Phil Fischer with Jesus Lives – A Devotion on “The Chastisement Of God’s People”
Habakkuk is the only prophet to devote his entire work to the question of the justice of God’s government of the world. He was perplexed that wickedness, strife, and oppression were rampant in Judah, but God seemingly did nothing. Habakkuk assumed that God was sitting on His hands and not listening or acting. This was not the case! We too see violence and evil in our present days and many of us have cried out to God, asking Him to do something. Are we making the same mistake by thinking God is abstaining from action? We pray, End abortion! Stop the violence! Expose the evil and deceit that is so prevalent in our days. Humans often have their own idea as to how to solve problematic issues. So, when God’s plan does takes form we are often surprised and perplexed. This was the case with Habakkuk.
“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
“How long, Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen? Or cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ but You do not save? Why do You make me look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore, the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” Habakkuk 1:2-4 (NIV)
The Lord told Habakkuk that He was preparing to do something, and He was going to use the ruthless Babylonians to execute His judgment. These replies troubled Habakkuk. How could God use a wicked nation to chastise His chosen people?
“I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor.” Habakkuk 1:6-7 (NIV)
“Lord, are You not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, You will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; You, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; You cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do You tolerate the treacherous? Why are You silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” Habakkuk 1:12-13 (NIV)
To some, this scenario may feel very familiar. Is God using our corrupt government and hostile nations to punish America and bring forth His judgment? Could God be answering our prayers for justice but in a way we never expected? Is God exposing the schemes of the devil and the debauchery of public figures? What are we to do? We need only to look at Habakkuk 3. Although the prophet didn’t like what God was planning to do, he trusted in the goodness of God and prayed God would remember mercy in His wrath. He submitted to His will and chose to be joyful knowing God would provide him with the strength to endure.
“Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 2:2 (NIV)
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 2:18-19 (NIV)
From a human point of view, it appears we are living in a tragedy, but it is God’s work just the same. It is ok to wrestle with God about the issues that perplex us, but we need to make sure we take time to listen for His reply. Continue to watch and pray for God to reveal His plan. We need not fret over the future. We know where our true home is and that we are victorious through Christ. The Lord will give us exactly what we need to live each day one at a time.