I can’t sleep. I was asleep but then I woke up and seem to be wide awake after only an hour of sleep. I wonder if the prophets of old ever had that problem. I wonder if God came to them in the nighttime and told them something that He wanted them to know. So I begin to search the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament and found an interesting story about the prophet Habakkuk.
How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. Habakkuk 1:2-4, (New International Version or NIV).
I think Habakkuk might have been having trouble sleeping, don’t you? He certainly had something on his mind that was troublesome. I sure can identify with his question put forward asking God for some answers. I often wonder why God allows people to get away with sinning. They are blatantly not living their lives the way they should and if I were God I would bring calamity down on them until they repented. I often have wondered why God seems to let my prayers for them go unanswered. I often feel the burden of their sins pressing into my joy. I have wondered on more than a few occasions why justice doesn’t prevail and why the righteous bear the brunt from evil doers. I think we should see what God said to the prophet.
“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwellings not their own. They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor. Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at dusk. Their cavalry gallops headlong; their horsemen come from afar. They fly like an eagle swooping to devour; they all come intent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand. They mock kings and scoff at rulers. They laugh at all fortified cities; by building earthen ramps they capture them. Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—guilty people, whose own strength is their god.” Habakkuk 1:5-11, (NIV).
Just sit back Habakkuk and watch the show for God will show you how He works things out through the nations. Boy oh boy did God ever work on the wicked Israel nation who had turned away from the one true God who had brought them out of Egypt and given them a productive land to grow and prosper in. God sent a mighty nation to conquer them and to capture them and take them into exile. Never think that God doesn’t know what is going on in our world today. God is behind the rise and fall of nations. He will bring justice to the wicked and lift up the righteous nations. He is powerful and will bring justice to the world leaders. The problem for us is that we are not able to see the whole picture because we are finite thinkers and bound by the years of life on this planet. God, however, has all the time in the world to bring about justice. Even in my own lifetime I have seen wicked leaders brought down and taken out of this world and I am sure it was God who delivered justice to them. The description God gives in this passage really is telling. We have some warriors today that mock governments and are not afraid of them. These terrorists go from country to country, city to city and wreak havoc on all of us. These words could have been written to describe our own time, don’t you think? Habakkuk still needs more clarification, take a look.
Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy? Habakkuk 1:12-17, (NIV).
Habakkuk is not unlike you and me today. He saw that Satan was behind the wicked driving them on to take the good things of material value away from the righteous people and growing rich in the process. He saw the swindles and the robbery being done to the righteous persons by the wicked that had all the power this world can give. He wondered why God didn’t step in and zap the wicked, haven’t you ever wondered that too? I know I have. Habakkuk knew that God has more power than Satan and could stop the evil in this world. Oh I think that Habakkuk was having a sleepless night just like me. I love what he says next.
I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint. Habakkuk 2:1, (NIV).
Habakkuk says that he will sit back and watch the show God is going to put on through the nations of the world. He can pop some popcorn and sit in his comfy recliner chair be patient and watch what God will do next. We can do the same. We can see the hand of God in our world if we are looking for Him. We can see the cruel leaders being brought down and we can pray that a righteous leader take their place. It really depends upon the nation’s people as to whether they are a righteous people who love and honor God or whether they are a nation of people who are rebelling against God. We can pray for revival among the nations too. But remember that while there are many people in this world just as there are many fish in the sea, few people will desire to follow God. If a nation doesn’t know about Jesus they are doomed for eternity. So we can also pray for the missionaries in those doomed countries who are trying to bring the light of Jesus into the various dark places. We can support them financially and with the tools to help them spread the Gospel to the nations. We can learn from this passage just as Habakkuk did. I think that God must have wanted me to see that He is in control of everything in my world today just as He was in control during the time of Habakkuk. I like that; it makes me feel safe and secure. I hope it helps you to feel that way too.