e diel, 22 korrik 2007

Habakkuk-a brief overview

So- have you ever finished watching the evening news with all the violence and injustice in the world and ask, "Where is God in all this?" "Why isn't God doing something?" "Why do those people get elected into the White House?" This isn't a new feeling. In fact, a man named Habakkuk wrote about it in the 600s BC.

His very name means to embrace or Wrestle and as is common in Biblical texts, the meaning of the name has a lot to do with the message he had to bring to us. His book is more or less a journal of his personal interactions with God-His wrestling with God. I don't know about you but I don't want my personal interactions/conversations/arguments with God written down for generations to come to read about!! The book is a series of questions from Habakkuk to God and subsequently answers from God. In the end, chapter 3, there is a praise song from Habakkuk to God. The purpose of the book was to prepare people to live faithfully in the midst of an unexpected downturn of events-

We've heard the saying sometimes God calms the storm and sometimes God calms God's people.

Basically, the book helps us learn how to deal when all hell breaks loose.

Chapter 1 deals with six different problems-his list is repetitious but it shows how bad things were-There was sin, wickedness, no justice in the courts- does this sound like our world today? Habakkuk thinks-- why is God so indifferent-or inactive- apparently he'd been praying for a long time as he says- HOW LONG GOD must I cry....

God answers Habakkuk and says-I've heard you- so I'm sending the Babylonians to conquer Judah. This would be like us praying about the wickedness in America and God answers saying- I've heard you cries so I'm sending Saddam Hussein to destroy America! Holy COW- What we would say to God- How we'd respond? Would we say God didn't answer our prayers?

To me- this points to another lesson we can learn from Habakkuk- that is- God does not always answer our prayers the way we'd expect God to answer our prayers or the way we'd want God to answer our prayers.

Wow- So Habakkuk- says, "God, this can't be right - they are evil" (in fact, let me tell you how evil and Habakkuk describes their evilness) and then he says, "I will wait God- I'll wait for another answer." Of course I'm putting this all in my own words.

Habakkuk is also teaching us to Wait - expectantly - for another answer- He has received one answer but he's going to wait for another. He is -- like me-- perhaps like you-- searching for understanding.

I think this also teaches us that it is OKAY to question God. Even the most Godly prophets question God- it's okay. We don't have to explain to our friends and family who are experiencing turmoil and/or tragedy-- that God has a plan- it is God's will or if you just have enough faith- In fact, I have personally seen these types of answers do more harm than good- why not just say- It's okay, friend/sister/brother- to question God. While we search for understanding - God understands.

So- God answers back to Habakkuk who was questioning the first answer he got from God- God says back to him - basically-"Habakkuk, Don't worry about the Babylonians- they will get theirs too."

God says- just go write this down- and hurry! Why do you think God said write this down? Perhaps-- to give the people HOPE. There is one thing people can not live without. In the midst of DEPRESSION or DESPAIR you can live without many things but if you lose hope- people die- Without hope - people commit suicide.

When justice tarrys we think it will never come- but God says it will. Reminding people of this is like giving them light at the end of the tunnel--It is faith in God that allows us to see that light at the end of the tunnel and it is the light at the end of the tunnel that helps us get through the tunnel.

Habakkuk vents if you will-- through the woe oracles- how bad those people are that will attack us- and they will get theirs.

In chapter 1 - Habakkuk was "low." He was worrying over the world as it was- In chapter 2, he goes to the watchtower to wait for a second answer- and in chapter 3- he is praising God who makes him walk on high places- (I'm reminded of much afraid in Hinds Feet on High Places- an allegory of the Christian walk. You should read it- it's quite entertaining.) In Habakkuk, there is, similarly to that book- a steady progression of his spiritual life upward.

There is within Habakkuk- a mourner's litany-all the loss or fear of loss and YET I will rejoice---I found it useful in my own life to construct my own personal mourner's litany-borrowing from Habakkuk's book and writing down a line of loss or fear of losing and then at the end of the line adding the "YET" I will rejoice because...expressing my assurance in God's provision in All circumstances.

We can learn a great deal from the "Old School" and I'm glad my interest in it has been rekindled - "The color of Hope- Cross" picture seemed appropriate for this blog.

May you always know Hope - even in the midst of chaos.

1 koment:

SpiritMists tha...

I read Habakkuk for the first time last year when I had to TEACH it in a n Intro to Bib Studies class for undergrads....and I was quite taken with the language and message...thanks for your thoughts and experience with this little gem