One of the most interesting books of the Bible would have to be Habakkuk. This tiny writing sits at the end of the Old Testament containing much detailed information about who the God of the Bible is and what He looks like in relation to the entire created universe. Discussing the character of God seems to be a major point of dialogue in most theological and philosophical circles today. There are many opinions about who the God of the Bible really is, and many differing views are being taught within the Christian church itself. The point of discussion in this article is to focus on the true nature of God based on Biblical evidence, but first it would be wise to consider other views that are being held in the church today.
Consider this quote from a “Christian” theologian,
“The future is determined not by God alone, but in partner with human agents. God gives us a role in shaping what the future will be. He is flexible and does not insist on doing things His way. God will adjust His own plans because He is sensitive to what humans think and do.”
What is particularly interesting about this quote is that it quickly diminishes the completely sovereign aspect of God’s character. This is not too far off from what is known as Open Theism, the view held by people like Gregory Boyd and John Sanders. Basically, this position holds that God does not know the future exhaustively and that He can only know what is knowable. This seems to be taking a step away from the historical view of who God is in the Bible.
Considering the book of Habakkuk would, in my outlook, absolutely decimate this view of God, and Habakkuk does it biblically. The whole point of the book of Habakkuk is that God is completely sovereign in every aspect of life. One quick read through of Habakkuk would quickly put to rest the notion that “God is flexible and does not insist of doing things His way and that God will adjust His own plans because He is sensitive to what humans think and do”.
In fact, the opposite is true. In the narrative of Habakkuk, the prophet Habakkuk goes before God questioning why God has not done anything to stop the wickedness that the people are committing. God answers Habakkuk and says that He is doing something, “A work in your days that you would not believe if told” (Hab. 1:5). God was referring to the raising up of the Babylonians to judge and destroy the wickedness of Judah, the very place where Habakkuk was at this time. Habakkuk then questions God as to why He would do something like this, but God answers with a rather astounding remark.
“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not right within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4).
As Habakkuk is in immense fear of the Babylonian threat coming, but God answers by saying that the Babylonians will get their just punishment for destroying Judah, but the ones from Judah who have faith in the Lord of heaven will live. To me, this raises some considerable doubt about the nature of God as presented in the quote above. Will God really adjust His plans even if we humans do not think it is a good idea what God is doing? I think not, and Habakkuk clearly shows this.
The ending of Habakkuk is what is truly amazing about this whole study. By the third chapter, Habakkuk is now singing a song of praise to God remembering all that God has saved His people from mainly focusing on the Exodus out of Egypt. Habakkuk concludes that though the army of the Babylonians is coming, he will rejoice in the God of his salvation because God still saves people. Clearly, Habakkuk did not want to endure hardship of war, but joyfully does because the true God, the Lord in heaven will deliver him.
As for the character of God, we see that He works out all of history to His liking. Of course this does not mean that humans don’t have a free will, but rather that God’s sovereignty is compatible with the free will of humans. I think it would be wise to say that the God of the Bible is not the God of the quote from above. God does not dwell in systems of theology such as the Openness of God, but rather sits comfortably in the realm of biblical truth taught in Scripture. God is not a sucker sitting around for when we humans conveniently need Him, but rather God is actively working out all of history for His glory and liking. Truly we worship and amazing God that is still in the business of saving sinners from the just punishment we deserve.