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Habakkuk  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Reconciling God's goodness against wicked success

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“I AM”?

12  Are you not wfrom everlasting,

O LORD my God, my Holy One?

xWe shall not die.

O LORD, yyou have ordained them as a judgment,

and you, O zRock, have established them for reproof.

This greeting is possibly the tone setting for the questions that are to follow. Some have said this portion of scripture like the beginning of Habakkuk is accusatory in nature. However, I do not hold this position. While his questions are sharp and pointed, I find verses like these additionally show the convictions of the prophet in regards to the object of his speech.
Everlasting
YAWEH “I AM” - deliverer of Israel from Egypt
MY God, not just God
MY Holy One, not just Holy One.
We shall not die.
Confidence not in human perseverance but recalling to his own mind the promises of this Everlasting, Holy, GOD.
The New American Commentary: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (1) A Description of the Lord (1:12–13)

God will remain faithful to His promise to the patriarchs (Gen 17:2–8; 26:3–5; 28:13–15), to Israel (Exod 3:3–15; 14:1–6; Deut 7:6; 14:1–2; 26:16–18), and to the house of David (2 Sam 7:12–29).”

YAWEH “I AM” - deliverer of Israel from Egypt
Ordainer of Judgment
ROCK - permanent, stable, steadfast in love, covenant faithfulness
Establisher of Reproof
The New American Commentary: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (1) A Description of the Lord (1:12–13)

Isaiah and Habakkuk knew that God is deity and not flesh and that he is perfect moral purity.117 Such holiness is unchanging, separating all humans and all creatures and thus all sin from God. Nothing evil can stand before his holy purity. As Rudolph notes, he cannot distance himself even for the blink of an eye from his holiness.118 If this is the case, the true description of God, how can he stand silent and inactive before the horribly evil and violent Babylonians?

“Habakkuk knew that God is deity and not flesh and that he is perfect moral purity. Such holiness is unchanging, separating all humans and all creatures and thus all sin from God. Nothing evil can stand before his holy purity. As Rudolph notes, he cannot distance himself even for the blink of an eye from his holiness. If this is the case, the true description of God, how can he stand silent and inactive before the horribly evil and violent Babylonians?”

13  You who are aof purer eyes than to see evil

and cannot look at wrong,

bwhy do you idly look at traitors

and cremain silent when the wicked swallows up

the man more righteous than he?

Now the crux of his concern.
God you are Holy, everlasting, savior.
Notice the irony!
In Verse 3 Habakkuk accuses his own people

3  dWhy do you make me see iniquity,

and why do you idly look at wrong?

Destruction cand violence are before me;

strife and contention arise.

Asks why God looks idly on Judah’s sin?
NOW
In verse 13 God looks idly on Babylon’s wickedness?
THEN HABAKKUK says
Judah is more righteous that Babylon.
In verse 2-4 Judah is a wicked nation and God must intervene.
But NOW they are described as righteous by some subjective measure?!?!?
To say Habakkuk is confused is clearly evident.
Commentator:
“Habakkuk knew that God is deity and not flesh and that he is perfect moral purity. Such holiness is unchanging, separating all humans and all creatures and thus all sin from God. Nothing evil can stand before his holy purity. As Rudolph notes, he cannot distance himself even for the blink of an eye from his holiness. If this is the case, the true description of God, how can he stand silent and inactive before the horribly evil and violent Babylonians?”
His conclusion and final question follow in verse 14-17

14  You make mankind like the fish of the sea,

like crawling things that have no ruler.

15  dHe1 brings all of them up ewith a hook;

he drags them out with his net;

he gathers them in his dragnet;

so he rejoices and is glad.

16  fTherefore he sacrifices to his net

and makes offerings to his dragnet;

for by them he lives in luxury,2

and his food is rich.

17  Is he then to keep on emptying his net

gand mercilessly killing nations forever?

Verse 14 he rights observes that it is indeed God who has ordained these events.
God rose up the Babylonians
God allowed them to grow in power as a world empire.
God allowed the Babylonians to subject the world to such oppression that people were reduced to animal like status: FISH and CRAWLING THINGS
God allowed them to rejoice in their success
God allowed them to worship their might and power

Therefore he sacrifices to his net

and makes offerings to his dragnet;

for by them he lives in luxury,2

and his food is rich.

17  Is he then to keep on emptying his net

gand mercilessly killing nations forever?

Is the everlasting Holy God going to tolerate evil forever?
THE PROBLEM OF EVIL AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
The New American Commentary: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (2) A Description of How the Babylonians Treat Other Nations (1:14–17)

As will be evident, his views of God were right (cf. Ps 82; Isa 57:15), but his perspective was too limited. He had looked for the punishment of the wicked so that the prosperity of his people could be assured, but God, who knew the end from the beginning, looked for the punishment of Habakkuk’s people so that they could be restored to fellowship.

Many places in scripture show that God is completely sovereign in the midst of all things.

1 In the abeginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was bwithout form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, c“Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for ham I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but iGod meant it for good, to bring it about that many people2 should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; jI will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

8 And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you nconsidered my oservant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, pa blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” 9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put qa hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have rblessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But sstretch out your hand and ttouch all that he has, and he will ucurse you vto your face.” 12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Because of these evil things in life and because the Bible attributes rightly that God is completely sovereign, human beings for all time have made several conclusions on their own.
There is no God
God is not sovereign
God is not good
We are not called to conform the world to believe in the God of the Bible.
We are not to fight the world and force into submission.
We are not to abandon the people of this world who say there is no God, God is a “cosmic bully”, or God is not in control but merely spun the world into existence and set back.
The New American Commentary: Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah (2) A Description of How the Babylonians Treat Other Nations (1:14–17)

Habakkuk has two alternatives now. “He can allow his doubts to be either destructive or creative. He can use his doubts, struggles, and agonizing questions to turn from God and to renounce his faith. Or he can keep his hold on God, trusting him for an answer

“People see that the Bible teaches man’s responsibility for his actions; they do not see (man, indeed, cannot see) how this is consistent with the sovereign lordship of God over those actions. They are not content to let the two truths live side by side, as they do in the Scriptures, but jump to the conclusion that, in order to uphold the biblical truth of human responsibility, they are bound to reject the equally biblical and equally true doctrine of divine sovereignty, and to explain away the great number of texts that teach it.”
J. I. Packer. “Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/evangelism-the-sovereignty-of-god/id809124802?mt=11

I will htake my stand at my watchpost

and station myself on the tower,

and ilook out to see jwhat he will say to me,

and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

GOOD Theology is essential to the Christian
But Good Theology without faith is just information.
Habakkuk knew good theology.
God is everlasting
God is Holy
God is pure
God is sovereign
But as he set out to apply those truths to life, a problem arose. The theological framework was not lining up with his ideas of how it all fit together.
Since God is all these things how can he tolerate and use those who are the exact opposite???
While we wont get to God’s response today, this passage gives us a framework of how to wisely pursue our faith.
How do we know anything at all about our God?
He reveals himself. He has too!
Can we say because he uses human terminology that all human conclusions about life also apply to him?
Remember who is God.
God is a living God, is it just like us?
God is a loving God, does he love like us?
Accept God’s Word entirely.
God’s hand is strong, which hand?
Seek Answers from God alone
Remember who is God

12  Are you not wfrom everlasting,

O LORD my God, my Holy One?

xWe shall not die.

O LORD, yyou have ordained them as a judgment,

and you, O zRock, have established them for reproof.

13  You who are aof purer eyes than to see evil

and cannot look at wrong,

Requires all of Scripture
Requires the Holy Spirit to open our eyes
Requires acceptance of Jesus Christ

6 Jesus said to him, “I am lthe way, and mthe truth, and nthe life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 oIf you had known me, you would have pknown my Father also.4 From now on you do know him and qhave seen him.”

8 rPhilip said to him, “Lord, sshow us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? tWhoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that uI am in the Father and the Father is in me?

6 Jesus said to him, “I am lthe way, and mthe truth, and nthe life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 oIf you had known me, you would have pknown my Father also.4 From now on you do know him and qhave seen him.”

8 rPhilip said to him, “Lord, sshow us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? tWhoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that uI am in the Father and the Father is in me?

6 Jesus said to him, “I am lthe way, and mthe truth, and nthe life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 oIf you had known me, you would have pknown my Father also.4 From now on you do know him and qhave seen him.”

8 rPhilip said to him, “Lord, sshow us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? tWhoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that uI am in the Father and the Father is in me?

How else can we know who God is unless He reveals himself?
Accept God’s Word entirely

O LORD, yyou have ordained them as a judgment,

and you, O zRock, have established them for reproof.

13  You who are aof purer eyes than to see evil

and cannot look at wrong,

bwhy do you idly look at traitors

and cremain silent when the wicked swallows up

the man more righteous than he?

14  You make mankind like the fish of the sea,

like crawling things that have no ruler.

READ ALL OF The longest book in the bible 176 Verse!
Every verse speaks to some aspect of the divine revelation of God through His WORD
Seek Answers from God alone

17  Is he then to keep on emptying his net

gand mercilessly killing nations forever?

2 I will htake my stand at my watchpost

and station myself on the tower,

and ilook out to see jwhat he will say to me,

and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;

fools despise wisdom and instruction.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

and do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge him,

and he will make straight your paths.

7 Be not wise in your own eyes;

fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

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