The prophet Habakkuk sought and received two explanations from the Lord regarding the consequences of sin. Would the Lord ignore evil among His covenant community? No, God would use the Babylonians to punish His children. Would the Almighty allow a pagan people to destroy His beloved nation and face no sanctions for their brutality and idolatry? No, there would be a reckoning for Jerusalem’s foes, but the righteous would need to wait upon the Lord, trusting that God would do what was right at the proper time.
When Jehovah revealed His will to Habakkuk, He also granted vivid images of a future judgment. What was His servant’s response to these frightening visions? He authored a song to the Lord in which he offered this humble petition: “In wrath remember mercy.”
Habakkuk saw more clearly than ever the greatness of God’s being and works. The Lord’s “splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.” God would touch land, sea, and sky in order to defeat His enemies and bring “salvation” to all who called upon His Name. In these fearful deeds of divine warfare, Yahweh would make a distinction between the “house of the wicked” and the lives of His “anointed.”
Habakkuk had learned how to “quietly wait” for the “day of trouble” to come upon those who hated the Jews. The righteous would “rejoice in the Lord” as they lived by faith. Even though the circumstances of life might be very dangerous and unpleasant, Habakkuk would “take joy” in the Holy One of Israel and in His glorious victory. The Lord would give His worshipers strength as they lifted up their voices to Him. If honoring God made sense in the days of the Old Testament, the church should surely praise Him today since we know that the Son of God has secured our eternal happiness through His own death and resurrection.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, we humbly ask that You would remember mercy in Your wrath. We plead the blood of Christ Your Son because You sent Him to be a Substitute for sinners. Your justice already came upon Him centuries ago. There was nothing missing in His atoning sacrifice. Surely our wickedness has been utterly crushed through His death for Your people. We tremble at the truth of Your holiness and Your costly love. The wicked who hate You will not prosper without end. Though we seem empty now, we are full of the joy of Your glory, and we will worship You in the splendor of Your majesty forever.