“Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, they whose strength is their god.” (Habakkuk 1:11)
Habakkuk, like many of the prophets, had a gripe with God. He was watching the people of Judah committing violence against each other and ignoring justice, and there was no end in sight. If the people, whose God was Yahweh and who had been given the law from Moses were becoming an immoral and violent society, why wasn’t God doing something about it? The Hebrews were supposed to be the poster children of law, order, justice, mercy and morality. Every other people at that time, especially the Chaldeans, had no God-given laws, and over time, had become extremely violent, greedy, animalistic and completely immoral. They had no boundaries of any kind. As the people of Judah became more and more like the other peoples around them, Habakkuk wondered why God wasn’t intervening.
So Habakkuk went to God and said to Him, “How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and Thou wilt not hear? I cry out to Thee, ‘Violence!’ yet Thou dost not save.” (Habakkuk 1:1)
God’s response wasn’t exactly what Habakkuk had been hoping for. He made it clear that He was indeed planning to do a work in Judah, a very painful work. He was raising up the Chaldeans–“that fierce and impetuous people”–to sweep into Judah and do a work of destruction, and then, just as quickly, they would leave. Judah needed a serious immunization, and God prescribed the exact dosage.
Habakkuk didn’t get it. Why on earth would God bring the most feared and fierce people on earth against His people? But God made it clear they needed a wake-up call, and like a clock alarm, if you’re pretty deep in the sleep of sin, you need a loud siren to pierce your consciousness.
What’s interesting about this story is that there’s a message behind the obvious message. The fact that God was raising up the Chaldeans to come against Judah shows us that God had the Chaldeans in the palm of His hand. He used them for His own purposes, and even though He used them, He still held them guilty. Look at the verse in italics at the top of this blog. Have you ever noticed that throughout scripture, God uses those who are unrelentingly evil for His own ends? God already knows those who will never turn to Him–because He knows the state of their hearts from the beginning to the end of their lives–and although they think they are completely in control of their own lives, in actuality, they have no control at all.
However, those who turn to God and submit their lives to Him, are given perfect freedom, and grace upon grace. With Jesus as our Savior, we are released from the bondage of sin, never held guilty, nor are we ever used as pawns. People who don’t want to submit to God or His beloved Son Jesus because they’re afraid of losing their freedom are actually already captive and can and may be used by God to accomplish His desires for His people. Look at it this way. In ancient times, ships were powered by the rowing of prisoners. Those who were condemned were used to get those who were free to their destination. It is the same way with those who are captive to sin and those who are submitted to God.
When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed! (John 8:36) If we remain under the covering of Christ, God will never remove our freedom. But if we turn our backs on God, you better believe He can and may move you about like a pawn on a chess board. Satan is under the same jurisdiction. He does only what God allows him to do, nothing more. And if God tells him to jump, you can bet Satan will say, “How high?”
While God may use us to bless the lives of others–and I pray He does!–He will use us in a way that not only blesses others, but gives us incredible joy and purpose in the process. But the difference is, we are given the choice to bless others and to be used for His purposes, and if we are wise, we will cry, “Yes, Lord, use me so that I may be abundantly blessed!”