The Justice of God

Text: Habakkuk 1:1-4


I.         The prophet Habakkuk was upset with God

            A.        Wickedness and violence abounded in the world around him.

                        1.         Jeremiah asked much the same question: Why do the wicked prosper? - Jeremiah 12:1-4

                        2.         It is an old question. Job asked it - Job 21:7-15

                        3.         Asaph too was troubled by the apparent ease of the wicked - Psalm 73:2-5

                        4.         Malachi 3:15 - Is it useless to follow God?

            B.        Habakkuk had been crying out to God, yet it appears God is not listening.

                        1.         Jeremiah also had given up hope - Lamentations 3:6-9, 17-18

                        2.         Job declares God was not listening to his plight - Job 30:16-21

                        3.         David too despaired - Psalm 22:1-2

                        4.         And this is quoted by Jesus on the cross - Matthew 27:46

II.        God tells Habakkuk his plans - Habakkuk 1:5-11

            A.        He will send in an enemy nation to destroy Israel.

            B.        This is not the expected answer. There is violence in Israel, so God is going to solve the problem by bringing in a violent, heathen nation to overrun them? - Habakkuk 1:12-17

                        1.         Basically, Habakkuk’s answer is, “Wait a minute. You’re too good and righteous to do this to your chosen people.”

            C.        Is it so different today?

                        1.         People cry out against the wickedness in the world. They demand justice, but they don’t like what justice demands.

                        2.         “A good and righteous God would never send people to Hell! There cannot be such a place!”

                        3.         But God is both good and severe - Romans 11:22

            D.        People like to be told the righteous will be rewarded, but they don’t like the thought of the wicked being punished - Ezekiel 18:20-32

                        1.         We like the idea that God will forgive our sins and not hold our past against us.

                        2.         Yet if we commit evil, we want God to remember all our good deeds as if they will balance out the bad.

                        3.         It doesn’t work that way. If God will only consider the repentant sinner’s present condition, then justice requires that he only considers the fallen’s current condition.

III.       In chapter two the sins of Israel are listed for Habakkuk

            A.        Pride, greed, violence, trampling others to get what they want, sensuality and drunkenness, and foolish idolatry.

                        1.         Basically God is saying, “What else would you expect for such an evil people?”

                        2.         You certainly could not say these are God’s people who deserve special favor.

                        3.         Habakkuk’s answer was an embarrassed silence - Habakkuk 2:20

            B.        Job had cried out that he was being unfairly treated by God, but God showed Job that he did not understand what was going on. Look at Job’s answer - Job 40:1-5

            C.        God told Jeremiah if he is crying now from the wicked’s misdeeds, what will he do when God begins to punish the nation? - Jeremiah 12:5

                        1.         In other words, the answer you get might be more than you bargained for.

IV.      Habakkuk realized that Israel deserved the punishment God would send - Habakkuk 3:16-19

            A.        He may not like it, but he would put his trust in God.

            B.        David says much the same thing - Psalm 37

V.        Today there is an opportunity to turn from the evilness in the world and put your trust in God.