In today’s section of Habakkuk Hanavi (Habakkuk the prophet) we find him overwhelmed by the tyranny and growing evil in Israel. He complains of the rise of violence, iniquity, wickedness, destruction and strife, to the point that law and justice are perverted. And so, the prophet wrestles with the seeming silence and indifference of God.
And it is here where God answers the prophet, and His reply to both him and to us is awesome in how it assumes such omnipotence, causing a response of humility from us. Are you ready for the answer?
The beginning of God’s response is found in vs.5
“Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days, you would not believe if you were told.” Surely, Habakkuk did not expect such an answer, but as his own question was timeless in nature so was God’s answer given him. These first words must have surprised the prophet: Look among the nations. Why the nations?
How does a local problem in Israel become an international issue? Habakkuk was a Jewish prophet in the Land, raising a Jewish issue. Why then would the Lord involve the nations of the world?
Judging from what the prophets of the same era experienced, men like Jeremiah, Ezekiel and continuing onto Malachi, their main complaint was the corruption of the priesthood, those religious leaders who were called to uphold the law and teach the Word of God. These were the first to be held liable. The same problem flowed down through to the first century when the priesthood refused to recognize Yeshua as the Messiah.
But here, in Habakkuk we go beyond the priesthood, and we are made to see this biblical and historical principle; that Israel and the nations are very connected to each other. After all, God called this tiny country of Israel the center of the world. Is this not the place where Yeshua was born, where all wars will end at Armageddon and where all will start again when God will make Jerusalem His dwelling place?
Look among the nations, the Lord asks Habakkuk, not only because the evil is a worldwide problem, but because the solution for the problem begins right there in Israel. From the era of Habakkuk, a new chain of events was to start which would bring about the final answer to evil, that is the Messiah Himself. This is how the book of Habakkuk ends; with a description of the Second Coming of Yeshua.
The answer to Habakkuk’s question begins here in verse 5 and continues to the end of the book; it has many powerful facets to it.