“O Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O Lord, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.” (Habakkuk 1:12)
When the prophet Habakkuk complained to God about the wickedness of Judah – and God’s seeming indifference – God’s response was surprising, “I am raising up the Babylonians….” (Habakkuk 1:6)
Habakkuk was taken aback. “Wait, what?! How can a holy God use a wicked nation like Babylon to punish a better nation like Judah?” That’s a good question. I think it is very important, though, to notice how the prophet asks it.
Habakkuk begins by acknowledging three important facts: 1) God is eternal; 2) God is holy; and 3) we will not die. Habakkuk is obviously perplexed about God’s plan – it makes no sense to him. It doesn’t seem “fair.” Still, he is asking his questions from a position of faith.
The prophet knows the character of God. He knows God is eternally good. He knows that God has time in his hands. He knows God is sovereign over the nations of the world. And he knows that God has always been, and always will be, faithful to his covenant with Israel – even when they are not faithful to him.
With those facts established, Habakkuk knows that whatever comes down the pike, it won’t be the end of the nation (see Romans 11).
So, it is from this place of faith that Habakkuk bows to the inevitable conclusion that the Lord appointed them to execute judgment and ordained them to punish.
We don’t have all the answers. Sometimes God gives us the answers and we don’t like them. You may remember, Habakkuk’s name means “embrace.” When we’re questioning God’s handling of the circumstances and world around us, we must step out in faith, embrace God, and pray Habakkuk’s prayer: “God, I know you are eternally good, and I know that you love me. I don’t understand all that’s going on, but I trust you. Come what may, my life is built on the rock that is you.”
Sunday, we’ll keep digging into the Prophet Habakkuk in our sermon series, “God, Where Are You?” If you’ve ever asked some tough questions of the Lord, you’re in good company. I hope you’ll join us.