Summary: Habakkuk wonders why God is slow in answering his prayers and why He delays in punishing Judah's evil. He is surprised that God will use the even more wicked Chaldeans as His rod of punishment.
Otab so“A Conversation With God!”
David P. Nolte
Please turn in your Bible to the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk was one of the Minor Prophets of which there were 12 in number. They not called Minor because they’re under 21. They’re not called Minor because they’re less important than the Major Prophets. They are called Minor Prophets because they produced shorter writings than the Major Prophets. A genuine prophet, Minor or Major, was a spokesman for God, bringing whatever message was needed: correction, rebuke, and warning, or comfort, assurance and a glimpse at relevant future events..
Most of us know very little about the Minor Prophets, so over the next couple of weeks or a few weeks or however long, I want to consider some of the Minor Prophets. I won’t commit myself to do all 12 of them or even to 2 of them or to any particular order – we’ll see how the Lord leads.
Today we will consider Habakkuk. Little is known about him, but some speculate by the nature of his writing, which is similar to the poetic style of the Psalms, that he was a Levitical lyricist. Habakkuk wrote this prophecy just before the fall of Judah. Habakkuk was announcing God’s coming judgment upon His people because of their sin and wickedness.
Habakkuk engages in a struggle to understand why God seems to do nothing about the rampant wickedness, strife and oppression in Judah. I’m calling this sermon “A Conversation with God.” It may be a conversation we would like to have.
I. HABAKKUK POSES A QUESTION:
A. Habakkuk engages in a struggle to understand the nature of God and His seeming slowness in dealing with the rampant evil of the people. “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, ‘Violence! Yet You do not save. Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.” Habakkuk 1:2-4 (NASB).
1. “Are you going to punish the wicked?”
2. “Look and see the violence and strife and lawlessness and injustice that is so evident to me!”
3. “I’m sick of the sight of it all!”
B. God replies, “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days — You would not believe if you were told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, That fierce and impetuous people Who march throughout the earth To seize dwelling places which are not theirs. They are dreaded and feared; Their justice and authority originate with themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards And keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, Their horsemen come from afar; They fly like an eagle swooping down to devour. All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. They mock at kings And rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress And heap up rubble to capture it. Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god." Habakkuk 1:5-11 (NASB).
1. “I am doing something!” When it looks like God is doing nothnnh – He is doing something!
2. “I am using the fearsome Chaldeans even though they are wicked!” God uses who He chooses!
3. “But they’ll be dealt with according to their own sins.” He is not unmindful of their transgressions.
C. Habakkuk responds, “But, something seems out of whack here! Israel needs spanking but why use skunks who are worse than we are?”
1. He is still confused as to how a Holy God could consider using iniquitous pagans., “You, O LORD, have appointed them to judge; And You, O Rock, have established them to correct. Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?”
2. He reminds God of the cruelty of the Chaldeans. “Why have You made men like the fish of the sea, Like creeping things without a ruler over them? The Chaldeans bring all of them up with a hook, Drag them away with their net, And gather them together in their fishing net. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they offer a sacrifice to their net And burn incense to their fishing net; Because through these things their catch is large, And their food is plentiful. Will they therefore empty their net And continually slay nations without sparing?” Habakkuk 1:12-17 (NASB). “Why?”