Does Our God Use
– Habakkuk One –
Very little is known about Habakkuk except that he is a prophet of God and that he was incredibly prayerful. He was searching for answers concerning life's difficult questions. Habakkuk chapter one describes God's use of wicked nations to punish other people. Even though man may not understand why God does this we must remember His sovereignty and man's responsibility to Him. The book of Habakkuk deals with many of the hard questions of the Bible. The book of Habakkuk is a struggle as the prophet goes boldly to God to discuss matters that he does not understand. During Habakkuk's day the people were very wicked, chaos reigned and justice was non-existent. Habakkuk felt that he had cried and cried for justice and yet he could not understand why God was still silent. Habakkuk had prayed to God for some extended time concerning the wrong-doing and injustice of the land. He described the evils of his day with words like iniquity, grievance, spoiling, strife and contention. Habakkuk prayed for God to set the matter straight but he felt that God was not answering.
God told Habakkuk that He was doing something already! He said, "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you." God would bring the Chaldeans against the Jews to destroy them. He knew that the Chaldeans were a wicked people. They were simply a strong military force that God would use to punish the wrongs of His own people. The Chaldeans were arrogant, despiteful and blood-thirsty. They trusted in their own strength. The fact that God would use this wicked nation to punish His people was not at all what Habakkuk expected. When we pray we must expect God to answer with what is best, though it might not necessarily be what we expected. Habakkuk saw God as eternal and wondered how He could use a wicked nation to accomplish His purpose. We must remember the sovereignty of God and have complete faith that He will always do what is best.
Habakkuk's complaint concerning evil -- Habakkuk 1:1-4: Habakkuk identified himself simply as "the prophet." He wrote, "The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see." (Habakkuk 1:1) He was given a message from God and that message was written in this little book. The prophet had great respect for the Almighty and for His revelation. Habakkuk lamented the corruption and violence that was going on in Judah. He had been praying to God for help. Now he asked God, "How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?" The prophet knew that Judah had just gone too far to avoid God's judgment and he wondered when God would do something. He lamented the horrible spiritual condition of God's people. He had watched terrible injustice. He was concerned that God allowed violence, lawlessness, crime, and cruelty to continue and to spread everywhere. The people had become careless both in the practice and the enforcement of the Law. Habakkuk felt that justice was lost in all of the wickedness. The criminals had crowded out honest people and God’s Laws were both twisted and ignored.
God answered Habakkuk's complaint -- Habakkuk 1:5-11: God assured Habakkuk that He was busy doing something about the situation that was so much bothering him. He told the prophet that he would be amazed at was already happening. In fact even if God told him what He was doing Habakkuk would never believe what was taking place right then. Many prophecies had dual application. Paul quoted this same verse and applied it to what Jesus did to bring salvation to mankind. "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you." (Acts 13:41) God told Habakkuk that he was sending the Chaldeans or the Babylonians through Israel to conquer cities and towns. They were a fierce and cruel people set on destruction. They would take possession of the entire country. These Chaldeans were fearsome and frightening. They made their own rules and did as they pleased. They were swift and ferocious and would come quickly to destroy. They would make fun of rulers and laugh at fortresses. The people of Israel would be gathered like handfuls of sand. The Chaldean army would come against the people of God without fear. In all of this the Chaldeans would make one tragic mistake, that of giving praise to their gods for overcoming Israel. They did not recognize that the Almighty God caused this to happen.
Habakkuk replied to God -- Habakkuk 1:12-14: Habakkuk addressed God on behalf of the people. In this appeal to God he contrasted God’s power and purity with what God was doing with the destructive work of the evil Babylonian army. Habakkuk recognized God as holy and also as Lord. He knew that God is eternal. The prophet understood that the nation of Judah would not cease but that they would face severe punishment. They were safe from total destruction because God had promised to bring the Messiah to earth through those people. The Babylonians would be used to correct the evils of the Jews. Habakkuk knew that God can not stand sin and iniquity, even though He sees everything, right or wrong. The prophet is impatient and he wonders how God could sit ideally by while the Babylonians devour a people that are better than they are. The prophet felt that the Jews could easily be destroyed by the Babylonians. They had no strong spiritual leader to guide them, nor did they have a strong defense to protect them. Without the protection of God the people could be as easily be taken captive, just as fish could be caught.
Habakkuk saw a terrible destruction -- Habakkuk 1:15-17: Habakkuk saw the Chaldeans dealing with the Jews like fish being caught in a net and consumed. The enemy would come and destroy and take them captive with hooks and nets. Some would be taken captive one by one while others Jews would be taken away in groups. The Chaldeans rejoiced and congratulated themselves on their victory over Judah. The enemy could only see their might and their power. They did not realize that God's hand was in this matter. They looked at the net, their power and might, as their god. They thought they had gained the victory on their own. They celebrate their strength and victory with a banquet "because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous." They did not know nor understand that God was using them to punish his people. Habakkuk asked God how long He was going to allow the Chaldeans to continue their wicked punishment of Israel. "Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?" (Habakkuk 1:17) When the punishment was sufficient Babylon would not be permitted to continue her wicked dealing with God's people.
Those that serve God are blessed and those that rebel are punished. Is it your desire to see the will of God done? If so it is time to become a Christian now! To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism follow Jesus in faithfulness as He leads you home to heaven. (Revelation 2:10)