The pronouncement that the prophet Habakkuk saw.
How long, Lord, must I call for help
and you do not listen
or cry out to you about violence
and you do not save?
Why do you force me to look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Oppression and violence are right in front of me.
Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates.
This is why the law is ineffective
and justice never emerges.
For the wicked restrict the righteous;
therefore, justice comes out perverted.
Look at the nations and observe—
be utterly astounded!
For I am doing something in your days
that you will not believe
when you hear about it.
Look! I am raising up the Chaldeans,
that bitter, impetuous nation
that marches across the earth’s open spaces
to seize territories not its own.
They are fierce and terrifying;
their views of justice and sovereignty
stem from themselves.
Their horses are swifter than leopards
and more fierce than wolves of the night.
Their horsemen charge ahead;
their horsemen come from distant lands.
They fly like eagles, swooping to devour.
All of them come to do violence;
their faces are set in determination.
They gather prisoners like sand.
They mock kings,
and rulers are a joke to them.
They laugh at every fortress
and build siege ramps to capture it.
Then they sweep by like the wind
and pass through.
They are guilty; their strength is their god.
We don’t know much about Habakkuk other than what we read in this prophecy. From what we see in the prophecy written by him, we can conclude that he wrote his prophecy sometime between the death of Josiah and the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. He is concerned about the injustice he sees happening around him. His focus is on the injustice within Judah. He wonders why God is not acting. Why is God letting this injustice go on?
God answers Habakkuk by asking him to see the events of the wider world from His perspective. Babylon is rising as a world power and God is allowing it in order to eventually end the injustice in Judah. The answer seems unusual since Babylon seems to be a more evil nation. It begs the question, “How could God work through them?” Yet, God will use the Babylonians to address the injustice that Habakkuk sees happening around him in Judah.
As people who care about justice and God’s character, it can be disheartening to see injustice that appears to go unchecked. We may find ourselves wondering if God is real or if He even cares. It can be especially disheartening when the injustice appears to be happening among the people that are supposed to be representing God. Still, God sees the bigger picture and knows what is on the horizon for those who persist in injustice. In times like that, we need to ask God for His perspective on things.
- Where do you need to have God’s perspective on things?