Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fear and Hope

Habakkuk 3:2 KJV
O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

The prophet has heard the word of the Lord. He has not merely written it down. He has not simply been present at the reading of it. He has taken it in. He has processed the message and here gives his response. Believers must be more than hearers. We must hear with ears that are open. We must hear, and process and respond.

He was afraid
The specific word in his case concerned the seventy years captivity in Babylon. That seventy years corresponds to Daniels seventy weeks that have been determined upon Israel. Within that period we find judgment, the finalization of Satan and the final end of the World. We find the wrath of God being poured out in righteous judgment upon all the earth.

We find reason to be afraid.

Any man who hears God's Word would be afraid.

He asked for revival
What an interesting reaction. His first response is not to be spared but for revival. He seeks the grace of God even in the middle of the judgment of God. This speaks to the nature of God and of the prophet's understanding of that nature. He viewed God as gracious. He saw opportunity for things to be turned to the Lord even in the midst of trouble.

He pled for mercy
Habakkuk understands and accepts God's wrath as right and holy and just. It is appropriate for the circumstances. But he is not fatalistic concerning it. Even though God is, at that moment, filled with wrath, God could, at that moment, be merciful.

Habakkuk was rightfully afraid. But rather than fleeing from God in fear, he turned to God to find help through his fear.

God's Word brought fear but God's character brought hope. 

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