We all want what is fair—in our thinking. We demand justice for everyone’s actions but ourselves. We want answers for our troubles brought on by the world around us. We want help to avoid troubles brought on by ourselves. How long, Oh Lord? is the question we often ask when seeking justice that way we want to see it accomplished.
“Here’s a challenge. Find one sincere seeker whom God ignored. Search the Bible for one honest person spurned by heaven. Go ahead. Flip the pages. Examine the Scriptures. Read the stories. Where in the Bible did God turn away the genuine heart? Where in history did God spurn the authentic soul? Thomas came with doubts. Did Christ turn him away? Moses had his reservations. Did God tell him to go home? Job had his struggles. Did God avoid him? Paul had his hard times. Did God abandon him? And Habakkuk had his questions. Tough questions. Get-down-and-get-honest type of questions.” –Max Lucado, Encouraging Word Bible, Introduction to Habakkuk
Did God tell him to talk to someone else?
No. God never turns away the sincere heart. Tough questions don’t stump God. He invites our probing. And that is what Habakkuk did. He probed. As well as speaking for God, he spoke to God. He dared to ask his own troubling questions.
Habakkuk 1, The Message
Justice Is a Joke
1-4 The problem as God gave Habakkuk to see it:
God, how long do I have to cry out for help
before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, “Help! Murder! Police!”
before you come to the rescue?
Why do you force me to look at evil,
stare trouble in the face day after day?
Anarchy and violence break out,
quarrels and fights all over the place.
Law and order fall to pieces.
Justice is a joke.
The wicked have the righteous hamstrung
and stand justice on its head.
God Says, “Look!”
5-11 “Look around at the godless nations.
Look long and hard. Brace yourself for a shock.
Something’s about to take place
and you’re going to find it hard to believe.
I’m about to raise up Babylonians to punish you,
Babylonians, fierce and ferocious—
grabbing up nations right and left,
A dreadful and terrible people,
making up its own rules as it goes.
Their horses run like the wind,
attack like bloodthirsty wolves.
A stampede of galloping horses
thunders out of nowhere.
They descend like vultures
circling in on carrion.
They’re out to kill. Death is on their minds.
They collect victims like squirrels gathering nuts.
They mock kings,
poke fun at generals,
Spit on forts,
and leave them in the dust.
They’ll all be blown away by the wind.
Brazen in sin, they call strength their god.”
Why Is God Silent Now?
12-13 God, you’re from eternity, aren’t you?
Holy God, we aren’t going to die, are we?
God, you chose Babylonians for your judgment work?
Rock-Solid God, you gave them the job of discipline?
But you can’t be serious!
You can’t condone evil!
So why don’t you do something about this?
Why are you silent now?
This outrage! Evil men swallow up the righteous
and you stand around and watch!
* * *
14-16 You’re treating men and women
as so many fish in the ocean,
Swimming without direction,
swimming but not getting anywhere.
Then this evil Babylonian arrives and goes fishing.
He pulls in a good catch.
He catches his limit and fills his bucket—
a good day of fishing! He’s happy!
He praises his rod and reel,
piles his fishing gear on an altar and worships it!
It’s made his day,
and he’s going to eat well tonight!
* * *
17 Are you going to let this go on and on?
Will you let this Babylonian fisherman
Fish like a weekend angler,
killing people as if they’re nothing but fish?
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
ASK; THEN LISTEN AND LEARN.
God will answer a sincere heart who seriously desires His response to us that is right and true. When we desire wisdom from God by asking for His insight and understanding more than seeking His affirmation for what we think is justice; only then will justice take place. God will answer. God is faithful. God knows our hearts and minds. God wants us to learn that what He says is best for us. God welcomes our questions for it is in questioning that we learn, grow and mature in His love as our minds are transformed to match more closely to how God thinks.
God never turns away the honest seeker. Go to God with your questions. You may not find all the answers, but in finding God, you know the One who does.
I know we will never know all the answers in this life, but to know you personally is enough. You are all I need in this world as I learn and grow, preparing for eternity with you. Thank you for allowing us to question as part of the process of learning.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen