Talks for Growing Christians
Habakkuk’s First Question About the Problem of Evil
Lesson Number 1
- There is the legitimate question concerning evil.
- God uses evil to punish evil.
- It’s not wrong to question God in the right way.
- What do we know about the life and times of Habakkuk?
- What was Habakkuk’s main concern?
- How did the Lord answer Habakkuk?
- What was Habakkuk’s reaction to God’s answer?
- What right thing did Habakkuk do?
- He was a pre-exilic prophet (before the exile of the Jews to Babylon). He prophesied a short time before King Nebuchadnezzar’s first attack on Jerusalem (605 B.C.). He was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah.
- As he looked around, he saw unchecked and unjust evil. He saw the wicked surrounding the righteous. The wicked were getting away with their iniquity and violence, and there didn’t seem to be any justice.
- God told him that He was about to discipline Judah by raising up the Babylonians (Chaldeans) to siege Jerusalem and take it.
- He was even more concerned and confused, wondering how a holy God could allow the pagan Babylonians to discipline His own people.
- He went directly to the Lord to express his concern. He asked the Lord why this evil was happening and why He wasn’t doing something about it. He was not a skeptic or a critic, but he was confused with legitimate questions.
- The problem of evil is sometimes called the “Achilles’ heel” of the Christian faith. There is no simple answer. That is, if God is all-good and the creator of everything, where did evil come from? And, if God is all-powerful, then why does evil continue? These are legitimate questions, and it is not wrong to wonder. Habakkuk had these questions. Do you have these questions as you look at today’s world? To whom and how are you asking these questions?
- Why does God allow evil and violence to go on, both then and now? Consider the evil ways of the Babylonian Empire (see Habakkuk 1:6, 7, 9-11). What does it mean, “God allows evil to punish evil?” Where else is this truth taught in the Bible?
- Evil sowed is evil reaped. See Psalm 76:10 and Galatians 6:7. Has God ever used the evil of mankind to punish and discipline you? Has some unfair treatment or evil deed been perpetuated on you? Did you learn from it? How did you deal with it?
- Be sure that you have the right attitude when you question God. Remember that He is not unfair or wrong in any way. Remember that you are seeking answers; not questioning God’s character or His ways. God gave Habakkuk answers because he didn’t come as a doubter, skeptic, or critic.
- “Habakkuk asked, ‘O Lord, how long? O Lord, why?’” Habakkuk 1:2-3
- “The Lord replied, ‘Look and watch – be astounded! I will work a work in your days which you would not believe.” Habakkuk 1:5