O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; And, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.— Habakkuk 1:12b, 13b-14
Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he? And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
We’ve already dealt with this subject a lot in our study. The fact is that this is simply a big problem which Habakkuk is stumped with. He knows God desires justice. So why does He let sin continue? Even in the world today, justice is not exacted as it should be. We’ve seen it a lot in the political realm. Some politicians, depending upon their party status, may endure years of investigation based on little evidence and hearsay while others won’t have to sit through a single hearing against them when loads of evidence against them are available to the public! Why does all this continue?
Habakkuk realizes God is Just. “O LORD thou hast ordained them for judgment; And, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.” He doesn’t have an issue believing this. He knows the heathen in Babylon AND Judah are ordained for judgment. There IS an appointed judgment for them. He knows God intends this judgment of Judah to be for the purpose of correction. Moreover, he addresses God as O Mighty God. In Hebrew, the word translated O Mighty God is the word Rock. Indeed this is synonymous with Mighty God. Our Mighty God IS our Rock. But when Habakkuk wrote these words, I believe he was reinforcing the idea that God is the Rock who DOES NOT change. He is the Mighty One who has no REASON for changing.
Though Habakkuk holds firmly to these truths, the problem he must reconcile is this: “Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” Jeremiah prophesied during the same time as Habakkuk. He began prophesying during the time of Josiah. He continued throughout the reigns of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. Jeremiah says this in Jeremiah 12:1-2, “Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? 2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.” To begin His reply, the Lord says, “If thou has run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?” The Lord is telling Jeremiah to man up! Jeremiah was complaining during a time which was far easier to tolerate than what was coming! The Lord proceeds to explain how the Lord would exact judgment upon the heathen. Jeremiah and Habakkuk both dealt with this problem. Whereas Jeremiah’s prophecy seems to speak for the people of Judah, Habakkuk’s is more personal. In Habakkuk’s prophecy we are reading one man’s personal concerns which make this book a very personal one to us. The point in the Lord’s response to both Jeremiah and Habakkuk was the Lord WILL HAVE JUSTICE, but it will be in HIS time. Jeremiah wanted it right when HE wanted it, but he also wanted it to fare well with him at the same time. The same is true of Habakkuk. He KNEW God would have justice. But Habakkuk wanted it to happen THEN! Hopefully, he thought, he could live a peaceful existence for the rest of his earthly life. We aren’t much better. What is our motivation for desiring peace and justice in this life? Is it really to further the cause of righteousness and bring glory to the name of the Lord? Or is it so that WE can live a better, more peaceful life. For sure, life would be great if the murders would cease, the robbing and looting would be stopped, and the lying, lust, fornication, and abortion so prevalent today would be completely eradicated. That would be so nice wouldn’t it? I have news though – that’s not going to happen until Jesus Christ brings full, complete judgment upon the heathen nations and sets up His Kingdom here on earth. THAT will take place in HIS time. It is time for all Born-Again Believers to man up like Jeremiah and Habakkuk and embrace (remember this is the meaning of Habakkuk’s name) these truths. We can’t be wearied running with the footmen when we will have to contend with the horses! It will only get worse! Stay STRONG in the faith. In the midst of violence and sin, give glory to the name of the Lord God Almighty, Our Rock and Our Shield.