The Comparison Trap

In the book of Habakkuk, the prophet is frustrated and expresses his righteous indignation to God regarding the evil he sees going on in the world around him.

“How long, LORD, must I call for help and you do not listen…” Habakkuk 1:2

But when God’s answer isn’t what he expected he gets frustrated again. God promises him that the Babylonians will be His instrument of justice, but they were a bloodthirsty, arrogant, idolatrous people in their own right. How could God use them to bring justice?! To Habakkuk it seemed like the solution was worse than the problem, but in doing so he fell into the comparison trap.

He wanted justice, but he apparently assumed that whoever brought it would be righteous themselves. He looked at Babylon and thought, “Hey, we’re bad, but we’re not as bad as those guys. No way God would use them!” He compared one nation’s sinful ways with Israel’s and figured that since Israel was better (at least in his mind) that they deserved a better judge. He was wrong.

“We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way…” Isaiah 53:6

Israel was corrupt in many ways, and Habakkuk wanted justice, but unless he expected angels and lightning bolts or something, he was going to be disappointed with whoever God chose to bring judgment on the people.

It wasn’t long after Habakkuk had his conversation with God before the Babylonians came and fulfilled His word to the prophet. But true to His word, God eventually brought justice to Babylon as well. His message to the prophet: The righteous will live by faith. It’s kind of like God was saying, “I got this, bro, chill.”

The desire for justice is common. We all look at things like human trafficking and long for the day it will end. Where we have to be careful is in limiting our concept of who God might use to bring justice. That’s the trap, comparing ourselves to others in the search for justice. Newsflash: there are no perfect people. Translation: God’s instruments on earth will always be flawed.

Final Thoughts:

  1. Don’t assume that because you think you’re better than someone else God can’t or won’t use them in your life. He’ll use whoever He wants, its one of the perks of being God.
  2. Doubts and frustrations are normal. You have to love the fact that Habakkuk is willing to engage the sovereign God of the universe like he does. One of the greatest perks of having a relationship with Him is the ability to have intimate conversations with Him.
  3. If you’re going to question God, don’t expect to get the answer you want, but rather the answer you need, which might be completely at odds with the desire of your heart.
  4. Trust God. Whatever you’re going through, whatever injustice you see or experience, know this: He sees it too. He’s always on His throne, and whether its in this life or the next, justice will always be served.

“The righteous one will live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

Common Notes 4.20.16

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