Violence in the Land
Here is what the prophet saw in the land. He saw violence (Hab 1:2), injustice (Hab 1:3), destruction, strife and conflict (Hab 1:3). He saw the wicked hemming in the righteous (Hab 1:4). This was a heavy burden for Habbakuk, so he cried out to the Lord about it.
(Picture from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.)
God uses wicked nations to bring judgment
The Lord answered his prayer, and here is what He showed him. God uses wicked nations to punish His people. He raised up the Babylonians, who were ruthless and impetuous people (Hab 1:6). They were bent on violence (Hab 1:9). They were a law to themselves (Hab 1:7). They swept across the earth and seized homes that belonged to others (Hab 1:6), and promoted their own honor (Hab 1:7). They gathered many prisoners (Hab 1:9). They scoffed at the rulers of the nations they invaded (Hab 1:10). No matter how strong their enemies’ defenses, they just laughed at them (Hab 1:10). They destroyed nations without mercy (Hab 1:17). They were godless and guilty men, whose own strength was their god (Hab 1:11). Therefore, they were feared and dreaded (Hab 1:7). The Lord appointed them to execute judgment and ordained them to punish (Hab 1:12). He stood silent while these treacherous and wicked people swallowed up other people, who were more righteous than they (Hab 1:13). This was utterly amazing and unbelievable to the prophet (Hab 1:5).
I see much the same thing happening today. God still uses wicked nations to punish His people. He raises up a nation of people who are ruthless and impetuous. They are bent on violence and a law to themselves. They sweep across the earth and seize homes that belong to others. They promote their own honor. They gather many prisoners. They scoff at the rulers of the nations they invade. No matter how strong their enemies’ defenses, they just laugh at them. They destroy nations without mercy. They are godless and guilty men, whose own strength is their god. Therefore, they are feared and dreaded. The Lord has appointed them to execute judgment and ordained them to punish. He stands silent while these treacherous and wicked people swallow up other people, who are more righteous than they. This is utterly amazing and unbelievable to the Lord’s people, who must stand by and watch it happen.
Cry out to the Lord for mercy
All we can do is repent of any known sin in our lives, pray for mercy (Hab 3:1) and ask the Lord to intervene. When Habakkuk complained to the Lord about this, here is the answer he received. The Lord gave him a revelation of the end times and told him to write it down, so that others could run with the message and proclaim it. He said that even though it seems to take a long time to come to pass, it would surely come to pass.
Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay." (Hab 2:2-3)
As we wait, we will continue to see these things unfold. We will see the wicked ruler, who is puffed up. It will be obvious that his desires are not right (Hab 2:4). But the righteous will live by faith (Hab 2:4). Even Paul the apostle reiterated this in his letter to the Romans (Rom 1:17). We need to trust the Lord through all this and live by faith in Jesus Christ.
Make up your mind beforehand
If you are a disciple of Christ, you need to determine in your heart not to give up or give in. You need to make up your mind beforehand that you will rejoice in the Lord and be joyful in your Savior, Jesus Christ, no matter what happens (Hab 3:18). In the day of calamity, you need to wait patiently for Him (Hab 3:16). Even if there is another Great Depression, wait for Him. Even if the trees do not bear fruit, the crops fail, the fields produce no food, and all the animals are dead, you need to determine to rejoice in the Lord (Hab 3:17). He is your strength (Hab 3:19)!
Surely the Lord will bring deliverance
The Lord Jesus surely comes to deliver and save His people (Hab 3:13). When He does, it will cause the earth to shake and the nations to tremble (Hab 3:6). He will crush the wicked leader of the land and strip him from head to toe (Hab 3:13). The tables will be turned on him (Hab 2:7). Those he plundered will plunder him (Hab 2:8).
Afterward, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Hab 2:14). How do the waters cover the sea? The waters of the sea are deep and wide. That’s how the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will be. It will be a deep knowledge and it will be wide. All across the earth, people will know the Lord Jesus Christ in a deep, personal way.
Putting it All Together
Today the world we live in is much like the way it was in the day Habbakuk lived. We see violence in the land, bloodshed in the streets, injustice, strife, and destruction.
The economy has been terrible for years now, and in 2011 the analysts are saying that we could be going into a double dip recession. Others say that it is probably much worse than that. They say it is going to be another Great Depression that exceeds the severity of the 1929 Depression.
Maybe you are already feeling like all means have failed. Maybe you are frightened at the prospects of all this. If you are a disciple of Christ, I want to encourage you today to put your hope in God.
The place to begin is to repent of any known sin in your life. Cry out to the Lord for mercy. Then live by faith in Jesus Christ. Trust Him moment-by-moment and day-by-day. Make up your mind to rejoice in the Lord, regardless of what is happening around you. He is your strength.
Jesus is coming back soon! Wait for Him! He will surely bring deliverance. And the knowledge of the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, it is continued in Part Two on my next post. If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Home page for this blog, and you can also find my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.