God's Answer #1 1:5-11
Wow! I don't think this is what Habakkuk expected at all! You think that God's inactivity is hard to understand, just wait until He acts!Habakkuk had it all planned out in his own mind. He thought he knew exactly what his people needed. Maybe alittle discipline, a little spanking - but mostly a good dose of revival. Then they'll turn back to God andeverything will be great. But, that wasn't God's plan.God's plan was to raise up a ruthless, pagan nation who's ambition was nothing less than seizing for themselvesthe entire known world. If Habakkuk knew this, I wonder if he would have even offered the prayer? Can youimagine how he felt at that moment? We look at these events with the benefit of hindsight, so God's reply mightnot seem so shocking to us. But try to imagine this: You've seen the hypocrisy, profiteering, rampant sin, andheresy within the church in America. for some time, you've been fervently pleading with God to act. You hopefor a sweeping revival to hit the nation. finally, God speaks... and he tells you that He's answering your prayers by raising up radical Islam to take over the church. These people who use car bombs and swords as their method of evangelism! That's just how shocking God's revelation to Habakkuk was!I think it's probably a fairly common experience that God answers our prayers in dramatic but unexpectedways... sometimes so unexpected that we may not even recognize the answer. I'm real careful about telling Godto do 'whatever it takes.' You never know to what measures he'll go to, to accomplish the task.John Newton once said that he prayed to experience God more, to know Him in a much deeper way. Heexpected some amazing vision (maybe like Isaiah's vision of The Lord in His temple), some awesome blessing.But, what he got was months of dark depression where God seemed a million miles away, where he feltcompletely abandoned by God. That wasn't Newton's plan. But, God led him into the depths of suffering so that Newton would learn to be totally dependent on Him. When the lesson was learned, only then did God bring himup and bless him.When you think about, though, isn't that the way God often works? We're hard headed. We usually don't learn alesson or drastically change our ways without some pain or hardship. Ever pray for patience? And whathappens... God encompasses you in a halo and suddenly you have supernatural patience, right? No. He putsvarious maddening situations in your path, until you fall into bed exhausted from the trials of the day.Eventually, we'll find ourselves conditioned to understand the lesson.
Habakkuk's Problem #2 Why Does God Use the Wicked to Punish The More Righteous? 1:12-2:1
So, Habakkuk is trying to understand God's answer. It certainly is a lot to digest. I like the way he starts out hisreply to God. "
O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die."
He's trying totake in things that he can't really fathom, so he starts with something that he's fully convinced of. God is eternal.He exists outside of history. In fact, He created history and certainly is in control of it. God will be around longafter the calamity is past. Whatever happens, you can be sure that God is in control and the ultimate outcomewill be good. Whenever life seems to be coming at us head on, when we feel overwhelmed with whatever isgoing on in our lives or in history, it's good to just take a step back and say: "This I know, my God was there before it started, He'll be there when it's over; He created it."