When God uses Evil Men for His Purposes (Part II)
Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. He brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net; he gathers them in his dragnet; so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever? (Habakkuk 1:12–17 ESV)
Habakkuk’s response seems reasonable, imagine that God was sending an army to take us from our homeland and that army was evil and when they came they would not make a distinction between the moral and immoral.
How would you react to such an event?
I think we see exactly how we would react to such an event every time a Christian is fired for being a Christian or have their words maligned in the public square. We rant on Facebook or Twitter about how unfair it all is. I think we relate to Habakkuk much more than we like to admit.
Is it possible that God is using these people in these circumstances pursing evil gain for some sovereign good and holy end?
The relationship between God and evil, specifically how he can wield it like a sword for holy purposes yet not be effected by it are complicated for sure. God is holy, which means that all of His attributes, love, mercy, faithfulness etc. are the perfect example of what those attributes are supposed to look like. God cannot ever be unholy because He is the standard of all things, He created all things and defined them as they are. Evil is that which is not holy, or in other words that which does not measure up to the perfect standard of God. So, when God uses evil it is not something that can affect him in the same way that it affects us because it goes against his nature, his holiness. we on the other hand are affected by evil because it is in our nature. God uses evil purposes for his ultimate purposes to show us that He is more powerful than evil and because ultimatly if God had to avoid all men who pursued evil gains He would not use any of us because we are all evil.
Habakkuk’s feelings about where he stands in the battle over good and evil is pretty obvious when he says why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? Putting himself in the category, and maybe a certain portion of Judah as well, in the men more righteous. And here in lies the fallacy of Habakkuk's argument, he assumes that he is more righteous than the Chaldeans simply because he is a Jew, who fears God. But rightouesness is imparted to us not something that comes from within or through moral living.
To be fair to Habakkuk, his fears are valid, the Chaldean army was nothing to be taken lightly. They were the epitome of evil, they were Hitler, Stalin and those guys who killed the 145 Pakistan school children combined.
When evil overtakes me do I turn to my own sense of self-rightousness or to the sovereignty of God over all evil? God help me trust your sovereign purpose in all things even when I don’t understand them.