The book of Habakkuk is a really interesting book; it documents the dialogue between God and the prophet Habakkuk while he was trying to make sense of what was going on around him, and trying to reconcile it with his faith.
Habakkuk’s first question to God was – Why is God not doing anything about the evil in Judah? Why are the evil people not punished?
Then, God told him that He is sending the Babylonians to conquer Judah and bring judgment on Judah (Habakkuk 1:5-11).
To which, Habakkuk raised another question – How could God use a nation that is even more wicked to chastise His own people?
We all have our fair share of moments like this, when we cannot seem to understand what God is doing, or if He is even doing anything. Why do the wicked seem to prosper, while those who are determined to follow Christ have to suffer poverty, sickness, or tribulations?
When what we are experiencing does not seem to tally with what we understand of God or what we understand from the Bible, what do we do?
Habakkuk set a really good example for us to follow.
Firstly, Habakkuk brought all his questions before God. When we meet with a seemingly unjust situation, do we first bring it before God, or men? When something happened that is beyond our understanding, we should not be so quick to discount our faith, but to seek to understand it more through prayers.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
My steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
… When I thought how to understand this,
It was too painful for me—
Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
Then I understood their end. (Psalm 73:2-3, 16-17)
Secondly, Habakkuk waited for God. He went up to the watchtower to wait for God’s answers. As we present our questions before God, we need to wait and also be sensitive to His promptings. They may also come in the form of a verse in your daily bible reading, or perhaps through a conversation with a brethren.
I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected. (Habakkuk 2:1)
Finally, although Habakkuk did not really understand why God was using the Babylonians to judge Judah, he did not present himself as knowing more than God. He questioned God; but remained humble to seek correction from God. From this, we know that although Habakkuk may not fully comprehend what God was doing, he continued to have faith in God’s goodness and know that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).
Similarly, we may have many questions for God today, but we do so not in haughtiness, as though we know better than God; but we do so to seek understanding, to know more and more about Jesus.
In Habakkuk 2, we thus see God explaining that in time to come, the Babylonians will too face judgment for their iniquities. Hence, God is in control, He knows what He is doing, we need not fear.
“But the LORD is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)
This last verse reminded me of one of my favourite verse (and hymn!) – Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10a). No matter what we may be facing at the moment, let us trust in our unchanging, Almighty God and His goodness, and hence, be able to be still and wait on the Lord. Shalom.