“How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But You do not listen! … I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how He will answer my complaint.” Habakkuk 1:2a; 2:1 (NLT)
When you were growing up, did you ever hear the little ditty, “Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to do and die.” What a dumb ditty! God designed us to be curious, to seek answers, to reason, and to question why? Those who suggest that it’s wrong to question God have a hard time explaining when the Son of God was on the cross and cried, “My God, My God, WHY?”
Personal suffering and pain always raise the question “Why?” The Bible is full of spiritual heroes who questioned God. Habakkuk was no exception. He saw a dying world, filled with injustice and evil, and it broke his heart. He asked God why the innocent suffer. Why do the wicked seem to be winning? He took His complaints to the top for answers, not clichés. You can feel the urgency of his cries to God from the very beginning of his book. In the first chapter and second verse, he asks: “How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But You do not listen! ‘Violence is everywhere!’ I cry, but You do not come to save.”
He complains about the injustice and how the wicked far outnumber the righteous. After he pours his heart out to God, He says: “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how He will answer my complaint.” Hab. 2:1 (NLT)
Maybe you can relate. You’re growing weary with this pandemic, economic loss and social distancing! You’ve been hurt by injustice, betrayal, or even abandonment. The pain is compounded when you see the innocent suffer and the wicked prosper, and none of it makes sense in the light of the faith you believe. Take a lesson from this minor prophet. Pour out your complaint to God and then, listen.
When Habakkuk said he was climbing his watchtower, people in his day understood what he was saying. A watchman and watchtower were often used by prophets to show an attitude of expectation. It was a word picture of Habakkuk’s attitude of patient waiting and watching for God’s response. He knew that God had heard his prayer. Now was the time to align himself with God’s heart so that he could hear from God. He needed a word from God. No other opinion really mattered, and no one else could answer the deepest questions of his heart.
There are times in our lives when we need to hear from God. Wise counsel from friends is helpful, but never stop short of hearing from God yourself. If you’ve got questions, God’s got answers. Tomorrow, we will look at what God has to say to Habakkuk.