Woe to Wow! 3

Habakkuk had been watching his nation, Judah and saw for himself how corrupt things had gotten. So, like a good prophet, he brings it to God’s attention, as though God was unaware. He essentially asks why and how long God was going to let these kind of things go on. Then in Habakkuk 1:5-11 (ESV) God answers him:

“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own.
They are dreaded and fearsome; their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. . . .
11 Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!”


Obviously, God was (and is) perfectly aware of what is going on with us. He saw (and sees) the corruption of people (and we might add, knows them by name). Then, even when we don’t see, He is at work. In verse five, God says, “For I am doing a work in your days. . . ”


Did you catch it? He says, “I AM DOING.” The work God was doing was in the days of Habakkuk. It wasn’t some far off future event, it was happening in his days. I realize there are some things that God is going to do in the unknown future, but He is also at work in the here and now.


I had a history teacher my freshman year of college at Jacksonville University in Jax, FL who told our class that he was a Deist. I had little understanding of such things then. He explained that he believed that God created the world, wound it up like a clock (or put in a battery for those who are unfamiliar with wind-up clocks) and then went away. When the clock winds down (or the battery is used up), He will come back and do whatever He is going to do. That description is NOT the description of the God of the Bible. He is intimately involved in His creation and with His people. (BTW, Benjamin Franklin is accused of being a Deist but repeatedly called for prayer – would a Deist do such a thing if God is not at work in the world?).


God Himself describes the work that He was doing. He called it, “unbelievable.” In the second half of verse five, He said:

For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.


There are so many things God has done that seem, “Unbelievable.” Creation itself is amazing and beyond our comprehension. The height of God’s unbelievable work is the gospel, contained in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. How, indeed, can God so love the world that He would give His Son for us? Or, how could He so love ME that Jesus would die for ME as Paul writes in Galatians 2:20? It’s unbelievable.


In Habakkuk’s case, God did a deliberate work. The word for “work” pictures a man intentionally working his trade. God’s intentional, deliberate work is working with people. When you look at the life of Jesus you see Him at work with people. He was not interrupted in His daily activities by people, because they were His work, and still are.


God was deliberately raising up the Chaldeans (or Babylonians) for this particular work. Notice Habakkuk 1:6 (ESV):

For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own.


This is a surprise to the prophet. The Chaldeans were worse people than the people of Judah. They were a ruthless, violent, selfish people, and yet they would be used to discipline the chosen people of God. How often God does the unexpected. Even today we can draw closer to Him through current unpleasant events.


God told Habakkuk that this was HIS work. He would do it deliberately. He would do it carefully and yet lovingly. Remember, in Revelation 3:19 (ESV) Jesus told the lukewarm church of Laodicea:

19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.


God is still at work in our chaos. We may not see what He is doing but we can rest assured that He is doing. Likewise, we may not understand what He is doing, but we can rest assured that He is at work for our benefit in the long-run, even when we don’t understand.


In light of the events in the book of Habakkuk, we might agree with C.S. Lewis’ statement:

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”


America certainly needs God, whatever it takes. The cost is high. It is not, “might be high,” it IS high. It costs us everything to have Him. Luke 9:23 (KJV) reads:

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.


In 1786, Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote “Thoughts Upon the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic,” in which he stated:

A Christian cannot fail of being a republican…for every precept of the Gospel inculcates those degrees of humility, self-denial, and brotherly kindness which are directly opposed to the pride of monarchy…. A Christian cannot fail of being useful to the republic, for his religion teaches him that no man “liveth to himself.”


Do you feel Him stripping away our idols? Do you feel Him stripping away our selfishness? We may not like the discomfort but we will like the end result: We can walk closer to God.


Keep The Light of God’s Discipline Burning! It WILL pay off!