In Habakkuk, Jesus is the Fulfillment of God’s Shocking Acts
December 24, 2015
“I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower. I will watch to see what He will say to me and what I should reply about my complaint.” –Habakkuk 2:1
Poor Habakkuk. I mean, who in the world gives much attention to the tiny book that bears his name at the back of the Old Testament? Let’s be honest. If you’ve ever read the Bible through (or tried to), by the time you get to Habakkuk…
Not only is it in an obscure and difficult place in the Bible, but Habakkuk is also a difficult book to read, period. It is unlike other prophetic books. Usually, God speaks to a prophet and the prophet tells God’s people what God says. Here in Habakkuk, however, we just read of some back and forth bantering (complaining!) of Habakkuk with God Himself. No message from the prophet to the people. Just a conversation between a whiny prophet and God. So, what is it about, and what does it have to do with Jesus?
Truth be told, were we in the same situation, we would probably be griping to God too. God’s people (Israel) were rebelling more and more and more and more. And it seemed as if God was just letting it happen and was nowhere around to “fix” it. To make matters worse, God informed Habakkuk that He was going to punish His people by using even worse (sinful) people. God chose to punish His people by using wicked Chaldeans! To Habakkuk’s ears, this would be like us hearing God say He was going to punish the immorality in the church today by using ISIS. Shock. Of. Shocks.
The point? All sin must be punished, and no sin can go without consequences and destruction. God can choose whatever means He deems necessary to demonstrate His sovereign power and holy hatred for sin. Sin never goes without notice from God, and sin never escapes God’s holy and just obligation to punish with death and destruction.
So how does anyone avoid the just punishment from God? How can anyone escape? God gives an answer to Habakkuk in chapter 2 verse 4: “The righteous one will live by his faith.” The only way to escape is faith. Faith in God’s way. Faith in God’s actions. Faith in what God has chosen to do as a means of pouring out His wrath on sin. As both Paul and the author of Hebrews knew (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38), the only way to escape is to believe that God’s ultimate wrath against sin was poured out on His Son Jesus—the righteous One. He took the punishment we deserved, and we get the righteousness only He could earn.
Sin does not ever—EVER—go unpunished. God’s ways so often seem bizarre and or non-existent. But never forget—His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not like ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). Christmas is a reminder that God acts when He chooses to, and His work is always perfect in timing and complete in love (Galatians 4:4). The punishment every human being deserves was laid on Jesus as the ultimate act and demonstration of divine love from the Creator of the universe. Regardless of what circumstances life finds you in right now and regardless of your level of understanding of what God is or isn’t doing, choose to embrace the God of this Christmas like Habakkuk was led to:
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! Yahweh my Lord is my strength…” –Habakkuk 3:17-19