Last week in our blog we were looking at the problem of evil that was present in the day of Habakkuk and Habakkuk’s complaint to God about it. In today’s blog, we want to briefly consider God’s answer to the problem of sinful Judah as it related to Habakkuk’s original problem, “If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why does He tolerate evil?” We read God’s response to Habakkuk’s question beginning in v.5 of chapter 1, “Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth and seize dwelling places not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people, they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor,” (Hab.1:5-7 NIV). Remember Habakkuk’s original complaint was he saw the nation of Judah is filled with sin and many evil practices. So, God assures Habakkuk that he is going to do something beyond his imagination, and He is going to bring the Babylonians in to judge Judah. Notice God says, “I am going to do something”, one of Judah’s fatal flaws was that they presumed upon the grace of God and they lulled themselves into a false sense of security and peace. They believed that because the temple was in Jerusalem that they were safe because the temple represented the very presence of God it could never be destroyed.
God however tells Habakkuk that He is about to do something that will be unbelievable from his point of view. God’s plan was to use the Babylonians, a feared and dreaded people, to bring swift and devastating destruction upon the nation of Judah. God is telling Habakkuk that he will be unable to believe what He was about to tell him. How does God raise up wicked nations and leaders to do His work? He permits them or allows them by removing His normal restraints. Certainly, we have seen God’s hand in history in the 20th century as evil and wicked people have come to power which has led to the devastation and death of millions of people. We would not, if we were God, use evil to bring about good, would we? But this is where God’s thoughts and plans are so much different than our thoughts and plans. God’s plan would be so unbelievable that when Habakkuk declared the message to Judah, they would refuse to believe it. God was not being indifferent or inactive in the face of Judah's sin. He was empathetically at work in ways we can scarcely believe. The question raised by Habakkuk, why does evil prevail, is also relevant for us to consider living in 21st-century America.
If God is a just God, why has He not judged America? Certainly, this was the question on Habakkuk’s mind as it related to his own nation. As it relates to America, I would like to point out that America sends out more missionaries than any other nation. There is a remnant of people who are fully committed to serving the Lord Jesus Christ and to declaring the splendor of His majesty. Remember that God would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah if the angels had found just 10 righteous people there. The Lord Jesus Christ has called us to be salt and light in a dark and tasteless world and I believe that salt has a preservative effect, while light shines in the darkness and cannot be overcome. This is why it is so critically important for us to pass on the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the next generation or there truly will be no hope for America. No political party or president can solve the overwhelming problems that we are facing as a society, only the living God of the universe can.
The infinite God of the universe is under no obligation to explain His actions to His finite creation. World history bears out the fact that God will judge a sinful nation and though the wheels of God’s justice grind slowly, they do keep on grinding. We may not understand why the events that we see happening in our world are happening, but let us be servants to the living God of the universe. Let us seek to be a remnant to show the world that through Jesus Christ heart change can occur. Because of what Jesus has done in my life, I believe He can effectively work and reorder our society, even when it seems like everything is falling apart. The greatest need in America is for spiritual revival and awakening, and that’s not going to happen through a political party. Let’s make sure we are doing our part by committing our bodies as living sacrifices and allowing His Holy Spirit to transform us to work in and through our lives (Rom.12:1,2).
Your humble servant in Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo