Today's Lectionary Text
Habakkuk 1:2aO Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
Please turn in your Bibles to Habakkuk.
It may take you a while to find it because, chances are you’ve never looked at it before. Habakkuk is one of those Old Testament prophetic texts that just doesn’t get used much. It’s only 3 chapters long. But if you give it a read, you’ll find it packs a punch.
So, who was this Habakkuk? WE HAVE NO IDEA. Unlike most of the prophets in the Bible, we have next to no information about who this person was or the circumstances of their life. Here’s what we THINK we know.
We think, because the book talks about the rise of Babylon, that Habakkuk was possibly from Jerusalem, where the threat of the Babylonians was great. Because it talks about Babylon’s emergence as a power, which was in 612BC, we figure that’s as good a guess as any about when Habakkuk was active.
And that’s about it. We don’t know the writer’s personality, or any sort of origin story. This writer literally composed 3 chapters of interesting stuff, and on its merits alone made it into the Good Book.
Habakkuk, the book, has some back and forth conversations between the prophet and God. Habakkuk asks why God has allowed things to get so bad down here on Earth. A world locked in conflict. Injustice everywhere you look. In fact, you know the phrase “a perversion of Justice”? That’s right here in Habakkuk. (1:4)
God responds with some assurance. Oh yes, things are going to change. There WILL be justice and it won’t necessarily be easy. But God makes it clear — it may take some time to unfold, but things are about to be set right.
And if you’re just dying to know who wrote these wise verses, join the club. Habakkuk is kind of a mystery to us, known only by the power of the words.
Habakkuk and a smile.
-Rev. Mitch Todd
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