Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 1:5-11
“Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.” (Habakkuk 1:5,6)
God gave Habakkuk the answer to Habakkuk’s questions and Habakkuk did not like what he heard nor did he understand why God would do such a thing. God was going to judge His rebellious people because God will not ignore wickedness and injustice. He will send judgment upon sinful, rebellious people.
In Habakkuk’s day, God’s agent of justice was the Babylonians. They were a fierce and impetuous people — “They are feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor” (v. 7). They were known for their violence — “They will come bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand” (v. 9).
The reality is that God sometimes chooses to use pagan people to accomplish His purposes. However, God will also bring judgment upon the all who are guilty. God clearly understood that the Babylonians were “guilty men, whose own strength is their god” (v. 11b). God would hold the Babylonians guilty for their sins. They ultimately were defeated by the Persians some years later.
It is comforting to know that wickedness and injustice will not go unpunished. We see the horrible crimes of violence and injustice in our day and yet it seems as if people get away with terrible crimes. But be assured that God will bring judgment upon them. God is just and He will not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:7b).
When we think of God’s judgment upon sin, it is frightening — “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). Yet, God offers grace and mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus bore the punishment of God on behalf of His people — “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'” (Galatians 3:13). God has made a gracious offer to mankind — salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.
Lord God, You are the just and righteous Judge of all mankind. I know that a final day of judgment is coming and that You will deal with sin once and for all. Thank You for the gracious provision of salvation through Your one and only Son, who bore the punishment I rightly deserve. Thank You that I will be able to stand in the judgment forgiven and declared righteous because of Jesus’ work on my behalf.
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