Daily Devotional: Tuesday 3rd March

by William Moody

Habakkuk 1:1–4

1:1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

Habakkuk's Complaint

  O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,
    and you will not hear?
  Or cry to you “Violence!”
    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 arise.
  So the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never goes forth.
  For the wicked surround the righteous;
    so justice goes forth perverted.

(ESV)

Historical Background

931BC Israel is divided in two during the reign of David’s grandson
721BC The northern kingdom of Israel is defeated and taken into exile by King of Assyria.
625BC Assyria begins a rapid decline.
612BC Babylon (Chaldeans) capture Ninevah the capital of Assyria.
609BC Josiah the King of Judah dies at the battle of Meggido after 31 years of godly rule. His godless sons take over as kings.
604BC Babylon defeats Egypt at the battle of Carchemish. Nebuchadnezzar becomes king of Babylon.
598BC King Jehoiachin of Judah carried into captivity by King
587BC Jerusalem destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar.

The book of Habakkuk must have been written sometime after the death of Josiah (609BC) and before Jehoiachin was carried into captivity (598BC). (Read 2 Kings 23-25, 2 Chronicles 35-36)

The book of Habakkuk is made up of two complaints made by Habakkuk to God (1 v1-4; 1 v12-2v1) and each are followed by God’s answer (1 v5-11; 2 v2-20). The book ends with a psalm or prayer in chapter 3.

As we begin to consider Habakkuk’s first complaint (1 v1-4), we see that he is deeply burdened. This is not a situation that is remote from him. He is burdened by something he sees and has to express it out to God.

We need to ask if we are burdened enough by what is happening around us? Are our eyes open and are we moved to bring that burden to God in prayer?

Habakkuk as he prays feels that his prayers are not being answered (v2). The cry goes out ‘How long?’. He prays and prays but it seems to make no difference. Since child hood he has been taught the importance of prayer and that God answers prayer but in this situation it seems to make no difference. He is probably wondering does God not hear, does God not care?

We all go through times of great doubt like that. Maybe you know exactly how Habakkuk feels, you have been praying for some situation to change or for some person to be saved for years, but nothing has happened. It is important to take our doubts and frustrations to God in prayer.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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