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Habakkuk 1:12-20 – Habakkuk questions God’s ways

Habakkuk recognizes a couple of truths in 1:12:

  1. God is from everlasting – he is eternal and does not change
  2. God is the Holy One – completely devoted to his glory
  3. Habakkuk accepts that the covenant-making covenant-keeping God of Deuteronomy 28 may ordain the nations as a tool for judging his people for their sin

The difficulty though is how can God use people even more wicked than the wicked in Israel and remain silent as the wicked Babylonians swallow up Israel given that the Babylonians are even more wicked than Israel. Where is the God who has pure eyes and cannot tolerate evil? Where is the God of Nahum?

Habakkuk describes the evil of the Babylonians. They reverse creation turning men into nothing more than fish that they scoop up in their nets. They exploit others for their own wealth and worship their own strength. Are the Babylonians to keep on emptying their net and mercilessly killing nations forever? Habakkuk waits for God to answer.

God’s answer is a word-promise. The word is that he promises in time that he will judge Babylon and as we learned in Nahum – avenging judgment means compassion and restoration for God’s people. In Habakkuk 2:4 we are told that the righteous person will live because of God’s faithfulness – and of course by the person’s belief in God’s faithfulness even if it is delayed because they believe the word spoken to Habakkuk.

Five woes are spoken against Babylon:

  1. (2:5) You plundered the peoples – they will loot you
  2. (2:9) You cut off the peoples – you will be cut you off
  3. (2:12) You fill the earth with cities – God will fill the earth with his glory
  4. (2:15) You expose the nakedness of others – your nakedness will be exposed
  5. (2:18-19) You make silent idols – you will become silent

In other words, God’s judgment is an eye for an eye – it is measured, it does not fall short, nor does it exceed what is warranted.

Habakkuk, God will as jealous and avenging God of Nahum will comfort his righteous people. First by judging the wicked in Israel by employing the more wicked Babylonians and then by judging the Babylonians in justice and faithfulness.

God is always at work. He is sovereign over all peoples and nations. His ways are often mysterious to us. He is always faithful and just. The application comes in the next chapter.