Day 13/30 - Habakkuk's prayer


Every Saturday night the BBC world service devotes a full hour or more to soccer commentary. I don’t understand a word of it and recognise none of the names. But I always leave it on and attempt to follow each episode like its own self-contained drama. It is like an alternative fiction to the usual depressing news of incompetent or downright evil governments, and squabbling nations. 

Today being Sunday, I thought to share one of my favourite and very short books in the Bible - Habakkuk. Like many books in the Old Testament, such as the beautiful Psalms and the sensuous (or some say sensual) Song of Solomon, Habakkuk is written in unrhymed verse. And whether in biblical times or the present, the world is still in a mess and injustices prevail. 

The book of Habakkuk opens with his first short complaint that God hasn’t heard him and is tolerating injustice. God replies with a quick terrible vision of Babylon rising up to destroy and torment all other nations. But Habakkuk complains again. He seems to accept Babylon as God’s judgement but he is not satisfied that God seems to allow men to live godlessly, like “sea creatures that have no ruler”. God then gives Habakkuk an unequivocal answer, instructs him to write down and broadcast the revelation: that “in an appointed time”, “Though it lingers, wait for it”, all forms of wrong will be made right. It is an elaborate list. 

This leads to the third and final section where Habakkuk merely prays. In his prayer he praises his God and it is a personal appeal. And he ends his prayer with this beautiful expression of faith:

Habakkuk, Chapter 3, Verses 17-19
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes in the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the field produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.

The feet of a deer. 

I don’t know about you but I always think of Bambi hehe...but you get the idea. The deer’s feet is not like a creature’s combative horn or anything fearsome or armored. But they are deft and perfectly made to scale the rocky sides of hills and mountains. This picture of perfect provision, after his description of the barrenness that surrounds him, is masterly.

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