Habakkuk 1:12 Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.
13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?
14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
15 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.
16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
17 Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?
Habakkuk once again entered into the conversation. Habakkuk needed to learn some important lessons. He was a prophet chosen by God. Yet he was still a man with spiritual flaws. He addressed God as LORD, but in reality he did not really see God as the self-existent God. He believed he needed to have some input into God’s dealings.
Habakkuk questioned whether God was from everlasting. He admitted that God is his Holy One. Habakkuk had an understanding that those who are saved have eternal life. However, he also knew the nature of the Babylonians. God had already described them in the previous verses. Habakkuk knew that the Babylonians were not concerned about saving Jewish lives.
The Babylonians were sent to judge the Jews. The rebellious Jews were inviting judgment. Those who are supposed to be God’s people can be delusional. They can assume that their defiance of God is not really defiance. They can assume that a compromised life is acceptable to God. God reminds us here that He is the Holy One. God is Holy. He will never condone sin. Israel was chosen by God to be the people of God. The people of God cannot be wicked people. The majority of the nation of Israel was wicked. It was a remnant that was serving the LORD. The priesthood was severely corrupted. The majority of the prophets were wicked. The kings were compromised. Where were the holy people? God was not going to allow the corruption to carry on. Judgment was going to be much more severe now.
In verse 13, Habakkuk reminded God that He was of purer eyes than to look on evil. Habakkuk knew this. He was a true prophet. He wanted God to judge the Jews. He wanted the wickedness to stop. It would not stop then and it will not stop today. It will only stop when Israel repents and acknowledges the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah. The ultimate end of evil will come at the end of the Millennium when the Lord Jesus Christ destroys the devil and the wicked are judged and cast into the lake of fire.
The fact is that the only solution against wickedness is repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. There are too many fraudulent “Christians” out there who make a mockery of God’s holiness. Those who are truly saved need to operate under the love of God. That love cannot accept sin and it must stand against it. God shows us in this book that He hates sin. His children also need to hate sin.
Habakkuk again questioned why God was “overlooking” the wickedness that was so obvious to Habakkuk. God was not overlooking anything. He was bringing the Babylonians in to punish Judah. Babylon was a wicked nation as well and they too would be dealt with by the One Holy God. God was dealing with complete justice and longsuffering. No one was getting away with anything.
Habakkuk assumed that God was being silent when the wicked were devouring the man that was better than they were. Habakkuk needed to understand that sin is sin. The Babylonians were wicked, but so was Judah. The wickedness of Judah was just as bad as the wickedness of Babylon. Habakkuk seemed to think there was a difference, but he did not understand true justice and holiness.
In verse 14 he continued his complaint against God’s way of justice. God was setting up the Jews to be treated like fish in the sea. The fish are at the mercy of fishermen with nets. They cannot escape those nets. The Babylonians were a much fiercer army than that of Judah. Judah did not have a chance. Habakkuk needed to understand that the reason Judah was in such a vulnerable situation was because they had rejected God. Their defence was never supposed to be the size of their army or the weapons they had. Their defence was supposed to be God. God had withdrawn His defence from them. He brought the Chaldeans into Jerusalem.
As we look at Israel today, they pride themselves in the “Iron Dome” and more recently in the development of the “Iron Beam”, a laser technology that will allow them to defend themselves in a better way. However, terrorists are still entering Israel and killing Jews. Israel is retaliating, but they cannot stop the attacks. The problem is that Israel is trusting in their material defences, rather than in God. When they finally trust in God, they will be safe.
Verse 15 continues the same line of thinking as verse 14. In verse 16 we see that Babylon would exalt their net and their drag. They would sacrifice to their pagan gods for the victory. This fact truly bothered Habakkuk. Yet, who was Judah looking to for help. They had bought “safety” from foreign nations in the past. They were dabbling in false gods while they claimed to also serve the true God. They were no better than the Babylonians even though God had given them prophets and priests and godly kings to guide them in the truth. They had rejected all the truth given to them, and had chosen a false religion instead.
It is the same as those today who have had the truth but have chosen to adopt the pagan ways of New Evangelicalism instead. There are Independent Baptist groups who are moving ever so carefully into the emergent camp. They are adopting CCM music and dropping their modesty standards. They are aligning themselves with men like Paul Chappell who is a forerunner on the road to compromise. All the while, they are still claiming to be serving the true God. This will not wash for Gentiles anymore than it will for the Jews.
Those who are saved, must walk as saved people. They must accept God’s Holy Word as THE truth. They must separate from compromised groups. They must take their stand on the side of righteousness. God cannot bless compromise. Man can try to manufacture blessings and claim they are from God. They fail to understand the longsuffering of God and they try to push the boundaries as far as possible. Then when God judges more severely, they cry foul. The wise person listens to God and judges every step he takes in the light of God’s truth.
In verse 17 Habakkuk noted that Babylon had an insatiable appetite for more and more violence. They would not be satisfied with a little victory. They would continue until they had total victory over Judah. That is exactly what they did. Habakkuk understood this. He could not understand how God could allow such a people to punish Judah. Habakkuk needed to back up in his thinking and understand that Judah would never have been in this position if they would have listened to God. Had they been following after the path of king David, they would never have fallen into such a mess. Instead, Judah chose to follow the path of king Solomon, who was given great wisdom by God, but who chose to squander that wisdom and was polluted by his many strange women. One woman would have been enough for him. He chose 1,000 and they turned his heart away from God. The results of that massive failure is what led to where Judah was at the time of Habakkuk. It was not good but God was not to blame. God would hit them quite hard with this foreign invasion. Yet, He would also limit the actions of the invaders. God does not give the wicked a blank check. He gives them some room to manoeuvre but there are limits placed upon them.
Even though Babylon was plundering Judah, God was also working in Nebuchadnezzar’s heart and life. The book of Daniel shows us this. God’s justice is always right. We can trust Him. We have the Scriptures to study. We can see more clearly than Habakkuk did, if we choose to know the true God. We need to submit to His will and not fall into the trap of thinking we know better than He does. He always knows best and He always does what is right.