I Heard, and I Trembled Within

Today’s devotion from Habakkuk 1-3. Many prophetic messages begin with a pronouncement, the Word of God has come to one of His messengers, or maybe some enemy is due for judgement, or even God’s people have sinned grievously in His sight. Habakkuk’s message is different. He begins with a question, “How long, Lord, must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence and you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2, CSB)

Habakkuk is not afraid to ask God questions. As you read his message, you begin to wonder if maybe he isn’t afraid to ask these questions because he isn’t afraid of God answering. These interrogatives and the responses that follow lead some to interpret Habakkuk’s book as one of the most theologically profound among the prophets.

What is the response to all these questions? Habakkuk concludes, “I heard, and I trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness entered my bones; I trembled where I stood.” (Habakkuk 3:16, CSB) The prophet encountered God in a powerful way that shook him to his core. In the end, he will cling to his faith in God and, because of this deep trust, he will wait.

It is what he awaits that is so compelling. He awaits a day of salvation, but it is salvation that will come, ultimately, through devastation. The reality of Habakkuk’s final words are earth shaking. Could I, do I, have the faith to accept calamity with joy if that is the means to God’s glorification? Am I strong enough to ask these questions? Maybe the better question is, am I strong enough to hear God answer?