“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. They are dreaded and fearsome; their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on. Their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swift to devour. They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gather captives like sand. At kings they scoff, and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it. Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!” (Habakkuk 1:5-11)
God was neither indifferent nor deaf regarding Judah’s sin in the 7th century B.C. He was fully aware of His people’s sin and planned on doing something about the immorality and injustice which prevailed among the Jews, of which the Prophet Habakkuk was particularly grieved.
However, the answer from God which Habakkuk had prayed for was not the answer the prophet expected. God revealed to Habakkuk that He was going to do a work which was inconceivable to the man of God. Yahweh was going to judge Judah by an invasion from the Chaldeans or the Babylonians.
It should be noted that God took full responsibility for the Babylonian invasion of Judah, which would take place at three distinct historical periods: 605 B.C., 597 B.C. and 586 B. C. He told Habakkuk, “For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own.” The Babylonian invasion of Judah was a sovereign and personal work by God. The Chaldeans would invade the City of Jerusalem but only because the Lord God Almighty permitted and orchestrated the invasion to occur.
God gave not only Habakkuk, but also entire nation of Judah, three commands: see, wonder and be astounded. To look and see means to understand, to examine and to make a judgment based upon one’s perceptions and understanding. To wonder and be astounded means to be personally stunned and dumb-founded.
The reason for these commands was because God was going to do a work that Habakkuk would never have believed God would do. It was beyond the prophet’s comprehension of the character of God that He would use the powerful, aggressive and evil empire of Babylon to accomplish His will.
Do we sometimes place God in our own little box of expectations and assumptions as to who He is and what He will do? Do we seemingly seek to replace His sovereign will and prerogative with our own? Having created us in His image, do we endeavor to create a god in our own image and imagination with which we are comfortable and not astounded, stunned and in awe? This is nothing more, nothing less and nothing else than idolatry.
Let us all repent of our sin of unbiblical idolatry and worship the God of the Bible not only in spirit but also in truth (John 4:24).
May God’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!