“GIVING LIFE TO THE LIFELESS”
“O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2)
Seldom do we read anything from the small book of Habakkuk. It is tucked away in the midst of the Minor Prophets in our Bibles. This entire section is mostly overlooked by preachers and teachers alike because of its seemingly limited content that we can draw from in our Christian life today. We tend to judge the worth of a Biblical book based on significant or exciting incidents that can be practically applied in our lives. Jonah, Malachi and even Joel are such books that offer those types of illustrations and contemporary instructions.
Habakkuk is a book that deals with Israel’s continuing decline as a nation and a people who continued to depart from their God. Habakkuk’s primary concern was that the holiness of Jehovah should be vindicated and in turn Israel should receive the chastisement due them because of their unfaithfulness. We see the prophet’s condemnation and grievance toward his own people as he pens the first few verses of this book. But God had other plans for Israel; chastening would surely come, but God intended an ultimate cleansing of the nation to be administered as He prepares them for their glorious future.
There are some practical applications for the Christian in this book as well. We live in a world of unbelievers and Bible skeptics. Warning after warning is given of future events that will certainly take place, both on a local and national level, not to mention what will occur on a personal level. Note the voice of God, “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you” (Habakkuk 1:5). Our nation is in the midst of the most serious financial crisis since the “great depression” that happened over 80 years ago. Folks all over are more than just concerned, they are worried. People are more concerned about the economy than their personal relationship with God, although many question His whereabouts during these critical days. The fact is, this is nothing compared to what is yet to come. When you tell people of future (prophetic) events they simply “blow it off” as nothing but religious “scare tactics” (Note Habakkuk 1:5—again).
Habakkuk pleaded with the Lord to send revival. He knew that terrible times were in store for Israel. He knew that a series of catastrophic events would surely occur, just as God had said. His prayer was that, in the midst of the years of great trouble that God would give life to the lifeless. God’s work had all but stopped in Israel, there was no regard for the Word, there was no resistance toward sin, and there was no respect for the man of God. Once, all these things had been in place, but now they are missing, but the people lived as though they never existed. Habakkuk’s prayer continued by stating, “. . .in wrath remember mercy.” We need God’s mercy today. We need revival so that we accomplish the work of God. Those who are lifeless need life!Pastor H. Preston Parker