Habakkuk 1:5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.
7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
9 They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.
10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.
11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
In our text today, God gave answer to Habakkuk regarding the sin of Judah. Habakkuk had assumed that God was not hearing him. He had assumed that justice was not taking place.
God showed him that justice was indeed going to take place. It would not be justice as Habakkuk assumed it should be. As we have noted, God knows how to look after things. The fact that the Chaldeans, who were the Babylonians, would be called upon by God to punish Judah, would be quite alarming to the Hebrews. This would be of far greater consequence for them than if some Hebrews were called upon to judge their fellow Jews.
You notice in verse 6 that He would raise up the Chaldeans. God knew what kind of a people the Babylonians were. They were a bitter and hasty nation. They were not a God-fearing nation. They would not credit God with giving them the victory over Judah. They would claim the glory for their false gods.
The Chaldeans would come and march through the land of Judah. They would claim it for themselves. The Hebrews would be left defenceless. They would lay claim to houses and to property that was not theirs. What a shock this would be to the Jews. They had already witnessed their northern brethren captured by the Assyrians. Now they would see their own land plundered by these ungodly people.
In verse 7 God further described the nature of the Babylonians. They were not a respectable people. They did not care about human life. They did not respect special places of value such as the Temple. They would come in and plunder the land and take what they saw of value back with them. They had no concern for the thoughts or feelings of the Hebrews. This would be quite a shock. We know that they killed many Jews and they took others captive. Daniel and his three friends were among those taken captive by the Babylonians.
In verse 8 we read further of the abilities of the Chaldeans. Their horses were well trained for battle. They were well looked after. These horses were not afraid to enter into a battle zone. They were swift and fearless. They were more fierce than the evening wolves. The wolves would attack when they were hungry. They did not care who or what they attacked. Anything and everything was fare game for them. The Chaldean’s horses were fierce as well.
The horsemen that rode on them were of a similar nature. They would come and spread across the land and take what they wanted. They would not come in slowly. They would swoop in like the eagle and take the prey. The Jews would be left defenceless. The little resistance they would mount would not hinder the Chaldeans.
In verse 9 we read that this invasive army would come for violence. They were prepared to conquer. They would not show any mercy. They would take those captive that they thought would be useful in their country. God would direct them to spare some, as Daniel and his three friends. However, they were not likely put into a nice carriage for a comfortable ride to Babylon. They were likely tethered and marched into their new land.
The east wind is generally a hot, dry wind. It causes the plants to dry out. The Chaldeans would not be deterred by anything. They would be like the east wind. They would plunder the land and destroy much of it. Nehemiah would later report on the destruction he saw when he went back to survey Jerusalem. They would not show respect to what was in Judah. They would take captives like the sand. A conquering nation could always use more slaves. It was the captives that they would use to do the hard work. Life would not be easy for them. Babylon was a prosperous city and nation. It had some magnificent structures. They would use slaves to do the heavy work on these ventures.
The Chaldeans would not show respect to the king nor to the princes of Judah. It did not matter if they had royal robes. They might even treat them more harshly than others just to teach them a lesson. The walls would be knocked down. The Temple would be plundered. The king’s palace would be destroyed. Destruction would be the end result.
Due to the resistance mounted by the Jews, Nebuchadnezzar would change his plan from just conquering the land, to destroying the land. Judah had been protected by God in the past. They assumed that He would continue to protect them. They failed to understand that His long-suffering did not make Him a pushover. Nebuchadnezzar did not know the true God. He did not care about the true God. He worshipped his false gods and he grew weary of the constant rebellion of the Jews against his rule after his successful invasion. He needed to come back several times to deal with their rebellion. He was fed up with their insubordination and he changed his plans toward that land. He became more fierce toward the resistance. He would credit his gods with the ability to take this once well protected stronghold. Finally he conquered the land and in his mind, it was that his gods were able to defeat the God of Judah. He did not understand that God had led him into Judah and that God was not done with him yet.
However, for now, he was being used to spank Judah. Habakkuk would have some things to say about this as well. He did not understand God’s ways. He would have used a different approach and his approach would have failed. God’s people will not always understand His ways. God’s people need to understand that God knows what He is doing and He is always right.
It is amazing to witness how many people have been willing to bow to the wicked demands of our governments over the past three years and yet many of those same people refuse to bow before the true God. Our governments have proven that they do not have the best interests of the people in mind.
My forefathers fled the corruption and violence of Russia along with many others. They came to this land seeking to live peaceful lives. They had a form of godliness but they were not willing to submit to God. God granted them some breathing room in this new land. They were hard workers and were able to establish themselves in this land. However, they were very careless in their spiritual lives. They put peace at all costs ahead of peace according to God’s will. The result is that any spiritual life that once existed has been lost. They are as secular as any other group. They think all is still well because they can make money and travel. They do not realize the danger they are in.
When my grandfather came to Canada and he saw the opportunities here, he wrote to his father in Russia and encouraged him to come over as well. His father cautioned him and warned him of the danger of worldliness. My grandfather was somewhat conservative in his thinking. His children were less so and their children even less. The problem is that the pursuit of Godliness was not foremost in their minds or hearts.
God gave us the book of Habakkuk for us to learn from. We are not Jews. However, the sins of Judah are common among people. Carelessness is quite common. As long as we can have houses and cars and things, we think all is good. There might be some things that people see that they do not like, but they are willing to overlook that.
Judgment came suddenly for the Jews in Habakkuk’s day. Judgment will come suddenly for us as well. Death is still a reality for all. Without the Lord, death is not a good thing. It opens the way to torment for those who are lost. It is important to know the true God today and to walk humbly with Him. Material things will all stay behind at death. Inflation is hurting us all. The wealthy sit back and count their increases, but it is still hurting us all. The Bible warns us that trouble is coming.
Just as in Habakkuk’s day, the hope of man is to know the true God. Those who refuse to know Him will be shocked at what awaits them. Don’t be deceived. Turn to God and know His peace today.