Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:— Habakkuk 1:13a
Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously . . .
The fourth truth Habakkuk states is the holiness of God. “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” God is all-knowing. He is all-powerful. He is righteous in His judgments. He is love. Our God has so many other characteristics. But before all these, God is Holy. Sin is repugnant to our Lord. He hates it. Sin is so abhorrent to God that He requires bloodshed to requite it. He is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and he cannot look upon iniquity. God in His omniscience is fully aware of sin. The phrase, “look on” or “look upon,” often implies acceptance, sympathy, or approval. In Genesis 29:32, God looked upon the affliction of Leah who was unloved and neglected. In Exodus 2:25, God had compassion on Israel for their hardships in Egypt and looked upon the children of Israel. David cries out in Psalm 25:18, “Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.” We read in Psalm 119:132, “Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.” Though God is fully aware of sin in the world, he does not at all look upon sin in approval. He WILL JUDGE sin.
Habakkuk KNOWS this truth. The problem he tries to reconcile is why it seems as though the wicked are blessed. He asks, “Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” The Chaldeans were indeed blessed by God. God was the one who allowed the Babylonians to rise up as a world power. Habakkuk wonders why. The Chaldeans were even MORE wicked than Judah. Why do they seem to be blessed? Why does it seem as if the Lord is looking upon the wicked in approval? Why does the Lord allow the wicked to have their way?
This is a problem we must reconcile as well. How we do it is by, once again, putting on spiritual eyes. We must mentally step out of our time to view the timeline of eternity. The little speck on the timeline is the moment in time when the wicked have their way, but look at the rest of eternity! That little speck is pitifully insignificant! Think about Habakkuk NOW! He’s enjoying the presence of the Lord, surrounded by holiness and peace! If a Babylonian happens to be there with him, that Babylonian is saved, bought by the blood, and living in righteousness right alongside Habakkuk! It’s very natural for us to get upset when the wicked do us harm. It oftentimes angers us and discourages us. We can hold a bitter grudge against them for years, but it will only ever bring us down spiritually. Like Habakkuk, we must reconcile this problem of the wicked’s success with the truth of God’s holiness. Like Habakkuk, we must lay aside our bitterness toward the wicked and cry out, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD!” Who cares if the wicked have their way in this life! God is against them! You can take comfort in the fact that though the Lord will exact righteous judgment upon the wicked for their sin, He has cast all our sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Our sins are covered by the blood! Praise the Lord!