3 November 2007

Habakkuk 3:17-19

"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord: I will exult in the God of my salvation." (v.18)


Very little is known about Habakkuk, but he probably lived between 605 and 589BC and saw the nation of Judah turning its back on God. The people had forgotten him and given herself over to false gods and to evil pursuits. Habakkuk speaks of sin, violence and vice as being rampant among the people of God, while those who ruled over God's people were slack and indifferent. The law of God was not being applied. There was spiritual falling away and moral decline.

In trying to make sense of this situation, Habakkuk learns that God is going to use another nation (Babylon) to punish the nation of Judah. This creates more confusion and so, earlier in chapter 3 he looks back on the history and experience of God's dealings with the nation. He is brought face-to-face with God. He looks at the present in the light of the past and sees that God always saves his people in their distress. He always preserves the honor of his name.

So, standing upon that plateau of faith, of all that he has seen and experienced of God, Habakkuk could have made a statement like this: "I will praise him. Even if every visible prop holding me up is knocked away from under me, I will stand up and I will praise the Lord my God. And I will do that because I have seen my God. I have seen that his ways are always ways of holiness and faithfulness." (My interpretation of v.18)

It was out of a personal and amazing experience of salvation that Habakkuk was able to pledge that he would give God thanks always, no matter the external state. He knew that he belonged to the living God and that he therefore always had a reason to be thankful.

In the western world we have so many physical props that we can rely on to get us through each day, I wonder how much we rely on God to guard and guide us and how much he asks us to use our own common sense that he has given us.

To Ponder

As you look back on your experience of walking in God's ways, have you ever felt something of Habakkuk's confusion and then hope? What did you learn about the nature of God and yourself during those times?

Bible notes author

Susan Johnson

Susan has recently moved house from the north east coast in Durham to the west coast in Cumbria. After completing eight years as the Darlington Methodist District mission and development enabler she is taking time out to explore what next, but hopes to get involved with the local foodbanks in the area.