MAKING A COMPLAINT
Lord, I don’t always understand Your ways, help me to trust Your heart.
Read Habakkuk 1:1–11
1 The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.
2 How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
but you do not save?
3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.
The Lord’s Answer
5 “Look at the nations and watch—
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians,[a]
that ruthless and impetuous people,
who sweep across the whole earth
to seize dwellings not their own.
7 They are a feared and dreaded people;
they are a law to themselves
and promote their own honor.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards,
fiercer than wolves at dusk.
Their cavalry gallops headlong;
their horsemen come from afar.
They fly like an eagle swooping to devour;
9 they all come intent on violence.
Their hordes[b] advance like a desert wind
and gather prisoners like sand.
10 They mock kings
and scoff at rulers.
They laugh at all fortified cities;
by building earthen ramps they capture them.
11 Then they sweep past like the wind and go on—
guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever felt let down by God?
It is likely that Habakkuk is prophesying at a time of escalating international tension. The Babylonian empire is challenging the mighty powers of Assyria and Egypt and the small nation of Judah is a small fish in a sea of predatory forces. But this isn’t Habakkuk’s complaint, at least not at first. His focus is on his homeland and the toxic results of failed leadership (4).
The reigns of Manasseh and Amon have presided over spiritual and moral decline. Public violence, injustice, corruption, and the collapse of the legal system can be seen everywhere, and he voices this angry lament. His anger is against God, whom he accuses of tolerating wrongdoing and doing nothing to remedy the unfolding catastrophe (3). It’s strong stuff! It feels unspiritual to be angry with God and yet the psalms include many hymns of lament: sung poems that express disappointment with God (Psalm 79). At times of local and national crisis, Habakkuk shows us that even frustration has its place in the great songbook of worship.
We are living in times of unprecedented religious persecution, particularly of Christians. An estimated 250 million believers are affected by this.1* Ask God how you can pray and help these believers.
God, life isn’t fair. I don’t understand. I don’t see the big picture. But I know that I can trust You. Strengthen my faith.
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