The Unveiling Of God’s Instrument Of Judgement

Part 4 of 4
Base on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, Mar-Aug 2014

Thus far, we have considered the Lord’s revelation to Habakkuk concerning His instrument of judgment upon Judah in verses 5-11 of Habakkuk chapter 1. We looked at that passage in three parts: First, the Lord prepares His prophet for what He is about to say and do (verse 5). Second, the Lord identifies His instrument of judgment (verse 6a). Third, the Lord describes His instrument of judgment in greater detail (verses 6b-11).

In this article, I’ll like us to briefly consider two lessons from this passage.

First, the Lord is at work even when we do not see it or understand what He is doing.

Who would have imagined that the Lord was raising up a nation many hundreds of miles away in order to deal with the situation in Judah? Who would have made the connection between the rise of a new and mighty empire with the wickedness and violence amongst God’s covenant people? Habakkuk was totally focused on the local situation in his land. God told him to behold among the nations and see and be astonished and wonder at the work that He was working in his days.

As I mentioned previously, the Babylonian empire began in 626 BC or about 20 years before Habakkuk’s prophecy. So even long before Habakkuk complained to God about the terrible situation in the land, the Lord was already at work to address it.

The same is true today. We may not see or understand what God is doing in the world at this time. There are times when we are tempted to think that God is inactive or asleep or indifferent or unaware of what is going on.

Let me give you an example. Some months ago, I saw a post of one of my facebook contacts. This person, an ex-colleague of mine, is a very staunch atheist and he has a great hatred for the Bible and for the God of the Bible, and he is not afraid to voice that hatred and enmity. He posted a link to a short video clip of a show featuring the American comedian and TV host by the name of Bill Maher. Bill Maher is also a great hater of God and the Bible. I watched that short clip in which he basically cursed God and the Bible and the whole story of Noah and all who believed in it. And the audience was roaring in laughter time and time again.

God is depicted by him as a psychotic mass murderer and a tyrant because He was angry with himself for making mankind so flawed and then decided to send a flood to kill every man, woman and child. There are other things which he said that I cannot bring myself to say but I assure you that it was a very blasphemous clip, made worse by the fact that the live audience found it so amusing. I had to literally force myself to watch it just so that I get a feel for what the unbelieving world thinks about God and His word.  At the end it, I found myself asking, Why Lord, do you allow such utter blasphemies to go unchecked and unrestrained? Why Lord, do you not put a stop now, once and for all, to all this wickedness and evil? How long, O Lord? How long?

And then besides such blasphemies, I also read in the news of Christians in North Korea and Somalia and other countries being shot dead or beheaded for their faith, some of them even women and children, and again, I ask, How long, O Lord will you not hear and save? But I’m reminded by this passage that the Lord is not ignorant or unconcerned. He has been working, He is still working and He will work all things for His own glory and for the good of His people, who are united to His beloved Son. Do we believe that? O for more faith to believe!

But second and closely related to the first, this passage reminds us that the Lord is sovereign over all the nations and empires of the earth. He is sovereign over all the nations and empires of the earth. I mentioned in an earlier article that the sovereignty of God underpins the entire book of Habakkuk and comes out in almost every part. We see it in our text especially in how the Lord raised up the Chaldeans to do His will.

The Babylonians themselves had no consciousness or awareness that they were serving the living and true God. They were only concerned about their own kingdom and acting in their own interests.  And yet, high above them was One who was sovereignly ordering all their affairs and leading them to do His bidding.

Babylon was an instrument in the hands of God for that particular period of history. But so too are all the other nations and kingdoms and empires in history. Truly, from a biblical and godly perspective, the covenant people of God occupy center stage. All the mighty empires revolve around them and serve God’s higher purposes. Again, it is only through eyes of faith that we can see that this is so. The next time you watch the news or pick up a newspaper to read about the current affairs of the world, remember that God is sovereign over all. And He has a plan and purpose for everything. Praise Him for that. Amen.

Linus Chua