God’s people are struggling with the prosperity of the wicked. But God calls them to trust Him, and He will resolve the injustices in His own time. As a matter of fact, He will deal with the problem in a way that you might not ever consider. As Assyria was prospering and threatening the peace and stability of God’s people in the Northern Kingdom, Habakkuk explained that there was another kingdom that He was raising up to bring His judgment on Assyria. It will be thorough. Habakkuk uses the rest of Chapter One to describe the army from the south that he is raising up to bring judgment on the Assyrians in the north. He begins his description of them in Verses 6 and 7. He says, “For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. They are dreaded and fearsome; their justice and dignity go forth from themselves.”

 I believe the word “Chaldeans” is another way of referring to the Babylonians. This is the kingdom that will conquer the southern kingdom under King Nebuchadnezzar over a hundred years later. They are vividly described as bitter people. That is, they are fierce and cruel towards those that they conquer. They are hasty. They are impetuous in their decisions and rapid in their movements and don’t take time to consider the concerns of others. They are terrible and dreaded people. The people of the nations are seized with terror and dread whenever the armies of the Chaldeans approach them. They are self-exalting in that they dignify themselves. They are self-willed. They will do whatever they want to do without any moral or ethical restraint. They are strong enough to force their will on anyone and do so with rampant disregard for others.

This may have sounded like good news to the northern kingdom of Israel at the time. I guess we all long for the defeat of our enemies. It might sound good to them under their current circumstances, but in the long run, it was actually bad news. Guzik observes, “We understand the idea of something ‘too good to be true,’ but that isn’t what God is talking about here. This is something ‘too bad to be true,’ a work of judgment so astounding that Habakkuk would have a hard time believing it.”[1] God allows man’s wickedness and violence to reign in the world. He destroyed the world in Noah’s day because of the violence, but now He works specifically with individual nations. No one can answer for God’s ways! I’ve tried to, but never come out with a satisfactory answer. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. What God chooses to do, God chooses to do. Why did he make us with two arms instead of three? I don’t know, but He did. Why does he use wicked nations to accomplish his will? I don’t know, but He did. Barber acknowledges, “What history revealed in the case of the Chaldeans has been practiced numerous times since. All one need to do is reflect upon the activities of Germany at the beginning of World War II or of Russia in more recent years. Poland, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Afghanistan have suffered in much the same way as Judah of old. Although God has seemingly permitted such unbridled aggression to go unpunished, the fact remains that God eventually calls each nation to account for its actions.”[2] This applies to the individual as well. The author of Hebrews reminds us that we will all die. After which will come the judgment.

[1] Guzik, David. 2003. Habakkuk. David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible. Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik.

[2] Barber, Cyril J. 1985. Habakkuk and Zephaniah. Everyman’s Bible Commentary. Chicago, IL: Moody Press.