ADVENT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT—DAY 25
Habakkuk 1:2-4, 1:12-13 O LORD, how long must I call for help before you listen, before you save us from violence? Why do you make me see such trouble? How can you stand to look on such wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are all around me, and there is fighting and quarreling everywhere. The law is weak and useless, and justice is never done. Evil people get the better of the righteous, and so justice is perverted. . . .
LORD, from the very beginning you are God. You are my God, holy and eternal. LORD, my God and protector, you have chosen the Babylonians and made them strong so that they can punish us. But how can you stand these treacherous, evil men? Your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong. So why are you silent while they destroy people who are more righteous than they are?
There are many hints of the presence of Jesus throughout the Old Testament, as we have seen. Just as important as these hints of his presence, however, are the signs of his absence. The books of Job, Ecclesiastes,Lamentations, Judges, Nahum, Habakkuk, and the Psalms of Lament all express the yearning of the heart that cries out over the absence of God in the midst of the apparent triumph of evil, futility, suffering, and insolence. But these Biblical writers are aware that you cannot feel the absence of someone who does not exist. You can only miss someone that you know. That is why at the end of his book Habakkuk proclaims that “Even though the though the fig trees have no fruit, and no grapes grow on the vines . . . I will still be joyful and glad, because the LORD God is my savior.” (Hab 3:17-18)
Prayer: Dear God, thank you that Jesus experienced what it is like to feel your absence when he cried out “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” In the midst of a world that groans with futility, hatred, suffering and injustice, I thank you that these will not have the last word. Habakkuk also said that the righteous would live by their faith. Grant me to live by the faith that You will ultimately bring things to right through Jesus Christ. Amen.