Habbakuk written for our time

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This is a prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received from the Lord. Here is what Habakkuk said.

Habakkuk Complains to the Lord

2Lord, how long do I have to call out for help?
Why don’t you listen to me?
How long must I keep telling you
that things are terrible?
Why don’t you save us?
Why do you make me watch while
people treat others so unfairly?

Why do you put up with the wrong things
they are doing?
I have to look at death.
People are harming others.
They are arguing and fighting all the time.
The law can’t do what it’s supposed to do.

Fairness never comes out on top.
Sinful people surround those
who do what is right.
So people are never treated fairly.

The Lord Replies to Habakkuk

The Lord replies,

“Look at the nations. Watch them.
Be totally amazed at what you see.
I am going to do something in your days
that you would never believe.
You would not believe it
even if someone told you about it.

I am going to send the armies of Babylon to attack you.
They are very mean. They move quickly.
They sweep across the whole earth.
They take over homes
that do not belong to them.
They terrify others.
They do not recognize any laws but their own.
That is how proud they are.

Their horses are faster than leopards.
They are meaner than wolves at sunset.
Their horsemen charge straight into battle.
They ride in from far away.
They come down like an eagle
diving for its food.

All of them are ready and willing to destroy others.
Their huge armies advance like a wind out of the desert.
They gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
and make fun of rulers.

They laugh at all the cities
that have high walls around them.
They build dirt ramps against the walls
and capture the cities.
11 They sweep past like the wind.
Then they go on their way.
They are guilty.
They worship their own strength.”

Habakkuk Complains to the Lord Again

12 Lord, haven’t you existed forever?
You are my holy God.
You will never die.
Lord, you have appointed the Babylonians
to punish your people.
My Rock, you have chosen them to judge us.

13 Your eyes are too pure to look at what is evil.
You can’t put up with the wrong things people do.
So why do you put up
with those who can’t be trusted?
The evil Babylonians swallow up
those who are more godly than themselves.
So why are you silent?

14 You have made people to be like the fish in the sea.
They are like the sea creatures that don’t have a ruler.
15 The evil Babylonians pull all of them up with hooks.
They catch them in their nets.
They gather them up.
So they celebrate.
They are glad.

16 They offer sacrifices to their nets.
They burn incense to them.
Their nets allow them to live in great comfort.
They enjoy the finest food.
17 Are you going to let them
keep on emptying their nets?
Will they go on destroying nations
without showing them any mercy?

I will go up to the lookout tower.
I’ll station myself on the city wall.
I’ll wait to see how the Lord will reply to me.
Then I’ll try to figure out how his reply answers what I’ve complained about.

The Lord Replies to Habakkuk

The Lord replies,

“Write down the message I am giving you.
Write it clearly on the tablets you use.
Then a messenger can read it
and run to announce it.

The message I give you
waits for the time I have appointed.
It speaks about what is going to happen.
And all of it will come true.

It might take a while.
But wait for it.
You can be sure it will come.
It will happen when I want it to.

“The Babylonians are very proud.
What they want is not good.

“But the person who is godly
will live by his faithfulness.

“Wine makes the Babylonians do foolish things.
They are proud. They never rest.
Like the grave, they are always hungry for more.
Like death, they are never satisfied.
They gather all the nations to themselves.
They take all those people away as prisoners.

“Won’t those people laugh at the Babylonians? Won’t they make fun of them? They will say to them,

“ ‘How terrible it will be for you
who pile up stolen goods!
You get rich by cheating others.

How long will this go on?’
Those you owe money to will suddenly rise up.
They will wake up
and make you tremble with fear.
Then they will take away
everything you have.

You have robbed many nations.
So the nations that are left will rob you.
You have spilled human blood.
You have destroyed lands and cities
and everyone in them.

“How terrible it will be for the Babylonians!
They build their kingdom with money
that they gained by cheating others.
They have tried to make the kingdom
as secure as possible.
After all, they did not want to be destroyed.
10 They have planned to wipe out many nations.
But they have brought shame on their own kingdom.
So they must pay with their own lives.

11 The stones in the walls of their homes will cry out.
And the wooden beams will echo that cry.

12 “How terrible it will be for the Babylonians!
They build cities by spilling the blood of others.

They establish towns by doing what is wrong.
13 I am the Lord who rules over all.
Human effort is no better than wood that feeds a fire.
So the nations wear themselves out for nothing.

14 The oceans are full of water.
In the same way, the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of my glory.

15 “How terrible it will be for the Babylonians!
They give drinks to their neighbours.
They pour the drinks from wineskins
until their neighbours are drunk.
They want to look at their naked bodies.

16 But the Babylonians will be filled
with shame instead of glory.
So now it is their turn to drink
and be stripped of their clothes.
The cup of anger in my powerful right hand
is going to punish them.
They will be covered with shame instead of glory.

17 The harm they have done to Lebanon
will bring them down.
Because they have killed so many animals,
animals will terrify them.

They have spilled human blood.
They have destroyed lands and cities
and everyone in them.

18 “If someone carves a statue of a god, what is it worth?
What value is there in a god
that teaches lies?
The one who trusts in this kind of god
worships his own creation.
He makes statues of gods that can’t speak.

19 How terrible it will be for the Babylonians!
They say to a wooden god, ‘Come to life!’
They say to a stone god, ‘Wake up!’
Can those gods give advice?
They are covered with gold and silver.
They can’t even breathe.”

20 The Lord is in his holy temple.
Let the whole earth be silent in front of him.

Habakkuk Prays to the Lord

This is a prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. It is on shigionoth. Here is what he said.

Lord, I know how famous you are.
I have great respect for you
because of your mighty acts.
Do them again for us.
Make them known in our time.
When you are angry,
please have mercy on us.

God came from Teman.
The Holy One came from Mount Paran.
His glory covered the heavens.
His praise filled the earth.
His glory was like the sunrise.
Rays of light flashed from his mighty hand.His power was hidden there.

He sent plagues ahead of him.
Sickness followed behind him.
When he stood up, the earth shook.
When he looked at the nations,
they trembled with fear.
The age-old mountains crumbled.
The ancient hills fell down.
But he marches on forever.
I saw the tents of Cushan in trouble.
The people of Midian were suffering greatly.

Lord, were you angry with the rivers?
Were you angry with the streams?
Were you angry with the Red Sea?
You rode your horses and chariots
to overcome it.

You got your bow ready to use.
You asked for many arrows.
You broke up the surface
of the earth with rivers.

10 The mountains saw you and shook.
Floods of water swept by.
The sea roared.
It lifted its waves high.

11 The sun and moon stood still in the sky.
They stopped because your flying arrows flashed by.
Your gleaming spear shone like lightning.

12 When you were angry, you marched across the earth.
Because of your anger you destroyed the nations.
13 You came out to set your people free.
You saved your chosen ones.

You crushed Pharaoh, the leader of that evil land of Egypt.
You stripped him from head to foot.
14 His soldiers rushed out to scatter us.
They were laughing at us.
They thought they would easily destroy us.
They saw us as weak people who were trying to hide.
So you wounded Pharaoh’s head with his own spear.

15 Your horses charged into the Red Sea.
They stirred up the great waters.

16 I listened and my heart pounded.
My lips trembled at the sound.
My bones seemed to rot.
And my legs shook.
But I will be patient.
I’ll wait for the day of trouble to come on Babylon.
It’s the nation that is attacking us.

17 The fig trees might not bud.
The vines might not produce any grapes.
The olive crop might fail.
The fields might not produce any food.
There might not be any sheep in the pens.
There might not be any cattle in the barns.

18 But I will still be glad
because of what the Lord has done.
God my Savior fills me with joy.

19 The Lord and King gives me strength.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer.
He helps me walk on the highest places.

This prayer is for the director of music. It should be sung while being accompanied by stringed instruments.

Book of Habbakuk copied from the New American Version Bible with grateful thanks to God for this amazing Word for our time.

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