The complaint: “Oh Lord, I speak on behalf of the many righteous people in the nation. We cry out to You: Don’t you see all the violence going on in our land? All the robberies, the looting, the embezzlement, the immorality? Don’t you care that there is constant battling among the people? Don’t you care that the innocent and the little ones are suffering? There is no justice. The law is powerless. The righteous are surrounded by the wicked. Judgment is perverse. Aren’t You going to do anything about it?”
God’s answer: “Oh yes, I do intend to do something about it. Just watch. You will be amazed. I am going to do something that you won’t believe. I have raised up an incredibly wicked and violent nation, to sweep across the whole world to seize places that they do not own. These people are hated and feared. They make their own laws. They are infamous. They use swift weapons. They are like vultures, swooping down to devour. They are determined to destroy. They capture innocent people. They laugh at the rulers of the world. Their work is swift. They go on and on. They are wanted, arrogant men who boast about, and worship, their own strength.”
The protest: “But God, you are eternal, omnipotent, omniscient. Why are You going to use a nation more wicked than ours to punish us? Surely you would not allow this to happen. How could You! But, I guess You have. But since Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, why have You chosen a nation more evil than ours? In fact, there is not a more wicked nation in all the earth than the one You have chosen to punish us? You are so pure, how can You tolerate this wrong, this treachery? Why do You stay silent, while these wicked people destroy the righteous? They have made us like flapping fish out of water. We have no defense. We are dragged up, helpless, into their nets. Our captors laugh, while they gorge themselves on their prey. They carry on, destroying the nations without any mercy...
“Now I will wait to hear what You have to say, Lord. I am expecting an answer. I have my notepad all ready. Speak to me.”
God’s reply: “All right. You write this down. I will tell you in plain words so that everyone may know what I plan to do. And then you go and tell it to My people. You may think that my decision to use an extremely wicked nation to punish My people is unjust. Well, you just wait. The judgment on that nation is yet to come. You may think it is taking a long time. But I say to you, ‘Judgment on those who become wealthy on the looting and plundering of others, who build up cities by shedding blood; who establishes towns by committing crimes. Watch out. Your day is coming, and when it comes, it will be swift and final.’
“But as for you who are just, you must live by your faith. Don’t despair. The Lord is still on the throne. Eventually, all the earth will be silenced by Him.”
The Triumph: “Oh Lord. I am awestruck! I am ashamed that I questioned You. I remember all the times in the past when You have delivered Your people. I remember Your wrath at the nations, Your mercy to Your people. But keep reminding me. I remember the times Your glory spread across the heavens. You gave us the rainbow as a promise during one of those times. You parted the waters and delivered Your people; then You drowned a wicked nation who was pursuing. You made the sun stand still while You fought a battle for Your people. You defeated a wicked nation. You rampaged through the nations while you came out to rescue Your people...
“Yes, Lord, I remember those times. I will wait patiently for the day You destroy the enemy for the last time. It may seem right now that things are terrible. Jobs are diminishing; there is drought in many places, causing crops to fail. Trees are dying because of insect infestation; cattle and fowl are being destroyed because of disease. But in all of this, I will praise you. You are my Lord and my strength. Though I feel weak and frightened, I will run like a deer, and jump like an impala. In all this, I will sing praises to the Most High God.”
My conclusion: What did you think? Did you think I made all this up? I didn’t. Read a similar version for yourself. I have quoted just a portion, but read the whole book. Habakkuk is a book of the Bible that a lot of people do not pay much attention to. At least I never have. But I read it recently. Yes, the whole book. It is only three chapters. I was amazed at what I read. It was like reading today’s newspapers
Habakkuk 3:17, 18
“O Lord, how long shall I cry. And You will not hear? Even cry out to You. “Violence!” And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me: there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous: therefore perverse judgment proceeds.”
Habakkuk was a prophet during the time when the nation of Judah was nearing its end, possibly during the reign of King Jehoiakim, 609–597 B.C. King Jehoiakim was a godless king. He led Judah down a destructive path. Habakkuk called to the people of Judah continually, to repent, but their sins kept piling up. They repeatedly ignored the prophet’s warning.