The Confusing Ways of God

Watch Sermon


Habakkuk: Faith When Life Doesn’t Make Sense


Habakkuk 1:1-2:1

Cody John Simpson

As our series title makes abundantly clear – we all at some point struggle in our faith when our lives don’t make sense. Who has ever reached a point in life and felt that this doesn’t make sense? 

        • Its usually when our circumstances go south: A crisis in a relationship, or of health, or finances.
        • If we’re followers of Jesus, we begin to question our understanding of God, and our belief that God loves us and is good to us. You see deep down we have a childish notion that if God loves us then ultimately He’ll make life comfortable and easy for us. Yet that’s just how life works. Often a series of challenges with brief reprieves in the middle. 
        • What I love about Habakkuk is that he had a profoundly deep struggle when his life stopped making sense. As we’ll see, his story is perhaps the most underrated story of faith in the Bible. 
      • Hab 1:1-4 
      • We immediately jump into the midst of Habakkuk’s struggle as we begin: In verses 2-4 the prophet is complaining and bemoaning the injustice and violence he has had to witness in his society. 
        • Habakkuk is writing in the last days of the Kingdom of Judah & Jerusalem before they are conquered by the Babylonians. It’s likely that Habakkuk himself was a resident of Jerusalem. This is a time of deep injustice, violence and idolatry among God’s people: Selling people into slavery, stealing property, child sacrifice, etc.
      • What really should grab our attention here is Habakkuk’s opening line: “How long, Lord?”
        • This isn’t his first prayer. He has had to view the desecration of God’s justice and His people repeatedly, and so far God has been silent to Him. 
        • Habakkuk is simply at his wits end, because he doesn’t understand how a perfect and righteous God could allow these atrocities to go on and on. 
      • Well, as Habakkuk has taken a stand to pray unceasingly to the Lord, the Lord has decided to now give Him an answer: 
      • Hab 1:5-11
      • While Habakkuk has been struggling with silence from God, God has been deliberately at work, as sovereign ruler of world affairs! Now, God says, the time is coming for His response to the evils of Jerusalem. 
        • God has been at work raising up the Chaldeans, aka the Babylonians. They are now the unrivaled superpower of the ANE, and in Habakkuk’s time Judah would have become a vassal state. 
        • What we see in other parts of the Bible is that the Judah’s last kings get caught playing politics and the Babylonians will attack Jerusalem 3 times, culminating in the destruction of the city and deportation of the people to Babylon. 
      • Habakkuk gets this info a couple years in advance and he is bewildered and shocked. 
      • Hab 1:12-17
      • If we could sum up Habakkuk’s response, it would be something like: “God, what are you doing?!” God’s answer to the injustice of Jerusalem makes no sense to Habakkuk. 
        • In verse 12 the prophet grapples with what he knows about God, His perfection, eternality, and holiness, AND His sovereign control over the world, in this case ordaining the Bablyonians to chastise His people. BUT how can a good and holy God tolerate such injustice??
        • Habakkuk had prayed that God would end the violence and injustice of Judah, but God’s answer will be to make it worse. No matter how bad the evil of Judah’s rulers are, the Babylonians are even worse! Now the suffering of God’s people will increase. How does this make sense??
      • Habakkuk has made his complaint, brought forth his questions and limited understanding. Now what? He waits.