HOW LONG, LORD?
Lord, thank You for being accessible.
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.”
- Habakkuk 1:6 Or Chaldeans
- Habakkuk 1:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
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.
‘For God alone my soul waits in silence … He alone is my rock and my salvation.’ (Ps 62:1,2, ESV)
I love Habakkuk! He is so honest, so real – and so relevant for our world today, full of fear, terror, uncertainty, pain. Habakkuk prophesied when the threat of Babylonian invasion was being increasingly felt – probably during the reign of the Judean king Jehoiakim (609–598 B.C.) (2 Kings 23:36 – 24:6; 2 Chr 36:5–8). Nebuchadnezzar came to power in Babylon in 605 B.C. and by the end of that century his empire dominated the world. Even though Habakkuk realizes that his nation deserves God’s judgment because of its injustice and idolatry (2–4), there are questions that torment him. The first comes in verse 2: why does God seem so silent when things are so awful? It’s a question that many of us ask.
When God does reply to Habakkuk (5–11), there is no comfort. Things will get a lot worse. God tells Habakkuk that He is bringing upon them the Chaldean (Babylonian) army, who will destroy without mercy (See 2 Chr 36:17–21). There are many similar horrific happenings in the world today, though we only hear about a few of them. We ask questions too: what is God doing? We pray for the peace of the world, but that prayer never seems to be answered.
The silence of God has long been a test of faith for Christians. When my loved one is so ill, or my Christian colleague dies in a road accident, or when I’m clinically depressed, why does God feel so far away? When He does finally answer, why do things get worse? Obviously, this is not the only experience of Christians, but it is a problem for many. Habakkuk has more questions for God, as we shall read, but he hangs on in faith – and that’s what we need to do too. God’s final answer lies in the cross and resurrection and the promise of Jesus’ return to put all things right.
Read Revelation 20:11 – 21:8 to encourage your faith
Lord, although we don’t understand why You do the things that You do, we nevertheless believe that You are still perfectly righteous.
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