By MINISTER KEITH EVANS
I love the 12 minor prophets that mentioned within the Holy Scriptures, with their strong, poignant messages that are still relevant for all today. Men like Hosea, Joel, Jonah and a plethora of others that wrote under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, transmitting God's plan for humanity prophetically.
The messages of the minor prophets aren't minor, especially within the grand scheme of things as it relates to world events. They are labelled minor because of their volume, and not necessarily their messages. The prophetic messages were weighty.
Habakkuk the prophet, for example, prophesied during a very hostile and volatile period in time. He penned four prophetic discourses pertaining to the coming invasion of Judah by the Chaldeans around the late 7th century BC. Conservative Bible scholars place Habakkuk's prophetic book around 609 BC. He was adamantly appealing to Yahweh God on behalf of his people that were in a state of conundrum, and he outlined these specific messages accordingly. The concerns levied within this prophetic dialogue are phenomenal to say the least.
I can relate with Habakkuk as he shows his patriotism for his nation, as I do for mine, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. Habakkuk 1:1-4: "The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O Lord, how long shall I cry, and Thou will not hear! even cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou wilt not save! Why dost Thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgement doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgement proceedeth."
That's deep! The prophet was under distress because of the lawlessness within the land of Judah among his own countrymen. It seems the strong were taking advantage of the weak and underprivileged. Justice was only for the upper echelon in society, while for the poor injustice prevailed. Sound familiar?
Habakkuk took up the task of questioning God concerning this very thing with a series of questions. As a disclaimer, let me say that I don't believe in going before God in any odd way, but through His word, such as Habakkuk did. How many of us as believers have pressing concerns when it comes to being taken advantage of by the strong? Let me add that as Christians we're going to go through trials and tribulations. Habakkuk opened up his prophetic literature with the word "burden". It is indeed a burden that was heavy on the prophet's heart. Sin in the land and injustice towards the weak are here, too, in the Bahamas. Make no mistake about that.
Habakkuk was calling on God to act on behalf of the oppressed. So God answered, but it wasn't what the prophet had anticipated. Habakkuk 1:5-8: "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall March through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgement and their dignity shall proceed of themselves."
This answer didn't sit well with Habakkuk. God was going to send the Babylonian army to punish Judah. Now the prophet was perplexed and confused about this impending judgement that was about to take place. God was about to move on behalf of the righteous, but the caveat was that the judgement would affect by and large the entire population. We sometimes find ourselves in the same disposition with God.
Judah was not as evil as Babylon, yet God was utilising Babylon as an instrument of judgement to punish Judah. So Habakkuk countered back with this discourse (1:12-13): "Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die, O Lord, Thou hast ordained them for judgement; and, O mighty God, Thou hast established them for correction. Thou art of pure eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest Thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest Thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?'"
So now the dialogue has intensified between the prophet and his God. Habakkuk was crying out against injustice that was being perpetrated against his people by the rich and powerful. God promised him that He would intervene on behalf of the afflicted by means of the Chaldeans. Habakkuk didn't like the idea of a hedonistic nation as the bringer of judgement on Judah.
Sometimes we as Christians find ourselves in this very same predicament. Wanting God to deal with the ungodly on behalf of the righteous and ourselves, but when He begins to act we retract our prayers, as if we can! We must learn to trust God during the process. Habakkuk 2:4: "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by faith." Faith is believing God while trusting Him.
The name Habakkuk means "the one who embraces." Habakkuk had to embrace what the Lord was doing, or rather, embrace God himself. Habakkuk 3:17-19: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments."
You can call me Habakkuk, because like the real Habakkuk who was faced with a real life situations and uncomfortable challenges, so are the most of us. But God through His Son Jesus Christ is our only hope. Trust Him!
• Contact Minister Keith Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter under Wakeupeverybody242.