Crossroads: Habakkuk – Praising God when Hungry

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Habakkuk 3:17-18

My Story

“Mom, how much longer until supper’s ready? I’m starving!” Have you ever said something like this to your mom or dad? I remember one time when I was young and my grandparents came to visit. My mother was making my favorite meal for dinner that night—homemade chicken and dumplings. Well, I knew we were having my favorite meal for supper, so I didn’t eat much lunch that day and skipped my afternoon snack so I could eat huge servings of chicken and dumplings. We usually ate dinner around 6:30, but I was starving by 5:00. I remember asking over and over, “How much longer until we eat?”

Well, finally it was time to eat. I remember we sat down at the table, and there in front of me was a large serving bowl full of that yummy chicken and dumplings. I couldn’t wait, so I started piling the food on my plate. But then my mom said, “Wait—first we need to say the blessing.” So, we bowed our heads, closed our eyes, and my father began to pray. And he prayed, and he prayed, and he prayed. I was so hungry. During that long prayer, I kept opening one eye just a little to make sure the chicken and dumplings weren’t disappearing as my father prayed and prayed. Finally he finished, and it was time to eat. I think I ate enough chicken and dumplings for four or five people that night. But I learned an important lesson: It’s very difficult to concentrate on prayer and worshipping God when you are hungry.

Your Story

Can you think of a time in your life when you were very hungry? Describe the experience. How long was it before you were able to eat?

• Why is it difficult to focus on something else when we are hungry?
• Have you ever tried to worship God or pray when you were hungry? If so, were you able to worship God or were you distracted?
• Is it easier to worship God when we are happy or when we are sad? Is it easier to worship God when we are hungry or when we are full?
• How can we focus on worship when we are thinking about other things? What should we do to help us focus on God?

The Bible Story

In our passage for today, Habakkuk’s situation was much more difficult than having to wait for a prayer to eat. For Habakkuk and all the people living in his community, there was no food. He and his friends had nothing to eat. But Habakkuk prayed even though there was nothing to eat.

The name Habakkuk sounds kind of funny to us today. In his day, however, the name Habakkuk was not unusual. Habakkuk was a prophet of God who lived in Israel about 600 years before the time of Jesus. When Habakkuk was alive, a group of people named the Chaldeans had risen to power and controlled all of Israel. It was a very difficult time for God’s people because the Chaldeans took most of their food and animals, leaving very few resources for the Jewish people. Habakkuk recognized how difficult life was for him and his fellow Israelites, but Habakkuk told the people that God had allowed the Chaldeans to rule them because the Israelites had turned away from God.

At the very end of Habakkuk’s book, he says something very interesting. In our verses for today, Habakkuk writes, “Even though there are no figs or grapes, no olives or crops in the field, and even though we don’t have any sheep or cattle, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” Habakkuk is telling his Israelite friends, “Yes, life is tough right now. We don’t have any crops to eat or any animals either, but still I will worship God.” Some of the Israelites said they wouldn’t worship God again until they had something to eat, but Habakkuk says that we should worship God when things are good and also when things are not so good.

Discussion

• Describe how Habakkuk and his friends felt when they had nothing to eat.
• Why do some people get angry with God when they are hungry or thirsty?
• In our world today, almost one billion people do not have enough food to eat. Do you think it is easy or difficult for those who are hungry to worship God? Why?
• Do you know someone who doesn’t have enough to eat? If so, how could you and your family help that person?
• What can we learn from Habakkuk in this passage?

Prayer

Thank God for all of our blessings, including the food we eat every day. Ask God to help those who do not have enough to eat today. Pray that God will give us the faith to pray and worship even when life is difficult.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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