Habakkuk 1:5–11 (NKJV)
5 “Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.
6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans,
A bitter and hasty nation
Which marches through the breadth of the earth,
To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.
7 They are terrible and dreadful;
Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards,
And more fierce than evening wolves.
Their chargers charge ahead;
Their cavalry comes from afar;
They fly as the eagle that hastens to eat.
9 “They all come for violence;
Their faces are set like the east wind.
They gather captives like sand.
10 They scoff at kings,
And princes are scorned by them.
They deride every stronghold,
For they heap up earthen mounds and seize it.
11 Then his mind changes, and he transgresses;
He commits offense,
Ascribing this power to his god.”
The Lord responds to Habakkuk’s cry for help by telling him that something shocking is on the way. Instead of Assyria, the presumed regional power, the Lord would send Babylon, or a segment of it, to come against nations, including Judah and Israel, to judge the oppressors and unjust leaders. This surprising development will be God’s work. However, once the leader of Babylon completes the work, He will either ascribe the victory to a false god of his, or he will take all the credit himself, lifting himself up to be god-like. Either way, He will be judged for his idolatry. Below is a further explanation of the situation from Word Biblical Commentary.
Babylon is described by Habakkuk as bitter (harsh) and rash (v 6), a nation marching through the whole earth following a scorched earth policy. The Babylonian makes his own laws (v 7). His military force is ominous and ready to strike (vv 8–9). He makes fun of kings and laughs at others’ defenses (v 10). Then after one fell swoop he goes on, but he is guilty because he worships his own power and strength (v 11). God allows tyrants to spring up and flourish for a little while, but they become guilty by the abuse of their power and, like a plant before it is firmly rooted, God blows on them and they wither. A tempest carries them away like stubble (Isa 40:24).
Ralph L. Smith, Micah–Malachi, vol. 32, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998), 102.
A few final thoughts:
- Be careful what you pray for
- Understand that deliverance may need to come through judgment
- There could be fallout around you, but in the end, God’s plan will be accomplished
- God’s plan is always best, and it will astound you!