A Montrose Church Lent Devotional by Pastor Rick
Lent Day 31
Today's reading: Habakkuk 3:2-15
The people of Judah had wondered far from God. Injustice, violence, and conflict permeated the land. Little did Judah know but God was preparing for them a time of great perplexity, soul searching, and repentance. Habakkuk was a prophet who spoke about the sins of the people and the days of judgment that were coming. God revealed to him that the Babylonians, for whom Judah and Habakkuk had great disdain because of the way they treated Judah, were going to be used as an instrument in the hand of God to work judgment on His people. This was confusing to Habakkuk because God was going to use a people more evil than Judah to punish and correct Judah. This didn’t seem right or fair.
There are a lot of things in life that don’t seem right or fair. Yet, the Bible seems to indicate that in His Sovereignty God will use anyone or anything He likes to bring about "his good, pleasing, and perfect" will (see Romans 12:2). In those times people have to decide how to live. God’s answer through Habakkuk was, "The righteous person will live by his faithfulness" (Habakkuk 2:4).
As Habakkuk pleaded his case to God, little by little he came to see the bigger picture of history. In time the Babylonians would fade away and God’s people would go back home to Judah. Habakkuk wouldn’t live to see it all but, in time, Israel would be reestablished. In time, the Messiah would be birthed into history in a small village in Judah. In time, the Messiah would suffer, die, be buried, and then raised again outside the major city of Judah, Jerusalem.
Habakkuk is to be commended for his faithfulness in a time of great despair. In fact, facing only the fact of approaching judgment he made one of the great statements of faith in all history. He prayed, "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:17-19)
On this day in Lent, this leads me to ask just what my praying is like when everything that can go wrong in my world is going wrong and when everything that can fall apart is falling apart. As Horatio Spafford grieved, along with his wife, the loss of all four of their daughters in a storm at sea, he wrote,
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. - Horatio Spafford
Can I trust God this way in my dark nights?
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