The Prophet Habakkuk was the recipient of a God-given burden; that is, of a heavy and solemn word, which he was divinely charged to proclaim, in spite of how unbelievable and unpopular it would prove to be. The Hebrew word for “burden” in Habakkuk 1:1, can also be translated “oracle,” which means “a threatening message of impending doom.”
Among the biblical prophets, one is hard pressed to find a more timely message for our day and time than the message of the Prophet Habakkuk, whose message is as contemporary as our morning newspapers. It’s a message found in a most intriguing interchange between a perplexed prophet and his God. Whereas other Old Testament prophets declared God’s message to God’s people, Habakkuk dialogued with God about His people. Whereas other prophets predicted divine judgment, Habakkuk actually pleaded for it.
Seeng his nation and world as a black, ticking time bomb about to explode, Habakkuk cries out to God about all the mounting turmoil, tragedies, trauma, trials and tensions of his day.
Although the book begins with the prophet complaining to God and attempting to interrogate God, it ends with him confident in God and in intercession with God. Habakkuk’s fear is transformed into faith. His worry turns into worship. His terror becomes trust. His hangups are exchanged for hope. And his anxiety gives way to adoration.
Like the ancient Prophet Habakkuk, our outlook today may elicit terror, but our up-look as Christians should elicit trust. This is the heart of the message of the book of Habakkuk, as well as its key verse and truth: “The just shall live by faith” (2:4).
When it comes to our outlook today, the unprecedented perilous times of the last days are definitely upon us. On the other hand, when it comes to our up-look today, we must remember the words of our Lord, who taught us in these dark days to "lift up [our] heads, for [our] redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28). Truly, as Habakkuk exhorted us and our Lord encouraged us, our up-look should overcome our outlook!