“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. God was going to use an evil nation in order to judge the evil committed by the Judeans.
What were the ancient Babylonians like? The LORD provides Habakkuk a clear description of the type of people He chose to use in order to be His instrument of wrath. He said He was raising up the Chaldeans:
- That bitter and hasty nation. They were impetuous and fearful and left a bitter taste in people’s mouths.
- To seize dwellings not their own. The Chaldeans would seize property and possessions, which did not belong to them, by military force. They were thieves.
- They are dreaded and fearsome. They struck terror and distress in the hearts of their enemies.
- Their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. They are a law unto themselves. They decide what is right or wrong.
- 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 are predators who come from a great distance to consume and destroy.
- They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They are completely focused on destruction and plunder.
- They gather captives like sand. Their ability to conquer is easy.
- At kings they scoff, and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it. They laugh at foes and fortresses.
- Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!” They worship power.
Clearly, by God’s own description, the Chaldeans were an evil people. However, they would become a tool by which God would accomplish His will without impugning His holiness.
What was Habakkuk’s response to God’s revelation? We’ll see tomorrow. What is your own response to God’s revelation to Habakkuk? You obviously know that today. Remember, our responsibility is to believe and teach what God’s Word says is true and not believe and teach what we want God’s Word to say is true.
May God’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Gloria!