2016-01-31 - Habakkuk
Chapter 1 Verse 7
Verse 7: Now God gives Habakkuk an extended description of the people He is going to use, to bring disaster to Judah. The real surprise isn’t God will discipline, but whom He is going to use. Consider the following regarding the Chaldeans.
“… they are cruel, quick, and impetuous in their ways, and bent on far-flung campaigns, such as were conducted under Nebuchadnezzar.” 1
The point is, God uses his enemies as his instrument to discipline His own.
“Though it seems to be unbelievable, God was raising up the Chaldeans … to “march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling-places that were not theirs.” Terrible and dreadful, carrying out what they thought were but the purposes of their own hearts, they should come up with their vast and irresistible armies against Jerusalem, like the eagle hastening to its prey! …
These truths should be both a source of comfort and anxiety. But we’ll get to that in a moment. Meanwhile, we should probably take a few moments to talk a bit about Babylon and the Chaldeans. Here I turn to Blue.
“Babylon was a nation known for its violent impulses. Its people readily committed furthermore, their conduct matched their character. They swept across the whole earth to plunder and possess. No doubt “the whole earth” meant much of the then-known world, for Babylon did conquer many of the nations including Assyria, Judah, Egypt, and Edom. Judah was just a speck of loose dust before this gigantic vacuum cleaner.” 3
“… I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor.”…“ He and his people with him, the most ruthless of nations, shall be brought in to destroy the land, and they shall draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain.”…“Foreigners, the most ruthless of nations, have cut it down and left it. On the mountains and in all the valleys its branches have fallen, and its boughs have been broken in all the ravines of the land, and all the peoples of the earth have gone away from its shadow and left it.”…“I will cause your multitude to fall by the swords of mighty ones, all of them most ruthless of nations. “They shall bring to ruin the pride of Egypt, and all its multitude shall perish”” (Ezekiel 28:7; 30:11; 31:12; 32:12 ESV).
“The Babylonians, also known as Chaldeans, lived in southern Mesopotamia and were called “an ancient … nation” (Jeremiah 5:15), a primeval people. Abram, of course, migrated from Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan. God had called a people out of this increasingly savage populace. Now this nation had burst out of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley and like some awesome lava flow it spilled across the world. Its quiet little cousin, Judah, would soon lie in its wake.” 4
God describes five characteristics of the Babylonians. First, they had a high status in their world. They were feared by all and answered to no one. Or anyway, that’s how it appeared, because of course, they were answerable to God. Armerding uses the term “self-deification"5 which certainly describes their view of themselves, and this attitude would have made their use by God even more of an insult to the “godly” Judeans.
To be continued.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.