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Habakkuk 1:1-11 – Habakkuk asks a question: how long?

The problem for Habakkuk is why does God seemingly not do something about the wickedness of people in Israel. How long does Habakkuk have to cry out to God about this and God seemingly turn a deaf ear.

God’s answer is that just as the wicked in Israel surrounded the righteous in Israel perverting justice, so the Babylonians will surround the wicked in Israel – the oppressors will be oppressed by others. The Babylonians are even bigger bullies than the bullies in Israel – they are like leopards, wolves, and eagles (predators and scavengers). Unlike the wicked in Israel, they do not nullify God’s law, they go even further and are a law unto themselves. Unlike the wicked in Israel, they do not pay lip service to the LORD but rather regard their own strength as their god.

So Habakkuk asks God, “What are you going to do about these wicked Israelites? Why aren’t you doing anything?” And God says I am doing a work in your days – at the very time that Habakkuk is complaining, God is actually doing something. That work may be invisible, but it is in operation. But what is so confusing is that God’s instrument of judgment is people even more wicked than Israel. Habakkuk’s next question will be, “How can that be right?”.

Habakkuk is a good book for people crying out “how long?” and feeling like God is not paying attention. It is a good book for those among us who are often puzzled by God’s ways. More tomorrow.