In studying the Book of Habakkuk we need to begin by identifying three fundamental premises undergirding the entire book. What are these three fundamental premises or assertions?
First, Habakkuk teaches the truth that evil exists. What kind of evil exists? There are notably four categories of evil. There is Natural Evil, Moral Evil, Supernatural Evil and Eternal Evil: otherwise known as Hell.
The second premise from Habakkuk is that God exists. Who is this biblical God? What is He like? The following is but a partial summary of the character of the One, True God of the Bible.
To begin with, the God of the Scriptures is known by His names. There are three foundational names or titles for God.
The first is the Hebrew name Yahweh. Self- Existent One. It is translated in the English as “LORD” (Exodus 3:1-6, 14-15; Psalm 8:1; Isaiah 6:1-7. This is the most personal name for God. I Am that I Am. See John 6, 8, 9,10,11,14 and 15.
The second name is Elohim, translated into English as ‘God”. It is a plural name for God and is used more than 2,000 times in the Old Testament. The only powerful and transcendent God Who is above all (Genesis 1:1; 17:1; 28:1-3; 35:11; Joshua 3:10).
The third name is Adonai. It is translated in the English as “Lord.” It occurs 449 times alone and 315 times in conjunction with the name Yahweh. Adonai emphasizes the master-servant relationship. The Lord is the Master of all. He is One who is sovereign in His rule and has absolute authority over all (Psalm 8:1; Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 2:42; I Timothy 6:15; Revelation 6:9-11).
The God of the Bible is also known by His attributes or characteristics. What is the God of the Bible like?
First, God is Unique. There is no other God by Him. (Genesis 1:1; Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 40:15-18). God alone is the Supreme Authority.
Second, God is Sovereign. His will is supreme. So far from God being under any law, He is a law unto Himself so that whatsoever He does is right. God is in complete control (Psalm 115:1-3; 135:1-6; Isaiah 45:1-9; 46:1-10; Acts 4:23-26; I Timothy 6:15-16; Revelation 6:9-11).
Third, God is Self-Existent. This is in harmony with His name Yahweh. God does not require anything outside of Himself in order to exist. God is the source, the sustainer, and the rightful end of everything that exists. (Exodus 3:13-14; Romans 11:33-34; Job 41:10-11; Psalm 50:7-15; Psalm 24:1-6).
Fourth, the LORD is Infinite. He has no limitations. He is bounded only by His own nature and will (I Kings 8:22-27; Jeremiah 23:24; Acts 17:22-28).
Fifth, God is Omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12). God is everywhere present. This doctrine brings comfort to the believer since he knows that God will never leave him (Hebrews 13:5). However, it brings condemnation to the unbeliever since he cannot escape from God (Jeremiah 23:23-24).
Sixth, God is Omniscient (Psalm 147:1-5). God knows everything perfectly; the past and the future are present knowledge with Him. God perfectly knows us, our needs, our problems, and our future.
Seventh, the LORD Omnipotent (Job 38-42). God is all-powerful. God can do anything that is in harmony with His nature. Because of God’s omnipotence, we can trust Him to work out the impossible problems (Genesis 18:14; Isaiah 45:6-7; 64:4; Matthew 19:26).
Eighth, God is Immutable (Malachi 3:6; Numbers 23:19; James 1:17; Romans 1:29; Genesis 6:6). Immutability means that God is unchangeable in His essence and attributes. God doesn’t change, but we experience the working of various attributes in response to our growth in Him.
Ninth, God is Wise. God always applies and lives by His truth (Psalm 136:5; Proverbs 3:19; I Corinthians 2:1-7; I Timothy 1:17; Jude 25).
Tenth, the LORD is Incomprehensible. He is beyond our complete and total understanding (Job 38-41; Isaiah 40:12-17; Romans 11:33-36).
Additionally, God is Knowledge (I John 3:20; Psalm 139:1-54; Colossians 2:1-3; 2 Corinthians 10:5), Wisdom (Psalm 104:24; Proverbs 3:19; Genesis 50:20; I Corinthians 1:24; James 1:5), Truth and Faithfulness (2 Timothy 2:13; I John 1:5-7).
The LORD is also Good (Psalm 145:9; Jeremiah 33:11; Matthew 5:45; Luke 6:27-36), Love (I John 4:7-11; Exodus 34:6-7), Holy ( I Peter 1:15-16; Leviticus 11:44-45; Isaiah 6Z:1-7) and Merciful (Ephesians 1:6-8; 2:8-9; Proverbs. 3:1-3; Psalm 37:26; Isaiah 57:1).
Theologian Arthur W. Pink writes, “A spiritual and saving knowledge of God is the greatest need of every human creature. The foundation of all true knowledge of God must be a clear mental apprehension of His perfections as revealed in Holy Scripture. An unknown God can neither be trusted, served nor worshipped…Something more than a theoretical knowledge of God is needed by us. God is only truly known in the soul as we yield ourselves to Him, submit to His authority, and regulate all the details of our lives by His holy precepts and commandments.”
How do we reconcile the existence of evil with the Bible’s insistence of the existence of the One, True, and Holy God? This is what we will consider when next we meet.
Until then, may God’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!