As you’re scanning the CNN headlines on the internet, doesn’t seeing all the violence and injustice in the world make you mad? Why isn’t God doing something? Why do the bad guys get away with stuff?
Well, that’s not a new feeling. A prophet named Habakkuk felt that way around 620 B.C. and wrote a book about it. God is not upset by his honest complaints and questions as He included this book of Habakkuk in his inspired Word.
Habakkuk lists six problems: sin, wickedness, destruction, violence, no justice in the courts, and the wicked outnumbering the righteous. He thinks God is indifferent and inactive. Habakkuk had evidently been praying for a long time because he says, (v. 2) “How long, O Lord, will I call for help, And you will not hear?”
But God wasn’t inactive. He responded by raising up a foreign nation, the Babylonians, to come and destroy Judah. No doubt that was NOT what Habakkuk wanted. He was amazed that God would use a nation even more wicked than Judah to punish Judah. But God doesn’t always give us the answers to prayers that we want or expect.
God responded to Habakkuk’s complaint letting him know that Babylon would be punished too. In the end, Habakkuk understands that God is in control, and he offers a prayer of trust and praise. Check out Habakkuk 3:17-19 for an encouraging conclusion to the matter.
“I think the message of Habakkuk is very comforting to us because we live in a wicked society. We can look back at what Habakkuk wrote, see that it came true, that God really is in control, that God did protect the righteous even though they went to Babylon (eg. Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego) and He eventually brought them back to the land. Therefore, my faith in God can be bolstered by the prophecy and historical events that show God’s word is true.” (Hampton Keathley)
Though the coming judgment in Judea was frightening, Habakkuk committed himself to wait and trust in God. We, too, can surely rely on a God who is just and good. God IS concerned about the condition of the righteous, and we can be sure he WILL punish the wicked in the end.
These thoughts adapted from Hampton Keathley IV’s blog, “Habakkuk,” bible.org, June 18, 2004.