“Oh Lord, Revive Your Works” (Habakkuk 3:2)

     The prophet Habakkuk makes this statement after an intense dialectical discussion with God.  Habakkuk cries out to God concerning the violence for the sake of hatred and greed {the definition of the Hebrew word hamas (smj) which he uses in verse 1:2} that is being perpetrated by his own countryman.  He cries out to God for justice.  God responds by telling the prophet that He will send the armies of Babylon to crush the unrepentant nation of Israel.  Immediately following, Habakkuk makes the above-quoted verse.  It is so insightful and relevant to our time that it warrants examination.

     To begin with, Habakkuk recognizes that something is lacking in the present state of Israel and equally lacking in God’s solution of total destruction. It is revival! The heart of Habakkuk cries out to God for revival!  The prophet recognizes that this is the only real hope in the reality between the present lawless state of Israel and the divinely proposed destruction of it.  It is the only solution that offers salvation.  Consequently, he prays for revival of “Your Works.”

The Hebrew word here is “paal” (lep).  The basic meaning of the word is “to do.”  In our present verse it means “Your doings”, “the things that you do” or “Your works.”  It means “God’s acts in history.” (1)  God’s works with the nation of Israel is wrought with the miraculous.  However, no one in scripture exemplifies the “works of God” more than Jesus.  Jesus tells us, “But I have a greater witness than John; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of me, that the Father has sent Me.” (John 5:36)  What were the works of Jesus?  He tells the disciples of John that, “the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Matt11:5) These are the works of God.  The miraculous will always follow the preaching of the kingdom of God.  When Jesus sends out His disciples to preach, He tells them “And as you go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand,  heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons’ (Matt 10:7-8)  these are the works that change nations,  In the ancient world, no city was as lost as Tyre.  The Bible tells us that satan was its spiritual leader (Ezek 28:11) and it ruler was blindlessly self-exalting (Ezek 28:1) And yet, Jesus says, “Woe to you Chrazon!  Woe to you Bethsaida!  For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” (Matt 11:21) The works of God in history involve the miraculous and this is what the prophet recognizes as the only viable option between the present condition in Israel and the divinely appointed destruction of the nation.

For far too long have the Disciples of Christ not walked in the miraculous.  We have a mandate from Christ to preach the nearness of the kingdom and to validate it by the miraculous.  This is what Jesus did.  It is what the apostles of old did and it is what the church should be doing.  Jesus tells the Jews, “If I do not do the works of the Father, do not believe ME; but if I do, though you do not believe the Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me and I, in Him.” Jesus also tells his disciples, “Believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else, believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.  Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these will he do.”  (John 14:11-12)  Jesus always pointed to the miraculous for two reasons.  First, His miracles were a public display of the works of God.  Secondly,  they were a testimony of His relationship with the Father.  Likewise, Christians ought to be able to walk as Jesus did and should be able to make the same statements to a dying and unbelieving world.  We have the same relationship with the Father as Jesus did.  He tells us, “I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14: 20) This means that the public demonstration of this relationship is the miraculous works of God done through us.  That is what lights fires in the hearts of men to seek after God.  This is what fires revival.  This is what the prophet prays for.  This is what prophetic people of our time are crying out for.  Mainly, that the sons and daughters of God would demonstrate to the human world the works of God as proof of their relationship with the Father through the Son.  This is what sparks revival.  Oh Lord, Revive Your Works!

Endnotes

  1. Harris, R. Laird; Archer, Gleason L.; Waltke, Bruce; “The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament” Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 1980, page 730.
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