The Call to Christlikeness

Written by Phyllis. Posted in Articles

The book of Habakkuk begins with the author crying out to God lamenting the sorry state of affairs in Israel. According to the introductory notes in the Amplified, Habakkuk was a contemporary of Jeremiah, serving God as the ultimate punishment described by Moses was about to be meted out to a nation that refused to do right; exile!

If you acknowledge that God still has and uses prophets, and if you happen to know one, you'll see that they are like the child in the family who is most sensitive to the heart of the parents; the one who will witness a transgression by a sibling and be moved to proclaim (prophesy) " Dad's going to be really mad when he finds out you did this! "My observation is that acute sensitivity to the Father's heart describes a prophet as much as his uttering actual "thus sayeth The Lord" things, although those are part of the office. Hence Habakkuk's grieving over the cruelty and injustice he's witnessing in Israel; it grieves him deeply because it grieves God deeply. But what he hears from the voice of God offers little immediate comfort. God assures Habakkuk that He has already planned for the restoration and redemption of Israel employing a fierce and warring army to come decimate His people. Now in those days, warfare wasn't a few scud missiles launched to elicit a little shock and awe; warfare was the surrounding of the walled city and cutting off any traffic in and out until starvation after a year or two motivated the leaders to surrender. These are the circumstances that caused mothers to eat their own children. This is the horror that God reveals to Habakkuk as the means by which he will " position" His people to fulfill His vision for them!
  And as you might guess, Habakkuk is stunned! As bummed out as he is , God promises an immediate future that is so much worse that he can' t believe what he's heard. I think his mental and spiritual state must have been similar to Job's as he absorbed the news that all that he had was gone. A state that provoked him to exclaim, " The Lord gave and The Lord has taken, blessed be the name of the Lord! "
    It's at times like these, when circumstances scream that there is no God, or certainly not a god who is capable of intervening for one's benefit, that a believer DECIDES to trust. The word decide derives from a Latin word that describes cutting away; so we cut away doubt and unbelief and grasp trust no matter what. This level of trust, like Jesus demonstrated as He presented Himself in the garden of Gethsemane to armed soldiers, is arrived at only when it is totally challenged. Habakkuk proclaimed, "Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in The Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation!" Hab 3: 17, 18.
    But that's not the end of it. Our Christian walk is littered with a bunch of messages that can provide a little inspiration to the casual Christian; a weekly fix of something holy but basically unattainable. And though inspirational to some, these lessons can get downright depressing to those of us who seek to be like Him but are usually overwhelmed by our unlikeness. The trust I'm offering is trust independent of circumstances, trust that emasculates fear,and trust that potentiates joy; in fact, I would think it renders joy indestructible! And I believe it is a gift that the Father is determined to give us. Habakkuk was a mortal. His circumstances in the natural were into despair and despair only. But something in him changed; the deep realization that his hope and joy did not depend on externals and could not be undone by externals. It's one thing to be joyful as Daniel was when he saw that after a night in the lion's den, God had preserved and he joyfully testified to the king that next day, " My God has sent His angel and has shut the lions' mouths so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent and blameless before Him; and also before you, O king, as I have done no harm or wrong! ". Dan 6: 22
  Daniel's joy is born of God's mighty demonstration of goodness and power. Daniel trusted and was vindicated. But the true gift of trust rejoices and is vindicated before circumstantial salvation and deliverance. This supernatural trust exclaims in the face of disaster, " The Lord God is my strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me walk ( not stand still in terror, but to walk) and make ( spiritual) progress upon my high places!" That is trust born of revelation, given by the Holy Spirit! It is the trust that Jesus walked in during His ministry on earth. Pray for it!