There are mornings when I just need to hear the message of Habakkuk!
As I look at the evil and injustice flourishing in our nation, discouragement sometimes looms at my doorstep. Habakkuk helps me close the door to such feelings.
The book begins with the prophet’s complaint of violence and injustice in Judah:
2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4 So the law is paralyzed,
and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
so justice goes forth perverted.
Does this not describe our nation today? Is this not our world!?
My heart grieves as I think of all the violence all about us, of the despicable practices of Planned Parenthood, of the growing violence toward police, and of the almost daily terrorist attacks that claim the lives of so many innocent lives throughout the world.
We see “iniquity” prospering throughout our nation as never before. Twenty years ago I never could have imagined that our Supreme Court would someday rule in favor of same sex marriage or that a candidate of a major party would openly support this along with a host of other sins so clearly forbidden in Scripture.
The prophet saw that the law was “paralyzed” in his day. Could there be a more apt description of what is happening in our nation? The rich and powerful are not called to account for their crimes and yet bakers who stand by their biblical convictions face obscene fines.
Truly, justice is “perverted” in our nation as the “wicked surround the righteous.” The institutions we as nation rely on to bring the wicked to justice are now hopelessly stained with political corruptness.
I see a nation one election away from surrendering to an oppressive and socialistic world order that will, as President Obama clearly stated recently at the United Nations, “take away some of our rights and freedoms” for the “common good.” The recently uncovered e-mails reveal that Hillary is totally on board with this evil agenda to subject America to this satanic and demonic world government.
The message of Habakkuk, however, calls me to a higher perspective far away from the feelings of despair that lurk nearby.
The Lord Sees
The Lord saw all the evil in Judah during the time of Habakkuk; He sees everything today.
During the time of Habakkuk, God’s response to the wickedness of Judah was already on the way even before the prophet voiced his complaint (1:5-11). God was raising up the Babylonians who would begin their conquest of Jerusalem two or three decades later.
It’s so easy to think the Lord does not see the vile things done today in our abortion clinics. We think He surely would have done something by now if He truly saw the violence and injustice that daily surround us. How could He possibly let this continue so long?
The Lord sees and just as in day of Habakkuk, we can be sure God will respond in a similar way to the wickedness around us today unless we repent as a nation.
In Ecclesiastes 8:12-13 we find this warning, “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.”
It’s tempting to mistake God’s patience for His lack of interest or unwillingness to deal with sin. As Solomon points out, such a perspective ends in tragedy for those who believe the Lord does not see or care about their wicked lifestyle.
It’s a Matter of Faith
Habakkuk convicts me of unbelief. Yes, I know all the scriptural warnings concerning His judgment of wickedness, but at times my thoughts do not reflect a belief He will actually judge evil or punish the wicked in this life.
The prophet Habakkuk provides two amazing statements of faith that speak to my unbelief and point us to the needed faith for the day in which we live.
The apostle Paul later quoted the prophet’s words in 2:4 “. . . but the righteous shall live by faith.” In midst of the calamity about to descend upon Judah, the Lord says that those who know Him will “live by faith!” It’s not a matter of what we see, but confidence in our Savior who is coming for us!
As the book ends, the prophet proclaims that regardless of any calamity that might befall Israel, he will still “rejoice in the Lord” (see 3:17-18). Habakkuk starts out questioning God’s absence and ends with an amazing statement of faith in the Lord regardless of what loomed ahead for the nation.
The message of Habakkuk assures us that God will not let evil continue unchecked. At just the right time, the Lord will show up and deal with any society that rejects Him and openly flaunts its rebellion toward Him.
The test of faith often comes as a result of God’s patience; He often waits a seemingly very long time so people have as much opportunity as possible to repent and avoid His wrath.
It’s a Matter of Waiting
As the Lord responded to Habakkuk regarding how he would deal with the Babylonians for their sins, He said this in 2:3, “For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”
There’s that pesky word “wait.” Is this not where our faith so often falters?
We know Jesus is returning soon. We recognize all the signs for the beginning of the Great Tribulation on the earth. And yet . . . we wait.
We hear “rumors of war” like no other time in the history with seemingly daily threats somewhere in our world. Every week we read a stories about how World War III is about to start and we wonder how much longer the Lord can delay His appearing to take away His church.
I remember a particularly severe thunderstorm from my grade school years in Rockford, Illinois. In the midst of the wind and rain, everything grew perfectly calm for several seconds. Then suddenly, a huge bolt of lightning and loud crashing thunder interrupted the tranquil moment. Although the lightning struck harmlessly on our property, it set our neighbor’s home on fire.
I sense we are in the calm before the storm. Despite all the threats of violence and rumors of war throughout the world, our nation seems eerily peaceful on the surface.
I Thessalonians 5:3 speaks of a time when “people are saying, ‘There is peace and security’” ahead of the “sudden destruction” that will mark the beginning of the day of the Lord or the Great Tribulation.
The leaders of the world today often proclaim “peace and security” not realizing they are fulfilling prophecy. I believe the “sudden destruction” of 1 Thessalonians looms over the world at this very moment.
How long will the calm before the storm last? We cannot know. God is patiently waiting for as many as possible to repent and find eternal life in Him.
I believe the Rapture and subsequent Great Tribulation are rapidly approaching. Until then, we wait in faith knowing the Lord sees all that is happening around us and is just as eager to take us home to be with Him as we are for His appearing.
Habakkuk reminds me of God’s sovereignty; nothing escapes His notice and or diverts Him from His purposes. His Word will not fail!
The Lord will not let evil go unchecked forever. At precisely the right time the Lord will show up, much, much to the dismay of those who now reject the Lord and so openly flaunt their rebellion toward Him.
We wait . . . for Jesus to take us home before His judgments fall on the earth during the Tribulation.
Jonathan C. Brentner