“Why, God?”

Habakkuk 1 – 3

One widely assumed fallacy about Christianity is that once you choose to follow God, all of your problems will just go away.  Habakkuk wasn’t that kind of believer, and we shouldn’t be either.

Habakkuk was a contemporary of Jeremiah – living at a time when things were really bad for Judah.  He loved the Lord with all his heart, and longed for justice.  But he saw only violence and injustice wherever he turned.  He had some complaints, and took them to the right place – to God.

In Habakkuk 1:2, Habakkuk complained, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “violence!” but you do not save?”

In Habakkuk 1:3, he complained, “Why do you tolerate wrong…?”

Then in Habakkuk 1:13, he complained, “…Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?”

His basic complaint was, “God, I’m pouring my heart out to you in prayer, why don’t you do something?”  And “Why do you let the wicked persecute those more righteous than themselves?”  As we pointed out yesterday from 2 Peter 3:9, the answer may be that God is just being patient, wanting to give people as much time as possible to repent, before he steps in and judges.  And from Romans 3:10-12, we recognize there is no one that is righteous, no one who does good, not even one.

In God’s response to Habakkuk in 2:2-3, God said, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.  For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end.”  Then God gave a series of 5 “woe”s.  God was reminding Habakkuk that eventually, God will punish the wicked, but until then, Habakkuk needed to be patient and trust God.

I love Habakkuk’s response in Habakkuk 3:17, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”  

This ties into our Revelation 12 reading for today, where we read in Revelation 12:17, “Then the dragon went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”  For the last 3.5 years of this evil age, Satan will try to annihilate the Jews, but God will miraculously protect them.  So Satan will vent his wrath against Christians.

As Christians, there may come a time when we cry out to God, “Why don’t you answer my prayers?  Why do you let the wicked persecute those more righteous than themselves?”  But no matter how bad it gets, we need to have the same response as Habakkuk.  “Even though it appears that there is no hope, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

-Steve Mattison

Read or listen to today’s Bible reading passages at BibleGateway.com here – Habakkuk 1-3 and Revelation 12

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