2016-01-17 - Habakkuk
God Does Act to Discipline
God’s first point seems to be note that Habakkuk is being very provincial in his thinking. We do have a tendency to get so caught up in our own situation, no matter how accurate our concern, that we lose sight of what may be the bigger picture. Dr. McGee identifies this approach when he notes:
“God is challenging Habakkuk to open his eyes and look about him, to get a world view of what He is doing. One great crisis after another has taken place. The great Assyrian Empire in the north has been conquered, and Nineveh, its capital, has been destroyed. On the banks of the Euphrates River, a kingdom is arising which already has won a victory over Egypt at Carchemish. Nebuchadnezzar is the victor, and he is bringing Babylon to the fore as a world power. God is saying to Habakkuk, “Behold ye among the nations–you think I’m not doing anything? I am not sitting on the fifty-yard line watching this little world. I am very much involved.” He is not involved to the extent that He is subject to it and has to make certain plays because they are forced upon Him. God is moving in a sovereign way in the universe. He is doing something about sin–“Behold ye among the nations, and regard and wonder marvelously.” 1
While God’s message is spoken to Habakkuk, it is directed to the Judeans. He instructs them to look at the word, referring to the Gentile nations. He tells the Jews that He is about to act in a way that is of such magnitude, they won’t believe it.
What the Jews would be unwilling to believe, is God would take His own people and turn them over to a foreign power, and Jerusalem would be destroyed. How could God take His people, and let the heathen destroy them? After all, the Jew was better than the heathen. The problem with that kind of thinking is, God is concerned with the behavior of His own people, rather than those who don’t follow Him.
Both believers and non-believers fall into the trap of thinking that because God hasn’t acted, He never will. And because it appears God allowed the Judeans to get away with their sins, they won’t believe the day is coming when He will judge them. And, to add insult to injury, He is going to use the godless as His instrument against the “godly.”
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.