Timing is everything. We are repeatedly reminded through scripture that God has a plan and we are to put our faith and trust in Him. Habakkuk was getting tired of waiting, “How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not save”. “Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?” The culture surrounding the time of Habakkuk was in a deep dark place far from God, they had once again forgotten who He was. From Habakkuk’s perspective things couldn’t get any worse and yet it did, God was going to use an unbelieving nation to destroy the people who turned away from God. In his prayer in chapter 3 Habakkuk calls on God to remember mercy in His wrath as He dealt with the people, Habakkuk was remembering the people who continued to follow God. Throughout this time in a culture of wickedness and unfaithfulness there were still those who stayed true to serving the Lord.
We read a similar message in the book of Zephaniah not just for a nation but also for judgment on the whole earth, “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth, declares the Lord… When I destroy all mankind on the face of the earth”. Each time I read through these books I begin to understand a little bit more of the burden that this message would have had on the prophets. Yes, these were men of God, faithful and true to His word but they were still men, they had all the same pressures of the culture and society around them. Zephaniah writes in chapter two a big part of “making it through” was their hope and faith in God, it was an attitude of humility before Him that would see them saved from the day of the Lord’s anger.
The message we read through the last pages of the Minor Prophets is one of hope and continued restoration of the relationship of God and His people. We begin to see the process of rebuilding faith in loving and forgiving God. Zechariah chapter 8 outlines the Lords promises to bless Jerusalem, verses four and five picture two generations of believers that hold the key to a change in the culture. The picture is of the (old) faithful remnant watching as the next generation of boys and girls move forward in carrying on what they have brought so far. This is a picture of hope that we must be striving towards today as we pass on our faith to the generations behind us.