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Wrestling with God (Part 7)

March 4, 2010

The prophet Habakkuk spent the first four verses complaining to God about the sin and injustice in the land. It appears that he was beginning to think God might not even answer him. But God does answer. In Habakkuk 1:5, God says: “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” I think what God is saying is that you are not going to understand. Not only would Habakkuk not understand it, if it were not coming from God, he would not even believe it. I think this is a good indicator that Habakkuk still had his faith in God. He would believe it because God was telling him. And here is what God told him:

“I am raising up the Babylonians,
a cruel and violent people.
They will march across the world
and conquer other lands.
They are notorious for their cruelty
and do whatever they like.
Their horses are swifter than cheetahs
and fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their charioteers charge from far away.
Like eagles, they swoop down to devour their prey.

“On they come, all bent on violence.
Their hordes advance like a desert wind,
sweeping captives ahead of them like sand.
They scoff at kings and princes
and scorn all their fortresses.
They simply pile ramps of earth
against their walls and capture them!
They sweep past like the wind
and are gone.
But they are deeply guilty,
for their own strength is their god.”

(Habakkuk 1:6-11, New Living Translation)

This a description of the Babylonians. They are the most brutal, vicious fighting machine in the world. This is the army that is sweeping across the land, either conquering or killing everything in their path. As evil as Habakkuk thinks his own people are, this will be exponentially worse.

This situation causes some questions regarding morality and injustice. Is a righteous and just God causing the Babylonians to do evil in conquering Judah? Is God condoning the evil of the Babylonians? The obvious answer to both is no, but is it really? Let’s look at a couple of other Scriptures to help us understand what is going on.

And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. (James 1:13-14, New Living Translation)

This should leave it pretty clear that God does not cause nor condone our sin. In fact, God does not even tempt us to sin, much less cause sin. This temptation comes from our own desires. Those desires entice us and drag us away. This is not what God wants for us. He does not cause nor condone the evil things man does. Man is fully responsible for his own sin, his own evil deeds. The evil that the Babylonians would do to Judah was of their own choosing. God did not cause it. God knows all things, even the things we will choose to do before we do them or even choose them, but he does not cause them.

When the ram’s horn blows a warning,
shouldn’t the people be alarmed?
Does disaster come to a city
unless the Lord has planned it?

(Amos 3:6, New Living Translation)

Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it? Of course not. It is all part of God’s plan. But that is a bad or evil thing. Can that be part of God’s plan? Didn’t we just read where God does not cause evil?

The Babylonians were an evil people who did evil things. God did not cause these evil things, but He will use them as part of His greater plan. He is all-knowing and will use the evil as part of His greater plan either in our lives or in the lives of others. God has a plan for each of us. There is a way he wants us to live our lives. Even when we know what that plan is, we often struggle and resist. We rebel from His will at our own peril. The thing about a submission hold is that it hurts. If it was not painful, we likely would not submit. We will ultimately submit to God. We can do it willingly and peacefully or we can rebel and, after much hardship, bear the scars of a painful struggle. God often uses difficult circumstances beyond our control to lead us back into submission to His will.

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