Habakkuk 1:1-4 – “The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. 2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. 3 Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.” NASU
Have you ever looked at what is happening in this world and wondered, “What is God doing?” Have you ever been perplexed about injustice, war, murder, drunkenness, drug addiction, abortion, etc.? Have you ever been deeply concerned because of the world you are living in? THEN, let me introduce you to the prophet Habakkuk for he shared those sentiments and concerns.
Habakkuk lived about 600 BC in a time when the Jewish nation of Judah was declining at an alarming pace. Injustice, immorality, and violence were prevalent like today’s world. If you read the newspapers you realize that crime, sin, and injustice are rampant in our world. Continually we have reports of ‘bad things,’ happening to ‘good people,’ and sometimes want to just throw up your hands and cry out, “Why isn’t God doing something?” That is exactly how Habakkuk felt. He was watching the disintegration of his nation a nation he loved. He was in a position to see the enemy Babylon developing and becoming more and more of a threat. His nation was oblivious to the danger reveling in ‘selfish absorption’ like today.
Jehoiakim was King in Judah and he had burned Jeremiah’s scroll. As the Word of God was read to the king he took his knife and cut it into pieces then burned it. This transpired at the time Nebuchadnezzar was about to take Judah captive. Habakkuk saw this transpiring with a heart full of grief. He could not believe that God was allowing this to transpire seemingly inactive.
Campbell Morgan said of this – – “Men of faith are always men who have to confront problems. Those who are not believers do not have to worry about these problems. If there is not God, then whatever transpired cannot be blamed on or attributed to Him, so why worry or fret. War is war and crime is crime. But those of us who have faith in God, who believe in Jesus Christ, have to wrestle with some very difficult problems. How can a God of love permit those things to happen? How can a God of justice and holiness not judge those who are committing such evil and heinous acts?”
The name Habakkuk means ‘to wrestle or to embrace’. He certainly reached out to embrace God and without question wrestled with some very difficult problems in his day. How do you explain evil in this world if we believe in a God of love, mercy, and justice? Habakkuk did what many do today he tried to rationalize God for a human perspective and ultimately leveled three accusations toward God.
- He Accused God of Being INDIFFERENT – – (v.2)
Basically saying, God, I’m praying but you are doing NOTHING! Therefore he assumes that God is indifferent.
- He Accused God of Being INACTIVE – – (vv.3-4)
God answered him in verses 5-11 by telling him – I am working and in fact, I’m doing things so great and wonderful that you would not believe if you were told what they are. He then acknowledged that He was going to use the Babylonians to chastise His people for their sin.
- That Resulted in Him accusing God of being INCONSISTENT – – (vv. 12-17)
How could a Holy God use a wicked nation like Babylon to chastise Israel? Habakkuk faced a dilemma and became despondent, discouraged, and depressed.
Before you criticize the prophet to vehemently realize that we sometimes fall into this trap and I’ve heard people say, “How long do I have to pray about this?” I often have to deal with people questioning God over evil’s existence. So what did Habakkuk do? In Chapter Two we find him going to his ‘watchtower’ or place of prayer and there God opened His eyes and heart to see what was going on. God gave Habakkuk three assurances that we need to hear and heed. In Chapter 2:4 we find the promise of God’s Grace. In Chapter 2:14 we find the promise of God’s Glory and in Chapter 2:20 we find God’s Government. God tells the prophet, “I’m on the throne and I’m still God.”
So when the temptation to fret over wickedness in this world presses upon your mind lift up your eyes and lift up your heart knowing that God’s Grace is sufficient, His Glory will radiate, and His Government will rule.
Blessings as you go through your day!