Jacob had 12 sons. Juda, the 4th son, became the leader of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, which eventually became a nation. The bible speaks more of the tribe of Juda than any of the others.
Habakkuk, a prophet of the tribe of Juda, was given a very graphic vision of disaster, one that made him almost collapsed at just the thought of what was to come upon the people at the hand of the Babylonians.
Habakkuk saw everything dead or taken. There was no food, no water, nothing that could keep the people alive. Thousands upon thousands would die.
Every vine, every crop taken and the rest burned to the ground. All livestock gone. All possessions ransacked, with the Babylonians taking what they wanted. What they didn’t take, they completely destroyed. Habakkuk saw that there was absolutely nothing left. And then at the end of this pillaging, the Judean’s would become the captives of the Babylonians. Habakkuk is in agony knowing what is coming.
Habakkuk knows that this destruction is from God and that it will happen. He knows the people actually deserved a time of judgement because of the way they have fallen away from God. What worries him most of all is that God is going to use the Babylonians to show them just how far they have drifted; to use people who are known to cause total destruction and take captives, and he worries knowing it will come at the hand of Nebuchadnezzar’s army.
Although Habakkuk is devastated by his vision, he knows that if God is bringing this type of judgement, then the people deserve it. He knows there is nothing he can do to stop it, even if he calls out for God’s help.
So what does Habakkuk do? He praises God!
“How can he possibly do that?” we ask. Habakkuk has faith that God is a just God and although he is not happy with what lies ahead, he can find peace that God is a sovereign and just God and so he begins to praise Him.
Habakkuk has no idea when these events will happen but he has prophesied the events to the people and will now praise the Lord in spite of what the future holds.
He wants to give the people the hope of better things to come, so he praises God and speaks of trust in Him. He wants to encourage the people to have hope, even when everything looks disastrous. He wants them to have the attitude of “not my will, but your will”.
Habakkuk rejoices in the Lord, declaring that God is his strength. He claims that he will not slide, but will have a good foothold and will stand strong. He wants to lead the people by faith.
The last verse (and he will make me to walk upon mine high places) may mean that God is taking the people to places they didn’t want to go, but they can have a good foothold and stand in faith and strength, knowing that God will deliver them from their trials.
The NIV interprets it “He enables me to walk on places I could not go without his help.”
I bless your holy name. You are the eternal King. It is my desire, like Habakkuk, to praise you and glorify you in all times and situations because you know what is best for me, even when I don’t. You know what is truly buried in my heart and what needs to be worked out.
I know Father, that in your holiness, it is impossible for your children to live in sin and rebel against you. I know, that although it grieves you, you are willing to allow me to go through troubled times as well as the good times.
By allowing the Babylonians to go through a time of disaster, I’m sure many of them realized that they needed a shaking up. I’m not meaning to belittle what happened to them, but I do know that many times after we come out the other side of a situation, we can see your reasoning very clearly.
Like Habakkuk, may I always find the strength to praise you, no matter what I’m going through. Help me Father to never slip so far away that I need a lesson like the tribe of Juda needed.
In the name of your blessed son, Jesus Christ, I pray