TODAY’S READING: Habakkuk
Habakkuk struggled with the violence he saw on the global scale. The Chaldeans originated in the southern part of the Babylonian empire and over time consolidated enough power to overthrow the Assyrians and rule from Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar II was himself a Chaldean, and from the seventh century on, the terms “Babylonian” and “Chaldean” appear to be synonymous. Habakkuk struggled with how God could allow such violence to go unpunished, how a pure God could use such obviously ungodly tools. God answered Habakkuk’s timeless question with His eternal answer: “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… For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea… But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him” (1:5; 2:14, 20).
As we look over the global landscape, we wonder with Habakkuk about problematic challenges like urbanization, violence, corruption, and materialism. God’s answer remains the same.
Whether through the experience of God’s saving grace or through exposure to God’s righteous judgment, Israel came to know who the true and living God is. And by the same means, ultimately, the nations too will come to know His identity, either in repentance, salvation and worship, or in defiant wickedness and destruction. “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea” (2:14). Such is God’s will and purpose. Such is the mission of God.
Habakkuk concisely reminds us of God’s aim (which if God be true, and He is) will indubitably be achieved: His glory will cover the heavens and the earth will be full of His praise and one look from His holy eyes will startle the nations (3:3, 6). Whether by death or life, God will be glorified by Bedouins in Saudi Arabia. Whether by the whole nation of Saudi Arabia turning to Jesus or one Saudi family bowing to worship Jesus, God will be glorified.
I am just finishing a one-year fast from reading or viewing world news. It’s been a tonic to my soul that became weary with the globally ubiquitous violence and wickedness. I discovered that when an event was significant enough, someone informed me. To some degree, I will engage again, but how sweet to read God’s promises about how this ends instead: His glory everywhere to every nation and every people. In that news, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (3:18). In a world God made, we remember how it all ends. In wrath God will remember mercy, and around His eternal throne all nations will gather whether in holy silence or joyful praise. Look for the Saudis! I hope to be standing next to a passel of them.
 The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 705–6.
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 122.