Habakkuk 1 … Consider Him… and Wonder!

“Look among the nations! Observe!
Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days—
You would not believe if you were told,

It’s an interesting turn of events. Habakkuk the prophet is calling on the Lord for help, and Wondering. Wondering why. Why isn’t He moving on behalf of His servant? Why is the law ignored and justice overlooked? And why isn’t the Lord doing something about it? And the Lord replies, as if to say: Habakkuk, if you want to Wonder about something, well, get ready to really Wonder, because I’m getting ready to do something that you won’t even be able to believe, even though I am going to tell you all about it.

“Look among the nations! Observe!
Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days—
You would not believe if you were told,

The book of Habakkuk is a gut level look at a godly prophet of faith who wrestled with the state of his people and the ways of his God. And not to give away the ending, but in this wrestling match, Habakkuk will find himself pinned beneath the Ways and Word of Almighty God, no contest. And he will be left in Wonder, Wondering how he could have ever questioned or doubted his God, and in absolute Wonder at the inexplicable Ways of Holy God.

Habakkuk was a contemporary of Jeremiah who prophesied to the people of Judah of the coming invasion of the Babylonians. Scholars believe he probably was alive to see the initial fulfillment of his prophecy when the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem in 597 B.C.  And as God called His servant, He began by calling him to look and observe the nations. It was a call to see with his eyes and evaluate what he sees.

“Look among the nations! Observe!

And when he does, he will find himself in the place of utter astonishment.

Be astonished! Wonder!

Consider the translations of this phrase in other versions:

  • Be utterly astounded!
  • Wonder and be astounded!
  • Wonder marvelously!
  • Be astonished and marvel!
  • Be amazed and astonished!
  • Marvel greatly!

But in the Hebrew, it is actually one word that is repeated for emphasis.

Wonder: 8539. תָּמַהּ tāmah: A verb meaning to be amazed; to be astounded. It means to be shocked, stunned at something… It carries the sense of being surprised at something unexpected… God’s judgments cause astonishment and disbelief among those He destroys… Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

So then, we might also translate this phrase as:

  • Be amazed! Be amazed!
  • Be astounded! Be astounded!
  • Be shocked! Be shocked!
  • Be stunned! Be stunned!
  • Be astonished! Be astonished!
  • Be surprised because it’s not at all what you were expecting! Be surprised because it’s not at all what you were expecting!
  • Wonder at the Wonder! Wonder at the Wonder!

In our own language, this word, Wonder, is both a noun and a verb.

Wonder (noun):

  • a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.
  • the emotion excited by what is strange and surprising; a feeling of surprised or puzzled interest, sometimes tinged with admiration
  • an object that causes a feeling of great surprise and admiration.

Wonder (verb):

  • to be in a state of wonder; to feel wonder at
  • to think or speculate curiously
  • to be filled with admiration
  • to feel or express great surprise at something
  • to desire or to be curious to know something

Consider Him… and Wonder!

Like Habakkuk, we will Wonder about the state of this world, and Wonder if God isn’t going to do something about it. Maybe we’ve been praying for a loved one and Wonder how long before God answers our prayers. And as God told Habakkuk, what He was about to do would cause him great surprise and Wonder.

And like Habakkuk, we may Wonder about His purpose in it all.

Are You not from everlasting,
O Lord, my God, my Holy One?
We will not die.
You, O Lord, have appointed them to judge;
And You, O Rock, have established them to correct,

It didn’t make sense that God would use an evil people to accomplish the Wonder of His eternal purpose. But then His thoughts and ways are not like ours. Let us Consider Him… and Wonder at His Supremacy!

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts,”
(Isaiah 55:8-9).

And like Habakkuk, we may Wonder why evil is seeming to gain the upper hand.

Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor.
Why do You look with favor
On those who deal treacherously?
Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?

It just didn’t make sense that God would use an unholy people to discipline His chosen people. But then His ways are perfect. Let us Consider Him… and Wonder at His Perfection!

God—His way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is pure.
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him,
(Psalm 18:30 HCSB).

And like Habakkuk, we may Wonder why those who deny God to pursue the insatiable lust of the flesh, are the ones who rise in power to reap violence and destruction.

Therefore they offer a sacrifice to their net
And burn incense to their fishing net;
Because through these things their catch is large,
And their food is plentiful.
17 Will they therefore empty their net
And continually slay nations without sparing?  

And it didn’t make sense that those who served the gods of their own making would have power over God’s people. But then He directs the course of all of history. Let us Consider Him… and Wonder at His Sovereignty.

“Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure,’”
(Isaiah 46:9-10).

How are we to respond as we Consider Him… and Wonder?

The truth is, as Habakkuk did, we too will Wonder. And like Habakkuk, we may find ourselves in a wrestling match, as our Wonder to have all our questions answered gets in the ring with our Wonder over the unexpected beauty of our God.

We must choose to spend more time Wondering at His Wonders than Wondering about our questions.

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who alone works wonders.
19 And blessed be His glorious name forever;
And may the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen, and Amen,
(Psalm 72:18-19).

Oh, let us be purposeful to remember His Wonders, meditate on His Wonders, muse on His Wonders, and Consider Him… and Wonder!

I shall remember the deeds of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds,
(Psalm 77:11-12).

And as we Consider Him… and Wonder at His Supremacy, His Perfection, and His Sovereignty, surely our questions will no longer obscure the Wonder of our Glorious God, and surely we will be filled to overflowing with new songs to bless His Name. Oh, that we would be a living testimony of the good news of His salvation and a living declaration of His grace and glory, that He might use our lives to draw others to Consider Him… and Wonder!

Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples,
(Psalm 96:1-3).

Let’s Grow Together!

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