Look at the nations and observe— be utterly astounded! For I am doing something in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it. Look! I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter, impetuous nation that marches across the earth’s open spaces to seize territories not its own.
They are fierce and terrifying; their views of justice and sovereignty stem from themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards and more fierce than wolves of the night. Their horsemen charge ahead; their horsemen come from distant lands. They fly like eagles, swooping to devour. All of them come to do violence; their faces are set in determination.
They gather prisoners like sand. They mock kings, and rulers are a joke to them. They laugh at every fortress and build siege ramps to capture it. Then they sweep by like the wind and pass through. They are guilty; their strength is their god.
When Hard Times Come
Have you ever been discouraged, frustrated, and maybe even a little confused at what God is allowing in your life? If you’re reading this, there is no doubt the answer is a resounding yes. Maybe your health or finances (or both) have taken another hit. Maybe you’ve experienced the sudden loss of a job, a heartbreaking move, or a rift in a friendship that has left you discombobulated, disoriented, and distracted. Whatever the case, we all have found ourselves in situations so far beyond our control that we become paralyzed and focus more on what we can’t do and less on what God can do. And when God does what seems unbelievable to us, we need ruthless trust.
Rebellion Against God
For completely different reasons, Habakkuk found himself in a relatable situation. The first four verses of chapter one record his desperate plea to God for Judah’s wickedness to end by way of God’s intervention. As a prophet, he knew their rebellious hearts and vile actions were abhorrent to God and the law He had given them. What Habakkuk wasn’t expecting was God’s solution for their actions and and hardened hearts.
God’s Shocking Solution
Verse five begins with what sounds like a promising solution to Judah’s wickedness— perhaps a new approach? It was certainly different, but God’s response seems to make a bad situation only worse! His shocking solution was to send the dreaded Chaldeans to conquer Judah.
Solving a lawless and violent nation’s rebellion with an even more lawless and violent nation overtaking it seem counter productive, and yet— God’s plan is perfect. While God’s proclamation came as a shock to Habakkuk, a ruthless trust that God would use this wicked nation for His divine purposes was necessary for Habakkuk to find rest despite the tumult in Judah.
Sitting in the Difficulty
Our passage today doesn’t yet reveal Habakkuk’s response, instead allowing us to sit on the difficult words God has bestowed on him regarding Judah. At times, we may find ourselves in this same awkward silence with the Lord. He may allow yet another blow to come our way, and we waver between “my will” and “Thy will.” Sometimes our cries are answered by our God who does the unbelievable in response. To ruthlessly trust God is to ruthlessly deny ourselves a false sense of security within ourselves, but this doesn’t come easily. It necessitates a daily death to ourselves in order that we may truly live for Him and rest in Him.
When life happens, what is your immediate response? Is it peace or panic; trust or tumult? Consider why you respond the way you do to plans gone awry (for better or for worse), and write out your reasonings. Are they based in faith or in your own efforts? Ask why you think that is, and continue to ask the Lord to humble you to avoid any further sense of self-centeredness.