Read: Habakkuk 3
Focus: The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:19
Habakkuk is an interesting book. In this book, the prophet Habakkuk questions God – he is respectful and reverent, but he does honestly want to know why God allows His people to suffer at the hands of their enemies. The amazing thing is that God answers Habakkuk. Take that in for a second – the Creator of the universe, the Maker of you and me and everything small and grand wasn’t offended by questions; He didn’t think Himself too grand to answer. However, as we read yesterday in Cindy’s devotional, God answered Habakkuk in His own way and in His own timing. But… He answered. God didn’t strike Habakkuk down for daring to question Him. There is practical application for us in this Old Testament book.
Just as Habakukk and the ancient Israelites, we too live in a world that is plagued by sin, idolatry, and rebellion against God. We too will suffer, even if we do everything right (which we seldom do), we’ll still face suffering. I think in this book, God provides us with a couple of lessons. First, we’re the clay, not the Potter – we’re not always going to understand why things are the way they are. It’s not always going to be apparent to us why we have to suffer something. It’s not always going to seem fair to us that we are suffering while oppressive and unjust seem to be prospering. However, in that we MUST trust that God is sovereign. We see this word sovereign as an adjective before Lord in today’s focus verse as well as in a lot of other places in the Bible. What does it mean though? According to Christianity.com, when used to describe God, sovereign means:
- God is above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is immortal, and He is present everywhere so that everyone can know Him (Revelation 21:6).
- God created all things and holds all things together, both in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16).
- God knows all things past, present, and future. There is no limit to His knowledge, for God knows everything completely before it even happens (Romans 11:33).
- God can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him, and He orchestrates and determines everything that is going to happen in your life, in my life, in America, and throughout the world. Whatever He wants to do in the universe, He does, for nothing is impossible with Him (Jeremiah 32:17).
- God is in control of all things and rules over all things. He has power and authority over nature, earthly kings, history, angels, and demons. Even Satan himself has to ask God’s permission before he can act (Psalm 103:19).
Quite simply, according to Google, sovereign means: “possessing supreme or ultimate power”. In other words, we have to acknowledge that God is in charge!
Secondly, I think this reading teaches us that it’s OK to ask God questions. As we see again and again throughout the Bible, God wants an authentic and true relationship with us – He wants to be our Father. The only way we can have a real relationship with anyone, including God, is to have communication. If we’re not authentic with the way we communicate with God, it’s going to be impossible for us to have an authentic relationship with Him. Of course we need to be thankful in our prayers, of course we need to pray for others; however, we also need to express ourselves honestly to God. Where we have doubt, fears, disappointments, frustrations, anger… share those with God. Talk with Him authentically and honestly. He knows what you’re going through; pour your heart out to Him. Let Him in. God may give you an sewer different than what you’re looking for, but He will answer. See what happened with Habakkuk (as well as several of the other prophets) when they interacted authentically with God – God answered them, and their faith grew. That’s what’s behind today’s focus verse – God didn’t give Habakkuk the answer he necessarily wanted, but He answered and reminded Habakkuk that He is the Sovereign lord of everything, He has a will and a plan, and just like He tells us in Romans 8:28, He will work all things to the good of those who love Him and follow His will.
Prayer: Lord, I believe You are sovereign. Nothing can happen without you allowing it. I also believe that You are good – just as You tell us in Your Word, everything that You allow is for our ultimate good and because You love us. That’s not always easy to understand in the moment, but I believe it. As I face tough situations, please remind me of that; help me to stay focused on You and Your perfect and pleasing will even when I can’t understand it. Lord, help me to be honest and authentic with You, and please grow my faith stronger every day. In Jesus’ name… Amen.