It was unjust of God, Habakkuk thought, for God to use sinners worse than Judah to punish Judah. Frankly, Habakkuk believed God had gotten himself in a moral bind on this one and Habakkuk was determined to hold God accountable.
In a lengthy reply (chapter two), God speaks to the arrogance of Habakkuk, which is very much like the arrogance of Judah and Babylon. It is very much like our own arrogance. Habakkuk is a product of his times. God affirms that he will hold both Babylon and Judah responsible for their sins. No one is getting a pass. The Lord ends his speech with a proclamation of His sovereignty.
Habakkuk, properly rebuked, spends chapter 3 of his book in prayer. He reviews God’s power, but also God’s faithfulness to his people. Habakkuk understands Judah must be punished for her sins. He knows the punishment will be inevitable. No matter who does it, however, God will not desert his people, and in that, Habakkuk can find hope. “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
God has no problem with His people questioning Him, or even disagreeing with Him. But he insists, that at the end of the day, His people trust Him. He is God. We are not God. Those who stand “right” in the sight of God are those who, in the end, trust God and demonstrate it with the life they live. Being “right” with God is supremely a matter of trusting that Lord, and His way, is right – and acting accordingly.