Monday, March 4, 2013

My New Favorite Author: Habakkuk

When our boys were little, they started calling Sundays "Church Day".  So yesterday was Church Day and our Pastor inspired my post for today.

Yesterday we enjoyed wonderful worship at our church, then Hubby, our Engineer, and I enjoyed a yummy Italian lunch (Engineer's pick).  After returning home, I spent some time fulfilling my March Quest by enjoying a couple chapters in my book before working on a project I needed to complete. 

Today, after a busy morning, I took a little time after lunch to read another chapter.  I also read a book in the Bible - the entire book of Habakkuk.  Yes, there really is a book in the Bible called Habakkuk.  It's near the end of the Old Testament sandwiched between Nahum and Zephaniah (yes, they are really books in the Bible too.)

While it may be a little known book, I was interested to find that it had a lot of relevance in our lives today.  I really can't remember if I have ever read this book before, so what caused my sudden interest in Habakkuk?  Our Pastor announced at the end of service on Sunday that he would be speaking on this book for next couple Sundays. 

It will be intriguing to hear what our Pastor will share about Habakkuk in his sermons.  As I began reading the book this afternoon, I was struck with how his very words could be ours today.  Here is what it says at the beginning of Chapter 1:

Habakkuk’s Complaint
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

This caught my attention quickly, because so many of Habakkuk's complaints to the Lord are ones we hear people complain about today: violence, injustice, wrongdoing, destruction, strife, conflict, laws seem to be useless, justice doesn't always prevail, the wicked are against the righteous, and justice seems twisted.  Sound familiar?  I guess we aren't the first country to have problems.

And interestingly, whenever problems arise, there seems be that question, "Where's God?  Is He listening?  Why didn't He step in and help, or better yet, stop it?  Why?

In the verses that follow, God lets Habakkuk know He is still God, He is in control, and He has a plan.  In chapter 1:5, God says:

Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.

God and Habakkuk continue their discussion for three chapters - the complete book of Habakkuk. 

In the end, Habakkuk knows he truly can rely on God to take care of everything.  At the end of chapter 3 in verses 17 - 19, he says this:

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,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

Verses 17 and 18 are special verses to me, because they are a set of verses my students memorized when I was teaching in a classroom.  We used a really good memorization program call "Memlok" and our students captured an amazing amount of God's Word in their hearts each school year. 

Whenever I read or hear a verse my students learned through Memlok, it just makes me smile.  I picture those sweet children lined up at my desk ready to recite their verses for me.  It was such a blessed time of my school day.

The last verse 19 has been a favorite of mine since I discovered it in my teens (so I'm guessing I read at least part of Habakkuk then!)  I believe I first heard this verse in Sunday School class taught by my Aunt.  I loved it from the first time I read it. 

I'm not exactly sure why I connected to it then, but I love the reminder that God is our strength.  Habakkuk is right!  God will enable us to accomplish whatever we need to do!

I enjoyed reading Habakkuk today and I look forward to hearing our Pastor's sermons in the coming Church Days.  I'll happily share the links to the sermons when they are posted on our church website.

Giving myself the time to read each day, means that instead of thinking about "reading ahead" before next week's sermon, I actually did it.   I'm so glad I did.  I like Habakkuk.  He's someone I can relate to more than I ever expected.

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