Habakkuk part 3 – 1:5-11 – God Responds

  [5] “Look among the nations, and see;
              wonder and be astounded.
  For I am doing a work in your days
              that you would not believe if told.
  [6] For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
              that bitter and hasty nation,
  who march through the breadth of the earth,
              to seize dwellings not their own.
  [7] They are dreaded and fearsome;
              their justice and dignity go forth from themselves.
  [8] Their horses are swifter than leopards,
              more fierce than the evening wolves;
              their horsemen press proudly on.
  Their horsemen come from afar;
              they fly like an eagle swift to devour.
  [9] They all come for violence,
              all their faces forward.
              They gather captives like sand.
  [10] At kings they scoff,
              and at rulers they laugh.
  They laugh at every fortress,
              for they pile up earth and take it.
  [11] Then they sweep by like the wind and go on,
              guilty men, whose own might is their god!” (ESV)

It is amazing that God welcomes His people to cry out “How long?” in the face of suffering and injustice.  It is even more amazing that in Habakkuk’s case, He responds.  He is a God who hears and a God who is intimately involved in the details of our lives and our world.  God’s response to Habakkuk’s complaint has two components: 1. God is ALREADY at work, and 2. It is NOT in the way you’d expect.

God is keenly aware of the situation among His people and has already been working (before Habakkuk brings it up) to raise up the Chaldeans (Babylonians) as the new regional superpower to deal with it.  Surprisingly, God will use this violent and fierce nation that is morally worse than Israel to accomplish His good purposes for Israel, which at this point in time is overrunning them.  While Habakkuk had seen violence among his own people (v.2), the Chaldeans would take violence to a new level (v. 9), eventually leveling Jerusalem and capturing God’s precious people in 586 BC.

In the face of disaster, God is already at work to bless His people.  He’s been at work long before we ever think to ask.  And yet He works in surprising ways that no one could predict.  Sometimes, like in this case, He makes things seemingly much worse in order to ultimately make them better.  Sometimes he inflicts pain in order to heal.  But He is always working for the good of His people.