From God’s word – The view from our watchtowers

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By Toni Ford

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament prophets recently. Although these books are usually only one to five chapters long, I have found them to be filled with great wisdom and promises from our Lord.

Habakkuk, which is only three chapters in length, is one of those books. A contemporary of Nahum, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah, Habakkuk knew the Scripture well and had great faith in God. Much like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, some believe that he was a priest called to be a prophet, which was a much more difficult ministry.

Habakkuk’s name means “to embrace” or “to wrestle,” and in his book, he does both. Habakkuk indeed wrestles with God in trying to understand how a holy God could use a wicked nation like Babylon to discipline the people of Judah. Then, by faith, Habakkuk embraces God and clings to His promises.

Habakkuk also wrestled as he watched the Israelite nation decline spiritually and asked why God was not doing something about it. He longed to see the people revived but did not think God was answering his prayers. Based on what he was seeing happening among his people and his land, Habakkuk wrestled with trying to understand the will of God.

That same feeling of wrestling is where I find myself many days after seeing or hearing about all that is going on, not only in America but across the entire world. Although Habakkuk wrestled, he did not remain in that mindset. In chapter 2 we read in verse 1 that, “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.”

A watchtower is an elevated observation post used as a safe place from which guard or military personnel can observe the surrounding area. Today in Israel, many watchtowers are used as a place to pray over a city or certain portion of land. Habakkuk knew that he needed to go up to his watchtower so that he could wait to hear God more clearly and allow God to give him a different “view” of the true battle that was taking place around him. The same spiritual disciplines of prayer, vision and faith that took Habakkuk from the valley to the watchtower still apply to us today in our spiritual walk with the Lord.

In the third and final chapter of the Book of Habakkuk, we see his wrestling turn to embracing. Habakkuk went from interceding for God’s work to pondering God’s ways to affirming God’s will. The last three verses of his book are by far my favorite, giving a beautiful picture of where Habakkuk had finally “landed,” which was summed up in “even though.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 says, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty; yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.”

Although his circumstances did not necessarily change, Habakkuk wrestled with trying to understand how the will of God had changed, and now he was walking by faith and not by sight alone. As a result of hearing God’s Word and seeing God’s glory, Habakkuk became like a deer bounding confidently on the mountain heights. Habakkuk knew that he could trust in his God and stand on His promises. Thousands of years later, we can do the same!

Lord, thank you that Your promises never change or diminish. You are still just as faithful and true today as you were in Habakkuk’s day. In our “valley” days, please give us the strength to climb higher, watching and waiting on You to change our vision so that we can walk by faith and not by sight alone. Thank you for always working on our behalf! We love you, Lord!

If you would like me to join you in prayer please e-mail me at tonif77@gmail.com. I would love to pray for you!

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