The Five Woe Oracles
Open Your Bible
Habakkuk 2:1-20, Proverbs 29:18, Hebrews 10:32-39
BY Russ Ramsey
Where in your life are you demanding that God give an account of Himself?
Habakkuk is indignant. Enemies are coming. Bad things seem immanent for God’s people, and like Job, Habakkuk is wondering about the justice of God. From where he is sitting, things are headed in a disastrous direction, and God does not seem to be as moved to act as Habakkuk thinks He ought to be. The wicked seem to be getting off scot-free. And the people of Judah, Habakkuk’s countrymen, are slipping into corruption. All is about to be lost. So in the first chapter of Habakkuk, the prophet asks God to give an account of Himself.
In today’s reading of chapter 2, Habakkuk takes a seat and waits for the Lord to answer. Before we look at God’s response, though, consider the ways in which you are sitting right next to Habakkuk, tapping your fingers on the table, waiting for God to clear His throat and apologize for failing to do the good thing that seems plainly right to you. In what areas are you trusting in your own perspective so much that when God doesn’t do what you expect, you assume the problem lies with Him?
The Lord responds to Habakkuk by saying that He sees everything, knows everything, and will judge everything rightly, with perfect justice, holiness, and strength. As surely as the Lord lives, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD’s glory, as the waters cover the sea” (v.14). Take some time to read this chapter slowly. Maybe even read it aloud to catch every phrase. The absolute power and assurance of God’s justice rings out with a steady, fearsome clarity. God will not be overcome. No one will thwart Him.
I sometimes evaluate God’s performance in my life based not on what He does, but when He does it. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually in a hurry. When God doesn’t act quickly, do you wonder what’s wrong with Him?
I take comfort in passages like this because they remind me that God is working on a larger scale than the one I see. Habakkuk’s prayer for justice was in response to the injustices he could see. His nation was falling apart, and he wanted God to patch it back together. But God’s plan to deal with the problem of injustice had an unimaginably greater reach than what Habakkuk or the people of Judah could see. God’s vision for justice and healing went beyond what they could imagine—all the way to a cross on Calvary and an empty tomb.
We think this world is a fragile place, that one mistake or missed opportunity could bring everything crashing down to the ground. But today we are reminded that “the LORD is in his holy temple; let the whole earth be silent in his presence” (v.20). Rest easy. God sees more than you or I can see, and He is good. All the time. He needs to give no other account of Himself than the death and resurrection of His Son. That’s enough.
Written by Russ Ramsey