“How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight….The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.” – Habakkuk 1:1-4
You could sit in a church for many years and probably not hear a sermon on the prophet Habakkuk. He is definitely not a household name, even for the regular church goer. Habakkuk is one of Israel’s minor, or lesser, prophets. Habakkuk is a great book, and like all of scriptures is applicable to our lives today.
Habakkuk wanted to know why things were not fair? Habakkuk was written somewhere around 600 BC during a time when God’s people were becoming very corrupt. There was a lot of violence. There was corruption and injustice. Basically, there were a lot of bad people doing bad things to good people. But even the good people weren’t all that good because they weren’t doing anything about all the bad happening around them. In the midst of all this, Habukkuk asks a question, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help? He then makes an observation: But you do not listen.” Most of us have asked that question and had a similar observation.
I asked that my son get his act together, but it gets worse. I needed that promotion but a guy who doesn’t deserve it got it instead. And my migraines keep getting worse. Those questions typically generate more questions. “Is God interested in my situation because He could do something, but He doesn’t show up?” “How can I trust God with all that is going on?”
Many people may believe that Habakkuk had a lack of faith, but that was not the case. Habakkuk had faith but he also, like many of us, saw things that didn’t seem to line up with his trust in God. So he had some questions. And God had the answers, maybe not the answers that Habakkuk or we are looking for. God says this in Habakkuk 1:5, “The Lord replied, “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.” The next verse says, “I am raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people. They will march across the world and conquer other lands.” God is sending the Babylonians to punish His people. And in verse 7 God says, “They are notorious for their cruelty and do whatever they like.
God is agreeing with Habakkuk that something needs to be done and here is what I (God) am going to do about it. Here is my plan. (To be continued tomorrow)
- Habakkuk assumes that God does not hear, that He will not save, and that He will sit idly by. He cannot see a plan for justice. Do you ever feel the same way?
- Do you think it is possible for God to be doing good without us even realizing it?
- Do you trust God even when things don’t look favorable? Why or why not?