Habakkuk - God's Sovereignty

Background

Habakkuk is a unique book and it contains an extended dialogue between Habakkuk and God. The book is a display of an authentic relationship between the prophet and God whereby he held nothing back and poured out his complains to God. Like many of us today, the prophet was unhappy about the fact that God was not doing anything despite the unfairness of the situation. At the end of the conversation, Habakkuk learned that God was sovereign and He does things in accordance with His perfect plan and timing.


Key Verse

Hab 3:17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.


God works according to His timing

Hab 1:2 How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
God does not always answer our prayers in accordance with our preferred timing. He answered the prayers of Abraham, David and Joseph only after many years.

God’s inaction does not mean that He will not act. It may not be His time to act yet. We need to continue to trust God that He will act if He has said so and surrender to His timing.


God will use whatever means He pleases

Hab 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth  to seize dwellings not their own.

When God finally answered Habakkuk he was shocked. He did not expect that God would use a nation more cruel than Israel to judge Israel.

Hab 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
God may not act in accordance with what we have in mind.

Isa 59:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways   and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Therefore, we not only trust God to act according to His timing, we need to trust God to act in accordance with His ways, not ours.


Praise a God who knows what He is doing

In the final chapter, Habakkuk starts to praise God. Even though God had not yet judged Judah or Babylon. He had learnt to praise God for what He is going to do. When God said that He would act, that was good enough for him.
Sometimes after God promises us a good thing, things take a turn for the worse. After God told David that he would be king, he became a fugitive. After God told Joseph he would rise to a place of honor, Joseph became a slave. We need to trust that God knows what He is doing and in His own time and method He will deliver His promises.
Things surely got worse for Habakkuk. He came to the point of desperation, when nothing seems to work. But he had learnt to praise God no matter what.

Hab 3:17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. 19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.