For June 13, 2021
Ancient Israel was set on a course of demise after King Jeroboam erected the two golden calves in Bethel and Dan while proclaiming to the nation “Here are your gods who brought you out of Egypt.” Although the practice of worshiping idols was strictly forbidden (Exodus 20:2-6), the people worshipped the two golden calves. This practice would lead to the nation’s demise and exile at the hands of the Assyrians in 722 BC (1 Kings 17:7).
The Southern Kingdom, Judah would follow Israel’s lead and erect “high places” for idol worship on every high hill and under every green tree. (1 Kings 14:23) Jehovah was the only true and living God they were to worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. Babylon was God’s instrument of Judah’s chastening and exile.
Nebuchadnezzar carried Daniel and many of Jerusalem’s nobles into captivity around 606 BC. A second wave of deportation happened around 597 BC, with the final wave of destruction 586 BC. Habakkuk saw the impending doom of Judah and questioned God,
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? (Habakkuk 1:13 NIV)
This is an age old question why evil seems to triumph while the righteous suffer. In this instance, God raised up the Babylonians to chasten Judah according to many prophetic warnings. We could surmise that Habakkuk is philosophical in his orientation. For he complain to about being silent in the face of the injustice imposed on Judah—God’s chosen people.
Habakkuk realizes that God’s aim is to punish the people of Judah. Through this lesson the Lord enforces upon his watching servant the great moral principle that arrogance and tyranny will never last, and that the righteous will always be sustained by their faith,
Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4 NKJV)
The presence of sin in the world will ensure evil, pain, and suffering will be experienced by all—including God’s righteous. When Habakkuk posed these questions to God, Judah was wallowing in its sin and political instability. Sin and idolatry was rampant as the people engaged in idol worshipping. Although Pharaoh Neco made Jehoiakim king in Jerusalem, soon Egypt would fade as Assyria’s world domination is replaced by Babylon. But, in less than one–hundred years, the Medo-Persian Empire would bring God’s punishment on Babylon in 539 BC.
As we grapple with the patience of God concerning evil in light of His holiness. Sometimes, we feel, as did the prophet, that the Lord looks at our plight with indifference. But this is not the case due to His great love for us and His wonderful plan for us.
He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ, to provide the answer to our sin problem. And by our faith in Him, we can experience eternal, abundant life. (John 10:10) Also, He has promised to keep us in His care, as we abide in Him, as Habakkuk understood in the final analysis,
Though the fig tree does not bud and no fruit is on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though the sheep are cut off from the fold and no cattle are in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! GOD the Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer; He makes me walk upon the heights! (Habakkuk 3:17-19a NIV)
The Lord’s plan for us is perfect and will always result in our blessing and His glory. In today’s world with widespread idolatry, inflation, political uncertainty, social unrest, random violence, tyranny, rampant sinful behavior leaving many of us overcome with anxiousness and fear.
Nevertheless, we can be at peace, because the Lord is in control, and He has a perfect plan for us. Thus, we can exult in Him in every situation. Won’t you trust in the Lord’s plan for you today?
What a Wonderful Savior!