So I’ve been working my way through the Minor Prophets recently. (As an aside, it’s really unfortunate that someone named them “minor” just because they’re short. They’re really not minor at all.) You know: Obadiah, Micah, Jonah, Habakkuk, etc. All those that get relegated to the biblical “backburner”– with Leviticus of course– because they are deemed too strange, negative, or otherwise irrelevant for mainstream usage… except for the occasional couple of verses that we can pull out of context to put on Christian greeting cards or use in sermons to illustrate some other point. But that’s another topic.
The Minor Prophets (and the Majors, of course) are actually really amazing to study, and when read alongside the straight historical books in the Canon (like Chronicles and Kings), you start getting this incredible picture of the totality of what God was doing in those years. You see that several prophets were saying the same kinds of thinigs at around the same time, and in different areas. It makes sense of “Surely God does nothing without first revealing it to His servants the prohpets” (Amos 3:5). God was speaking like cray to the people… and they largely just ignored it.
Enter Habakkuk. This book is unique in that there is no straight up “oracle” to the people anywhere. There’s no part of the book that says “Hey Israel, here’s the deal…” The whole book is basically like pages from Habakkuk’s journal: his conversations with God. It is the whole conversation that forms the word from God (i.e. the book) to the people.
The basic outline goes something like this:
Part 1: Habakkuk says, “Hey Lord, what’s the deal with this?”
Part 2: God says, “Well it’s like this.”
Part 3: Habakkuk says, “Ok, got it, but that makes no sense.”
Part 4: God says, “Yep, it’s like that and here’s some more detail.”
Part 5: Habakkuk writes a worship song to praise God for who He is and what He’s done.
While there’s much that could be said about the in’s and out’s of the book, how about just this: Habakkuk had a conversation with God. Yep. He asked some hard questions… and God answered. So, he asked more hard questions… and God answered again! In the end, Habakkuk didn’t have “all the answers,” and he didn’t understand all of qhat God was doing in his time, but he had heard enough to worship. Hmmm… Authentic conversations with God lead to worship. In spite of struggle. In spite of injustice. In spite of unresolved questions.
What about us? Are we conversing with God? Are we being authentic?