For an introduction to this series, click here.
Nov. 17, 2006Habakkuk is a rich book. The topic of the book is the coming destruction of Israel by Babylon. The theme of the book is God's ultimate goodness even when He allows bad things to happen.
God tells Habakkuk at the beginning of Chapter 1 that He is sending the Babylonians to destroy Israel. In response, Habakkuk protests,
"You who are of purer eyes than to see evil, and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and are silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?" (1:13)
Habakkuk does not understand how God could allow a more wicked nation, Babylon, to destroy a less wicked nation, Israel. God basically responds in the beginning of Chapter 2 that He is God and He can do what he wants. He does give a promise that those who obey God will be spared: "The righteous shall live by his faith." (2:4) Of course, this quote is used by Paul twice - once in Romans and once in Galatians - and by the writer of Hebrews, and those three references are some of the most important passages in the New Testament.
Most of the rest of Chapter 2 is a response by God that the Babylonians will be punished one day for their sin, including their sin of destroying Jerusalem. I don't pretend to understand God completely, but scripture is clear that God uses wicked people to do wicked things for His purpose. He does not let their wickedness go unpunished, but yet He remains sovereign through all of it.
Most of Chapter 3 is a prayer thanking God for his goodness in spite of what is going to happen. The last three verses of this book is one of my favorite passages in all the Bible:
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive shall fail and fields shall yield no food, the flock shall be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread upon my high places.”(3:17-19, ESV)
It doesn't matter if nothing goes right, God is in control, and He is still good, no matter what it looks like to us.