“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14 NASB
[Thought Questions for Trusting God’s Goodness May 22, 2013]
1. Filled with God’s knowledge. Remember reading a few weeks ago about the time in the future when people will be gnashing their teeth for a lack of knowledge? Is it hard for us to imagine, as Habakkuk prophesies, a time when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God? How did Habakkuk feel about the reality of his prophecy?
2. Speaking to God. Do all of the Bible prophets speak to God? Or to the people? Or to both? Can you give examples of each means of communication? Why is Habakkuk so bewildered that God allows the spirit of evil to dominate His people? Have you ever wondered why God allows violence and law breaking when it goes against every aspect of His nature? What will it take to reach the point that God’s will reigns supreme?
3. Babylon will do it. Something was earnestly needed to shake up God’s people and turn them in the right direction. What path did God choose? How can God use the wicked country of Babylon to reach His own people, the people of His heart? How can a heathen nation properly punish God’s people? Do you suppose that God ever uses pagan or lawless people groups today to get our attention and turn us to the Lord?
4. Living by Faith. Wait a minute. Wicked though the children of God may have been, were they as wicked as the Babylonians? Instead of punishing His own people for coming short of His plan for Him, why didn’t God promise blessings to woo them back to His master plan? Or at least why didn’t God congratulate the Israelites for being as faithful as they were?
5. Justification by faith. Can you hear the words “The just shall live by their faith” echoing through the ages from Habakkuk 2:4 to the days of the Reformation and the establishment of faith-based Christian churches? Can you follow the Lord in faith and faith alone? Why is God concerned not only about the doctrines we accept but also about our behavior? Is it possible to be unbalanced by putting our hope in faith without works? Or the other way around? (work without faith?)
6. The poetry of justice. What do we miss when we read a poem such as the book of Habakkuk’s as a strictly historical account? How do parallel sentence structure, lists of three, images, and other techniques add to the mosaic of this prophet’s words? When your house is blown to smithereens by a strong tornado, don’t you have a right to become angry with God? Did you deserve to lose all of your possessions? Was it just for little children to die after being crushed by the force of the storm? How can we learn to trust in God no matter what happens?
7. Poetry set to music. In Habakkuk 3 we see notation calling for “stringed instruments” to accompany these beautiful verses of faith and hope. Why not take a few minutes to imagine violins, cellos, harps and other “stringed” instruments playing this harmonious and soul-touching music to accompany the prophets words of hope. How can these visions help keep us focused on the goodness and trustworthiness of God?
8. God our strength. Have you ever felt weary as you look forward to the coming of Jesus to take us home with Him? How long will it be? How can we tolerate this sinful world any longer? Do we really believe that God is good? That He always fulfills His promises? That He has enough love and salvation for all of us? How was Habakkuk able to have such a beautiful spiritual life in the midst of the apostasy of his fellow Israelites? How can we be true to God when we’re being led another direction by our friends or family?