As Habakkuk recounts God’s mighty deeds throughout the ages and looks forward to a future salvation, we see a foreshadowing of what is to come in Jesus Christ, the true Anointed One.
You have likely heard people called “boomers,” or maybe even “zoomers,” but have you come across the term “doomer?” A doomer is someone who holds a pessimistic view of life, who despairs over impending societal collapse, and feels a sense of helplessness and hopelessness in the face of doom and gloom. In all honesty, as Christians we can sometimes find ourselves with a “doomer” mindset when we survey the world around us raging with wickedness, political corruption, and false worship, and question if God is still working and why He allows such evil. Thousands of years ago, a prophet named Habakkuk grappled with this very situation as he looked around his world and cried out to God in despair. Habakkuk’s inquiries and God’s responses offer us a profound reminder that our faith ultimately centers not on our circumstances, but on Christ, the fulfillment of prophecy.
The book of Habakkuk is unique in its genre. Rather than the book being focused solely on the prophecy or the recipients of the message, it gives a behind-the-scenes peek of a prophet’s prayer life as he wrestles with his message. Habakkuk had observed the violence, iniquity, and destruction around him from his own people and brought his frustration to the Lord, crying out, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” Based on what he knows of God’s holy and just character, he assumes such sinful behavior would be met with swift and heavy punishment—not silence.
God responds to the prophet in an unexpected way. Yes, God will bring justice, but His judgment will not immediately result in the clean, ordered, and obedient world that Habakkuk seems to expect. The Lord’s chosen instruments of retribution are the wicked Chaldeans, a nation more sinful than Judah! Habakkuk wrestles with this. He wonders why God, who cannot look at wrong, will punish wickedness with wickedness? It just doesn’t add up. So again, he makes his complaint known, and awaits God’s reply.
God patiently affirms His plan, but condemns the wickedness of the sinful nations. He broadens Habakkuk’s perspective, and reminds him that though judgment seems slow, it is certain, and “the righteous shall live by his faith“ (2:4). His glory is still the end game, for one day, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (2:14). Habakkuk may not like his imminent circumstances, but God’s plan of salvation is certain, and righteousness will reign in the end.