Read Habakkuk 1:2-6
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4 So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.
5 Look at the nations, and see!
Be astonished! Be astounded!
For a work is being done in your days
that you would not believe if you were told.
6 For I am rousing the Chaldeans,
that fierce and impetuous nation,
who march through the breadth of the earth
to seize dwellings not their own. (NRSV)
Two types of people can be used by God. One is the most obvious: the individual who is devoted to God’s ways and seeks to follow them so that God gets honoured and the world is a better place because of it.
The other type of person is the sort which has little or no time for God but whom God uses despite all that to achieve his purposes. In our text today, the prophet Habakkuk despaired at the corruption of his people. God tells him he is going to deal with all that but will do so by means of the Chaldeans, a notoriously wicked national group.
God is able to work good out of evil. Those who do evil are still responsible for their actions, and evil remains evil. But in some strange way, God uses their evil actions to produce a more complex and long-term good. And he does so without in any way approving of their evil.
In a rather mysterious way, Judas served God. Jesus served God in a much clearer and plainer way. One served him as a tool, the other as an obedient Son. One did evil which somehow served the good. The other simply did good.
Perhaps we all serve God in our own way. But better by far to do it as a willing child than as an unwitting instrument.