jesus will be spared from judgment, for he shares the perfect righteousness of Christ (Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9).
In the end, faith will amount to nothing if not placed on Christ. This speaks to the worthlessness of the adage, “It’s not so much what you believe. It’s how hard you believe it.” Having a strong faith in the wrong thing simply leads to a faster and fuller destruction. The only path to the Father is through the Son and only in Him we are to place our faith.
Such a great review day today to reflect on the truths contained in Habakkuk. Despite being a short book, there is so much to unpack about God’s supremacy in knowledge, Habakkuk’s struggle to comprehend God’s ways but still remaining steadfast in his faith. This study of the Prophets continues to be incredibly fruitful and I am so thankful for the Spirit’s illumination of the riches they contain.