I enjoy biographies of all kinds, particularly those that tell of “God stories” in the lives of ordinary people. The Bible is a collection of some amazing encounters individuals, families, clans, tribes, cities, even entire nations had with God. I enjoy reading about what God did in the past, but I want a present tense faith.
I think Habakkuk would agree. As we come to chapter three we have concluded God’s comprehensive responses to two of the prophet’s complaints. Habakkuk had his doubts, he had tough questions which were filling his mind and driving him to a deeper walk with God. God had heard those cries and in His amazing grace had used life’s challenges as a “teaching time” for the prophet.
Now it’s time for the prophet to pray. God has spoken. God has revealed truth to Habakkuk, now it’s Habakkuk’s opportunity to respond. Shouldn’t we make a clear response to God every time we hear truth. Having a bigger head is not the goal of bible reading, bible study or bible engagement! I’m sure we all have met “talking heads” – people who are intrigued with religious topics, who know how to “talk the talk” but DON’T genuinely “walk the walk.”
Not Habakkuk! The gap between head and heart is narrowed through prayer.
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth (probably a literary or musical term.)
I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.
God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
What do I know about the LORD? Who has spoken into my life of the LORD’s fame and His deeds? I thank God for parents, pastors, friends, family, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, (shall I continue?) who have told me of what the LORD has done not only from the pages of Scripture but from the pages of their own life-books.
What do I want the LORD to do in our day? Renew His work. Make known His deeds. Open my eyes to see what He is actually doing.
The hymnwriter nailed it with the request, “Open my eyes that I may see, glimpses of truth Thou hast for me, Place in my hand the wonderful key, that shall unclasp and set me free.” Or consider the words of Jesus – “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” O to see properly! O to hear as I should!
God’s wrath was being poured out on His people. They deserved it, as we all do, for deliberately defying His laws. But LORD, in your wrath, remember mercy. God delights to show mercy to those who don’t deserve it but who plead for it. Is not one of the simplest prayers in the Bible, “GOD, BE MERCIFUL to me the sinner!”?
God came… He came to Habakkuk. He came through His Son to Bethlehem. He comes to every waiting heart. Maybe I should pay more attention to the words of the Christmas carols, namely, “Let every heart PREPARE HIM ROOM….” or “O COME TO MY HEART LORD JESUS, there is room in my heart for Thee!” If the Lord should graciously answer these requests I’ll have a present tense faith!