How Long! – Part 2

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!

— Habakkuk 1:2

The book of Habakkuk is all about having the right perspective. We begin the book by examining the right perspective towards prayer. Last time, we began looking at Habakkuk’s opening prayer. He begins with the words, “O LORD, how long?” These are some important words to ask, but only with the right perspective. We saw how it is not unusual for the saints of God to ask this question. Many have prayed this before. Just because it seems as though God is silent, we must continue to pray. We also looked at how God Himself asks this question of US. God has been so very patient with us. It is completely reasonable to wait on His perfect timing.

Now that WE have the right perspective, we will look at some points that are brought up in Habakkuk’s prayer which he prays WITHOUT the right perspective.

  • God’s Seeming Silence
  • God’s Seeming Indifference
  • God’s Seeming Toleration of Sin
  • God’s Seeming Allowance of Injustice

God’s Seeming Silence

“O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!” The Hebrew word behind this word, “cry,” usually indicates a call for help. Habakkuk was called to be a prophet. This was no easy job. Prophets were shunned, resisted, ignored, and persecuted throughout their ministries. If this job was listed in the job listings of the paper, some of the details of the job would be the following:

  • Must be willing to go WHEREVER God wants you to go WHENEVER He asks it
  • Must be willing to preach to people who do not want to hear you
  • Must be willing to leave friends and family
  • Must be willing to preach even it means death

Doesn’t sound like a fun job does it? This was Habakkuk’s job.

He begins his prayer with a call for help. “O LORD, how long shall I cry?” He cries out for help, and there seems to be no answer. He then accuses the Lord, “Thou wilt not hear!” What Habakkuk seems to forget is that the prophets hold a very special place in the heart of God. He destroyed the WHOLE, ENTIRE family of Ahab (multiple generations) to avenge the blood of the prophets (2 Kings, 9:7). One of the main reasons for Jerusalem’s coming destruction was declared by Jeremiah who was a contemporary of Habakkuk. Jeremiah proclaims, “The LORD hath accomplished his fury, he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof . . . For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests . . .” (Lamentations 4:11, 13). We see that even in future judgment, God will avenge the blood of His servants, the prophets (Matthew 23:30; Luke 11:50; Revelation 16:6; Revelation 18:24). Habakkuk in his earthly perspective assumes God does not hear his call for help. He thinks God is silent to his cry. That’s his earthly perspective. What he doesn’t know is that his cry for help entered near to the heart of God even before he cried it. It looks bleak and hopeless to Habakkuk. Habakkuk has his earthly eyes so fixed on how the world was treating him that he doesn’t seem to notice God’s loving arms embracing him in love.

You may be one with the same earthly perspective as Habakkuk had in chapter 1. You cry to God for help, and it seems as though God isn’t hearing. In Habakkuk’s case, he will have to stop fixating his eyes on the world in order to see that God was helping him in a way far more real than he first imagined.

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