Do you remember when you were a kid and you asked your parents for that super sugary cereal at the grocery store—think, Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes? If you had health-conscious parents, you probably experienced the subtle art of compromise and negotiation. “How about thisone?” they would ask because it was also in a very colorful box but had half the sugar content. The boxes usually had some sort of game or maze on the back which was also super fun so, as kids, we went for it, not realizing that we were just victims of trickery.
Habakkuk (no I didn’t sneeze) is considered a minor prophet, one of 12 of whom we have books in the Bible detailing the back and forth communication between God and these prophets, the spokespersons for Israel. In our passage, Habakkuk 3:2-15, God is doing the work God does, and Habakkuk is bringing complaints to God on behalf of the people of Israel who are being oppressed by Babylon. Habakkuk then has to relay God’s message to the people who are anxious to hear that their suffering will soon be over. But Israel continues to experience hardship and struggle, not sure if they can still trust this God.
After a long list of complaints that seem to be getting him nowhere, Habakkuk tries a new method of approaching God: prayer. A prophet who is expected to bring good news of freedom from oppressors does in fact bring good news, but perhaps not the good news Israel wanted or expected. They may have wanted the Fruit Loops, but Habakkuk brought them Honey Nut Cheerios—not as sweet and sugary, but still delicious. Rather than assuaging the people with news that their suffering would go away (which God never promised) instead brings good news of who God is—a God whose splendor is like the sunrise, whose presence causes mountains to tremble, and who came to deliver—reminding Israel of what their God can really do and instilling hope in them again.
In the midst of our own turmoil, whatever that may be, perhaps we need to adjust our approach—praying instead of complaining, remembering who God is instead of focusing on who God isn’t.
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Grace and Peace.