April 19, 2011

Minor Prophets LXXI: Stormfront

Habakkuk 1:1-4: (Habakkuk to God-Complaint 1) The times were difficult and dangerous for a righteous man. Habakkuk complains and whines about the wickedness and injustice going unpunished. He feels God is indifferent to his plight. Everywhere he turns there is violence, strife and conflict abounds. The law is “paralyzed and justice never prevails” instead justice is perverted. Habakkuk is praying that God would do something about it but he feels his pleas are falling on deaf ears.

Habakkuk 1:5-11: (God to Habakkuk-Part 1) The Lord assures that this situation will be dealt with. Not just in a blasé manner either but in an amazing way. Even as God spoke to Habakkuk He as concurrently at work among the nations remedying the problem. He was at work in a way that even Habakkuk would believe. I am betting he wished he hadn’t heard it once he heard it too. The Lord was raising up the loathsome, godless and lawless Babylonians to punish the Jews. Paradoxically, they were a law unto themselves coming to exact a punishment against God’s own people that…did not obey God’s laws. They were a people “fiercer that wolves at dusk” intent on violence. The hordes of a Babylonian empire would descend on them like a desert wind…and they would be unstoppable.

Habakkuk 1:12-2:1: (Habakkuk to God-Complaint 2) In Habakkuk’s mind God’s answer wasn’t really and answer, it was only another conundrum for him, another question to puzzle over. How could a holy God, his Holy One appoint such a heathen nation such as the Babylonians to exact a judgment against his people? How could God chose a more depraved nation than His own people to punish them? Habakkuk focuses on the holiness of God while simultaneously questioning the decisions and mind of God. He believes the punishment God is about to bring is too severe. It appears God will allow evil to be perpetrated on His own people in contrast to His holy nature. He then switches over to a fish analogy, that all people are like fish (helpless) and the wicked (Babylon) pull all of them up with hooks and catches them in his net, so he rejoices and is glad. Habakkuk then appeals to the haughtiness of the Babylonians and the fact that they trust in their own military might and that they worship gods of power and violence. He just doesn’t understand how God could honor them by letting them get a leg up on His people, it bewilders him. What he fails to see is that those who God raises up…God can also destroy.

Habakkuk 2:2-5: (God to Habakkuk-Part 2) The Lord tells Habakkuk to write down the revelation He is about to reveal. Write it in a plain manner so that a herald can run with it. It is about the end in a future time. What end? The immediate application would be the Babylonian captivity. The writer of Hebrews seems to think it refers to Jesus Christ. The Jew in captivity would wonder, “Will God deliver us?” Yes, He would deliver his people. Jew and Gentile alike and the “righteous person will live by his faithfulness”

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