“How long, O Lord must I call for help? But you do not listen! ‘Violence,’ I cry but you do not come to serve. Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has been paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery.” – Habakkuk 1:2-4.
Habakkuk was complaining to God about the wicked prospering in Israel. Habakkuk knew there was great sin in the nation and God knew every intimate detail of it. Yet, from Habakkuk’s perspective, God was doing nothing. I often feel the same way about the United States; a nation where honesty and integrity is scorned, but wickedness and vile behavior is embraced. Not just in the big cities anymore, but in small cities, towns, rural area. Outside the church, inside the church and sometimes in the pulpit, wickedness abounds.
Habbakkuk continued in verse 5-7, ”The Lord replied, “Look at the nations and be amazed! Watch and be astounded of what I will do! For I am doing something in your own day, something that you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it. I am raising up the Babylonians to be a new power on the world scene. They are a cruel and violent nation who will march across the world and conquer it. They are notorious for their cruelty. They do as they like, and no one can stop them.”
Habakkuk would have been shocked. Yes, Judah was a wicked country, but God was using an even more wicked country to judge his country. In addition to that, in Habakkuk’s day Babylon was a weak minor, insignificant nation. The thought of Babylon conquering Judah was like Suriname destroying New York and Los Angeles and bringing the United States to its knees. God is capable of doing unbelievable things. Even things that “we would not believe even if we had been told”.
God had told Habakkuk to “look at the nations and be amazed, watch and be astounded”. Not only can you look at the “nations”, but you can look at your own church, your own life, and a number of things and be amazed at what God is going to do. Surely, Dwight Moody would have been astounded if someone had told the shoe salesman that he would become one of the greatest evangelists of the nineteenth century with a seminary named after him and a radio network that exists in the 21st Century. Billy Graham would not have believed he would preach to more people than anyone ever has if he had been told when he was a boy in North Carolina. Would the young boy David have believed he would go on the slay Goliath, become King of Israel? Would Paul have believed he would been converted from a persecutor of Christians to be a major force in its First Century expansion?
So, it is with you and me. I never would have believed I would be where I am today. I always envisioned having the all-American family of one boy and one girl. I have seven children, all mine and my wife’s. I would have never believed I would face foreclosure, bankruptcy, be on unemployment and getting food stamps, but I am here. But, I remain confident that God has been preparing me for something astounding, amazing and unbelievable in my life. What is it? I don’t know. But, I have faith that as He was able to work in David’s life, and Paul’s, Dwight Moody, and millions of others, he will do it in mine and yours too.