Habakkuk knew his history. He knew who God was and what God had done in the past. He knew about the rescues and the punishments. He had heard of the nations that had risen against God and been destroyed. He knew all of the loving kindnesses God had shown to Israel. He also knew he was standing in a time when the wrath of God was being displayed for idolatry and disobedience. A reading of chapter two will send a chill down your spine.
What are people to do? I love the ending of chapter two, “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth be silent before him.” NIV
The next chapter is Habakkuk’s prayer. Think of the sequence. Before prayer must come the acknowledgment of who one is praying to. When one enters the Holy of Holy’s and kneels before the mercy seat of God he needs to remember that he is a sinner in the presence of an awesome God. A moment of reverent silence before God will help us remember whom we are praying to.
“Lord, I have heard of your fame,” Habakkuk prays, “I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”
It is helpful sometimes to remember that God is a God of wrath and that he is God, high and lifted up. We are but dust. Mankind is dependent upon the mercy of God. We pray to an awesome God who has done marvelous deeds but has also destroyed his enemies. Read chapter two of Habakkuk again. Should make us stop and remember that God is in his holy temple and we should be in silent awe.
At the same time, those of us who are his children have no fear of God. As we walk in his light he continually shows us mercy. It is the result of grace. We are not the subjects of wrath but of grace. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
Dear Father in heaven, we know of your deeds of old when men turned against you. We also know how you reached out and saved those who turned to you. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known, in wrath remember mercy. Amen