Habakkuk's Second Lament - Part 3
Are you not from everlasting,
O LORD my God, my Holy One?
We shall not die.
O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment,
and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
the man more righteous than he?
I will take my stand at my watchpost
and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
and what I will answer concerning my complaint.
Habakkuk 1:12a (ESV)
In faith, Habakkuk acknowledged
the LORD's purity and His plan; but he was unable to reconcile
the two. How could a holy God, "of purer eyes
than to see evil and cannot look at wrong," use the wicked Chaldeans as His instrument
to discipline His people, who are "more
righteous than" they?
Paraphrasing the words of Habakkuk: O LORD, you have
preserved and prospered the Babylonians for Your purposes. But
how can that be since you are so righteous that you cannot
even look at sin without condemning it? Will you withhold Your
judgment against those who are more evil than the people You
are sending them to punish?
What Habakkuk did not see -- that the LORD does -- is the
beginning and the end. From the beginning the LORD has
ordained the humbling of His errant people by the idolatrous
and incorrigible Chaldeans. And in the end He will judge the
Chaldeans and justify those who belong to Him.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God,
"who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:8
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,
the beginning and the end." Revelation 22:13 (ESV)
The Westminster Confession of Faith
in Modern English
Chapter 5 -- Providence
4. God's providence reveals his almighty power, unknowable
wisdom, and infinite goodness. His
providence extends even to the fall and to all other sins
of angels and men. These sins are
not simply allowed by God, but are bound, ordered, and
governed by him in the fullness of his
wisdom and power so that they fulfill his own holy
purposes. However, the sinfulness still
belongs to the creature and does not proceed from God,
whose holy righteousness does not and
cannot cause or approve sin.
5. In the fullness of his wisdom, righteousness, and grace
God often allows his own children to be
tempted in various ways and for a time to pursue the
corruption of their own hearts. God does
this to chastise them for their previous sins and to
reveal to them the hidden strength of
corruption and deceitfulness in their hearts, so that
they may be humbled. In addition to
various other just and holy results, believers are
thereby raised to a closer and more constant
dependence on God for their support and are also made
more alert in detecting and resisting
opportunities to sin.
6. It is different for the wicked and the ungodly. As
punishment for their previous sins, God, the
righteous judge, spiritually blinds and hardens them in
their own sinfulness. From them God
not only withdraws his grace, by which they might have
been spiritually enlightened, but
sometimes he also withdraws whatever gift of spiritual
understanding they already had and
deliberately exposes them to the opportunities for
sinning which their corrupt nature naturally
seeks. He thereby gives them over to their own desires,
to the temptations of the world, and to
the power of Satan, and so it happens that they harden
themselves even under those
circumstances which God uses to soften others.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.