April 20 – Wrath and Mercy

“O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.” – Habakkuk 3:2 (ESV)

The book Habakkuk is one of the “Minor Prophets” in the Old Testament. Not minor is significance or message but in size. Some believe that Habakkuk wrote the book in two phases which he joined together. Chapters 1 & 2 record the prophet’s dialogue with God. Habakkuk questioned God regarding His method and purposes for Israel. The note at the end of chapter 3, identifies that it is written in the form of a psalm to be sung with stringed musical instruments. The prophet knew of God’s past dealings with Israel – by hearing and learning. He personally experiences an awe-filled respect at the power of God. He also uses this knowledge of God’s previous dealings to make a twofold petition. He calls on God to revive His way with Israel. He calls on God to make it known that even in His wrath, His mercy. He requests that God allow his mitigating mercy (cf. Ex. 34:6; Lk. 1:54). This is our promise: for both wrath and mercy are part of God’s nature. God loves us even when we have strayed from Him and turned our backs on His word. He will not turn His back on us.