How Long?

November 30, 2017
by Joel Jongkind

I have to be honest with you: I am not very familiar with the book of Habakkuk. I have never used it as the basis for a sermon or a spiritual talk. But one morning, the devotional booklet that we use had the first part of his writings as the passage to read, and I became interested in the prophet's book.

The introduction to this book in my copy of the New King James Version says:

    Habakkuk ministers during the "death throes" of the nation of Judah. Although repeatedly called to repentance, the nation stubbornly refuses to change her sinful ways and Habakkuk asks how long this intolerable situation can continue.

I learned that part of the book is a dialogue between Habakkuk and God:

Habakkuk 1:2-4 – O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, "Violence!" and You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds. (NKJV)

We were struck by the similarities between that time and the present. All of us who read the paper or watch the news on television are witnesses to the terrible things which are happening in the world. Through social media, news from all over is brought into our living rooms almost as soon as it happens, and quite often, we despair. There are wars and rumours of wars; there are thousands of displaced persons in so many different areas, some because of wars and persecutions, others because of natural disasters. We talk about it and we pray about it, but it seems to get worse instead of better, and we wonder how long this can go on.

Habakkuk felt the same way, but after the long dialogue with God, he realized that regardless of how hopeless the situation seemed to be, or whatever happened, the Lord was still with him:

Habakkuk 3:17-19 – Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls — yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills. (NKJV)

We are assured through faith that God is with us. In all our problems, let us come to Jesus, and He will hear our prayers.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are times when we despair about all the terrible things which are happening in the world today. We pray, Lord, that You will speak to those who have the ability and the power to change things and also that You will comfort those who are suffering. In the midst of temptation to despair, strengthen our faith. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

About the author:

Joel Jongkind <austria67@bmts.com>

Meaford, Ontario, Canada


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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen!


    Great word of encouragement, Joel.


    Fascinating. That really resonates today.
    Thanks for sharing and pointing that out!


    Good word Joel. I feel we have been placed in this place for this time, simply to be faithful.
    Blessings.


    Thank you, Joel. How fitting for the times. I tend to wonder about all that is happening but must remember God is always with us now as then. Blessings.


    Hello Joel, Thank you for your meditation so well thought out.
    You have motivated me to study the book of Habakkuk.
    God bless.


    Thank you, Joel, for throwing the spotlight on the need to reform, to return to Biblical principles, but even more, to repent, turning around and following God’s way as found in God’s Word, the straight path to Jesus Christ. Blessings.


    Amen!
    Thank you, Joel, for “HOW LONG?” The question of Habakkuk is echoing to our day as we cry. God’s grace brings lost souls back to Him even today! I call it a breakthrough! Praise God!
    Peace from above to all His people!
    Peace to you and your loved ones!


    Good morning, Joel,
    Thank you for today’s devotional.
    Every couple of weeks (more or less) I write a Christian piece for a daily news blog in my area. I would like to copy today’s devotional, with appropriate credit, and use it to make a plug for The PresbyCan Daily.


    I was contemplating the unusual appearance of a deer by the road this morning, and then I read the verse you chose!
    The Message reads “Counting on God’s rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!”
    I often think an unusual sighting must be a sign from God. Praise God for his reassurance! He is still in control.


    Dear Mr. Jongkind,
    I have been following your entries for some time now. I just wanted to tell you that your words are such an encouragement and challenge. You have lived longer than I, so you are in some ways a mentor as you spell out what it means to stand firm, trust faithfully, and remain true to the Word of God. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your love of God’s Word. It is genuinely appreciated, and I look forward to each entry you write.
    I particularly appreciated the most recent one referring to Habakkuk. I have found this book to be somewhat obscure so was very interested in your comments. I am definitely going to read this book for more insights.
    Blessings.


    This was excellent Joel. It lined up with what many believers are feeling.
    Thank you for the reminder that God is always in control and sees our plights. God Bless!

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