Read HABAKKUK 1:12—2:1
12 Lord, are you not from everlasting?
My God, my Holy One, you will never die.
You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment;
you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
14 You have made people like the fish in the sea,
like the sea creatures that have no ruler.
15 The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks,
he catches them in his net,
he gathers them up in his dragnet;
and so he rejoices and is glad.
16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net
and burns incense to his dragnet,
for by his net he lives in luxury
and enjoys the choicest food.
17 Is he to keep on emptying his net,
destroying nations without mercy?
2 I will stand at my watch
and station myself on the ramparts;
I will look to see what he will say to me,
and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectHow can we be realistic about the challenges of living in the world while still maintaining trust in God’s promises?
How does Habakkuk respond to the news that Babylon will invade Judah? He says, in effect, “God, why are you doing that?” If the first complaint is about what God isn’t doing, this second complaint is about what God is doing!
Look in verse 12 at what Habakkuk affirms about God as Lord, as everlasting, as holy, as rock, as judge. That’s partly why he struggles. He is trying to hold together what he knows about God and what he sees in the world around him, just as we can sometimes struggle to do too.
So Habakkuk questions God (13). If God is awesomely pure, why does he allow ruthless enemies to do their worst—against his own people? In verses 14 to 17, he compares the Babylonians to someone gathering fish in a net, someone who not only takes pleasure in catching fish, but also worships the net for the life of luxury it brings. How can God do that? Look again at verse 17 and feel the force of Habakkuk’s questioning.
Habakkuk pauses. He has made his case to God and will wait for God’s response (2:1). Will God answer? What will he say?
Have you ever struggled with apparent inactivity on God’s part? What insights can you draw from Habakkuk so far?