Habakkuk: Justice

“Justice”

Habakkuk 2:9-14

Alec Wallis

23 October 2016


Questions: What is justice? How does God’s justice differ from our justice?

  1. God is just

Scales

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight

Proverbs 11:1 ESV

God loves justice

We worship an amazing God who can only be just

We praise God for he is perfect and just

The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

Deuteronomy 32:4

We see the theme of justice repeated in the OT

mishpat = a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially

This word occurs over 400 times in the OT and in English becomes “Justice, judgement, ordinance, and other words to do with the legal process”

The Bible shows God being the one who delivers justice

When people sin they sin against God and also against others

Justice is for people who have been wronged

The Lord executes justice for the oppressed,

The Lord gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free.

Psalm 146:7

We see justice in the world such as many of the men responsible for WW2 and atrocities against humanity being sentenced at Nuremburg

The problem for us is that even though we may not be guilty of war crimes like the Nazis were, we are still guilty of sin

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 3:23

We are all therefore at the mercy of the justice of God

While God loves justice, He also desires to be merciful

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;

He rises to show you compassion.

For the LORD is a God of justice.

Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

The only way God can show us both justice and mercy is the cross

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Romans 5:9

We rejoice because the justice of God is maintained by the punishment we deserve being paid in full and God’s compassion being displayed to us by offering us the gift of grace.

  1. Exile as justice

The issue with justice for Habakkuk is that it is the Babylonians who are bringing justice to Judah

You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish

Habakkuk 1:12

God responds with the listing some of the injustices that need to be punished

Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain

Habakkuk 2:9

Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed

and establishes a town by injustice!

Habakkuk 2:12

God establishes that the people of Judah must be brought to justice for their sin

We see that God is the one who determines the history of nations

Judah is sent into exile but justice comes to the Babylonians too

Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.

Habakkuk 3:16

One of the results of the exile is that other nations come to know God

These are the words of King Nebuchadnezzar after Shadrach Meshach and Abednego are rescued from the fire

Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent His angel and rescued his servants!

Daniel 3:28

If it were not for the exile, God’s glory would not have been able to be attributed to Him.

It was because of the Jews that they could know who it was.

  1. Refining judgement 

Justice is a good thing as it brings about positive change

The judgement to Judah in the form of exile brought change to Nebuchadnezzar as he realised God was all powerful

Justice does not only deal with sin

Righteousness and justice went beyond the functioning of the court system. They were carried out as a means of legal legislation and social reforms that would proactively care for the weak and protect them

Walton and Hill

Justice brings care and protection for the weak and well as judgement on the wicked

We can rightly see God as a judge

God is judge over the nations and the individuals

His compassion means that his justice brings about reform

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;

He rises to show you compassion.

For the LORD is a God of justice.

Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

We can look forward to God’s justice because He will be gracious and compassionate to us

While we escape the condemnation from sin by the blood of Jesus, we can still face judgement before we die

It is even something we hope for

Correct me, LORD, but only with justice

Jeremiah 10:24

Justice and judgement refine us as they help us to be made accountable

The hope is that judgement and rebuke can led us back to a right relationship in obedience to God

We see throughout the Bible and history of judgement and rebuke bringing positive change

Jonah prophesised over Nineveh that God would bring about judgement on them and they repented and were therefore spared judgement

King David was rebuked by Nathan the prophet for having an affair with Bethsheba then having her husband Uriah killed. While King David still faced God’s judgement, he had turned back to God.

The Vikings were unstoppable from the 8th to 11th centuries

One of the major factors that caused them to settle down was Christianity

Many of those they captured converted the Vikings

Some scholars see that just as God used Babylon to bring judgement and refinement to Judah, God also did the same with the Vikings bringing judgement on the British

The Vikings would not have been attracted to churches or monasteries had not these centres succumbed to luxury … a consequence of the invasions was their indirect cleansing and refinement of the Christian movement

Ralph Winter

We therefore must rejoice in the justice and judgement of God

If we are the oppressed, God will care and protect us

If we are sinning, God will judge us so that we can be refined by turning back to God.

Challenge: To pray for God’s judgement so the world will come to a knowledge of the glory of the Lord