The theme of the book of Habakkuk revolves around Judah’s transgressions. For the prophet realizes that his people deserve divine judgement, and he worries about the result of their misconduct. He worries also about the destiny of the kingdom that God will use to bring about this judgement, the Chaldeans, who seem to be blessed with success.
God responds to Habakkuk’s question by showing him that the humbling of the Israelites will be for their ultimate good, while the earthly success of the of Babylon, will pass away because of God’s punishment.
And in the “prayer” of ch. 3, we see the destruction of the ungodly and the victory of the saints. God’s shows Habakkuk how the great pride of the Chaldeans and the evil doers, ends in death, while the obedience of the righteous to God through faith ends in life. Like, Isaiah the gospel prophet, Habakkuk stresses faith and Godliness.
Why does God allow the righteous to suffer?
The book of Habakkuk provides an answer to the problem of why God allows the wicked to succeed, similar to the answer given by the book of Job to the problem of why God allows the righteous to go through hardships.
Habakkuk believed in God deeply and wished for the victory of the saints, but he could not understand why the Almighty allowed the evil and crime of Judah to go unpunished (Habakkuk 1:1–4; Jeremiah 12:1). God answered him that He has a plan for judging Judah for its wicked action, and that the Babylonians are to be the tool by which He will carry on His will (Habakkuk 1:5–11; Isaiah 10:5–16).
Does God use evil to punish evil?
This answer raises another question in Habakkuk’s mind—How can the Almighty use a nation more evil than Judah to bring judgement to Judah? How can such a plan go hand in hand with divine justice (ch. 1:12–17)? Innocently, Habakkuk asks for a response from God (ch. 2:1). And patiently, God assures him of the surety of His plan with respect to Judah (vs. 2, 3), and then points out to Habakkuk his need for trust and faith (v. 4).
God starts to count the sins of Babylon (ch. 2:5–19). He is fully aware of the wickedness of Babylon and affirms to Habakkuk that He is still in control over all the affairs of mankind. Therefore, all people, including Habakkuk, would do well to “keep silence” before Him (v. 20), and not doubt His wisdom and plans.
A plea for mercy
Seeing that he has exceeded his limits by presuming to question God’s wisdom and will, Habakkuk is sorry. But in love for Judah, he now asks that God’s justice will be mixed with mercy (ch. 3:1, 2). This supplication is followed by a revelation of God’s glory and strength which shows the Almighty working for the redemption of His faithful servants and for conquering of their enemies (vs. 3–16). The book ends with Habakkuk’s confirmation and trust in the wisdom and final triumph of God’s plan (vs. 17–19).
In His service,
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