As a parent, I look at the evil that runs rampant and I can worry for my children. If its school shootings in the news, yet another abduction, or even a Bible Study that is violently torn apart by a young man who has completely turned him self over to it, what kind of direction are we headed. Then we look at the culture that they are growing up in and you consider the ludicrousness that is the gender identity movement, the growing oppression and censorship of the Church, and the exaltation of sex in every part of our life and ask where God is in all of this?
Whether we see our society succumbing to and even worshiping evil or we see a coworker or competitor pulling ahead because of less that moral practices, the logical question for the believer is to ask , “Why, Lord, do the wicked prosper? Wont you bring justice?” Habakkuk asked these same questions when he was confronted with the same evil, watching the wicked advance.
Here are 4 lessons that the First part of Habakkuk can teach us:
The most overstated and underutilized practice of the Christian life. We have been given access to God the father Himself. The Catholic church would have you go through a priest, the mormons wait to go through a false prophet in Utah, and not even Muhammed trusted Allah, yet, by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, we can approach the King directly with our concerns and enemies. We can be confident that he will respond. Just as Habakkuk stood in his watchtower expecting a reply from the Lord.
Habakkuk saw this evil and cried out to God….for quite some time. To the point he was unsure if God even heard his pleas. When is the last time that you approached Him this earnestly?
2 Pray according to the Promises and Character of God.
What is most remarkable about Habakkuk’s conversation with the Lord, is that his requests and charges were all based in what God had already promised, and who He claimed to be. He appealed to God’s Holiness and Justice in 1:12 & 13. He appealed to God’s promises made to his people in vs 11 and he appealed to God’s jealousy for the worship of only the true God in vs 16.
Habakkuk’s request focus on what God has already revealed about Himself, and therefore will be met with a clear answer in the future. The parallel and application for us, is to ask, “How do I Pray?” Are your prayers focused primarily on your comforts and desires for self fulfillment, or are they based in the Truths of who God is? Do you know what those promises and character traits are, well enough to pray them?
3 His answer may not be what you expect.
Rest assured, God will answer. Even here, after a long period of crying out to God, Habakkuk expects and answer. The one he receives is not what he would have expected or even wanted. God says he will bring justice to Israel by using one of the most brutal people in the area to decimate them and pull them into captivity. After all of that God says that he is going to bring an even worse evil into the land to accomplish his will.
The answer you get, may not be what you expect. It may be way more painful and cost you way more than you had anticipated. You may have a different idea as to what is best and what needs to happen, but let me take the time to remind you, God’s point is your sanctification, not your comfort.
4 God is Sovereign and He is the one that has ordained the purpose for the evil
In God’s initial response to Habakkuk He says he is the one that will raise up the forces of the barbaric Babylonians. He is the one that will bring distraction on Israel. This can be one of the hardest Bible truths to come to grips with, but it is also the sweetest in a believers life. Every trial and the greatest evil that we face, is being used for God’s glory and our good. these happenings in life are not an accident that God could stop but chose not to, as the word “allow” might indicate. Rather God has ordained the very evil that we see in our lives, and the lives of our Children. Our Job is to show them the God that has promised His children peace and everlasting life if they repent. Our Job is to not let the evil in this world and our worry of it, distract from the King who is on His throne.
“There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that sovereignty overrules them, and that sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought to more earnestly contend to than the doctrine of their Master over all creation–the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands–the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that throne…for it is God upon the Throne whom we trust.”