In the third chapter of Habakkuk, I think it is wise to remember the structure of what we have already been through. In the first chapter, we have Habakkuk questioning the judgment of God and wondering why He is allowing all of these things to happen. In chapter 2, God tells Habakkuk about the ultimate justice that is going to be coming to the Babylonians. Now, in chapter 3, Habakkuk is praising God again.
Hab 3:18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Hab 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
I point this out because I think this is an attitude that needs to be in all of us. It is okay to have questions. We can be like Habakkuk and ask God why certain things happen. I don’t think that anyone can make the case that we need to have every answer. We are finite people, so why would we have every possible answer in the universe? It doesn’t seem to follow.
However, as Christians who are committed to following God, our default response should be to praise God in whatever we do with the understanding that God is good.
Deu 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Now, some people might argue that I am jumping the gun on this one. I am assuming that God is true and therefore assuming there are answers. Actually, I find that the evidence pointing towards the existence of God is strong. Therefore, if God is indeed a real being, then I am certainly justified in my understanding that God is good. That is part of the reality of who the Christian God is defined as.
In that case, if God is real and if God is good even when we don’t understand everything, why would praise not be our default response? I can’t think of anything worth praising more than the only one who is perfect.
Here we are in Micah 7, and the people are in tough shape. It is not a time where you would necessarily believe in the innate goodness of humanity.
Mic 7:2 The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
Mic 7:3 That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up.
Mic 7:4 The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.
Mic 7:5 Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.
Mic 7:6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.
Mic 7:7 Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
I was listening to a debate the other day, and there was a Christian and atheist guest. The host asked the atheist guest if he had any beliefs, and he said that one of his baseline beliefs was in the goodness of humanity.
I find that hard to process. I find that hard to process because of things like this from Micah. I think about the Holocaust. I think about Apartheid. I think about things that are clearly orchestrated by humans, and I think about how it makes a lot more sense to believe that humans are actually fallen creatures who can be redeemed through Jesus Christ.
I know the argument can be made that many Nazis for example were simply brainwashed. That might be true. However, there was someone doing the brainwashing. There was someone who devised a plan to bring all of those atrocities to the earth. Perhaps he was deceived himself, but you cannot have an infinite regression. The evil began with someone.
The problem of evil is as much of a problem for the atheist who believes in the goodness of humanity and the Christian who believes in sin nature. I know that we’ve talked about it from a Christian perspective, but I think the question I would ask this particular atheist is how he can defend the assertion that there is an innate goodness in Adolf Hitler. I think that it is just as great of a challenge as what Christians are normally handed about how God can allow evil.
We made it to the halfway point of Job, and in chapter 21, Job makes an important point that his friends have been overlooking.
Job 21:7 Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
He points out that even though all of his friends are continually saying how bad he must’ve been to bring down this kind of punishment on himself, there are many wicked people who are still doing well in the world. They have positions of power, and their children are fine. Their houses did not get demolished, and they still have their income.
If punishment came because of wickedness, then why were they still doing well?
He keeps going with this idea.
Job 21:14 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
Job 21:15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?
You can see this a lot today. People don’t think that they need God because they are pretty happy with what is going on down here on earth. They have money and a rather comfortable life. It seems that everything is going well, and in their opinions, God will not make anything better. They do not believe that there is any profit there, and as we have talked about before, Christianity does take some sacrifices.
At this point in the chapter, you have to hope that Job will find some kind of resolution. The questions that he is asking are still being asked around the world every day.
This is basically what it comes down to for him. This is his resolution.
Job 21:22 Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.
We might not understand why God operates in a certain way. Job did not understand what was going on throughout this entire book. However, he had a baseline truth that he knew and drew his conclusions from that.
He knew that God was omniscient, and he knew that God was above all of the earth. Even if you don’t understand the circumstances, from those two truths, it is certainly reasonable to conclude that God does have a plan, and He does know what He is doing. If you add the additional truth that God is the actual definition of good (Psalms 100:5), then you know that the plans must be good on some level even though it might not appear that way from Earth.
Job did not deny God through all of this. He used what he did understand to inform what he did not understand and make a little bit of sense of what was going on.