Habakkuk 1:5 (ESV) … “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.”
God answered His servant and assured him that He was at work among the nations even though Habakkuk couldn’t see it. God gave Habakkuk a revelation, not an explanation, for what we always need in times of doubt is a new view of God. The Lord doesn’t owe us any explanations, but He does graciously reveal Himself and His work to those who seek Him.2
What God was doing was so amazing, incredible, and unheard of, that even His prophet would be shocked: God was planning to punish the Jews by using the godless Babylonians! They were a “ruthless and impetuous people” (v. 6, niv), “a feared and dreaded people” who were a law unto themselves and afraid of nobody (v. 7, niv). Their only purpose was to promote themselves and conquer and enslave other peoples.
The Lord then used a number of pictures from nature to describe the Babylonians and how they treated people. Their horses had the speed of leopards and the ferocity of wolves, and their troops swooped down on their prey like vultures. Their army swept across the desert like the wind and gathered and deported prisoners the way a man digs sand and ships it to a foreign land.
Could anything stop them? Certainly God could stop them, but He was the one who was enlisting their aid! Nothing human could hinder their progress. The Babylonians had no respect for authority, whether kings or generals. (One of their practices was to put captured kings in cages and exhibit them, like animals.) They laughed at gates and walls as they built their siege ramps and captured fortified cities. They worshiped the god of power and depended wholly on their own strength.
Habakkuk learned that God was not indifferent to the sins of the people of Judah. The Lord was planning to chasten Judah by allowing the Babylonians to invade the land and take them into exile. This wasn’t the answer Habakkuk was expecting. He was hoping God would send a revival to His people (see 3:2), judge the evil leaders, and establish righteousness in the land. Then the nation would escape punishment and the people and cities would be spared.
However, God had warned His people time and time again, but they wouldn’t listen. Prophet after prophet had declared the Word (2 Chron. 36:14–21), only to be rejected, and He had sent natural calamities like droughts and plagues, and various military defeats, but the people wouldn’t listen. Instead of repenting, the people hardened their hearts even more and turned for help to the gods of the nations around them. They had tried God’s long-suffering long enough and it was time for God to act.
In this day of Corvid-19 we need to look towards heaven and ask what is God’s message to us today? What is God tell us as a people and what is His desire for us? Repentance perhaps? Renewed dependence upon God as our Almighty Sovereign King? Let us humble ourselves and seek the Lord’s face and heart. Let’s use this time to pray and dig deep into His holy Word and find answers for these moments of uncertainty