Are you not from eternity, Lord my God?
My Holy One, you will not die.
Lord, you appointed them to execute judgment;
my Rock, you destined them to punish us.
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil,
and you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
So why do you tolerate those who are treacherous?
Why are you silent
while one who is wicked swallows up
one who is more righteous than himself?
You have made mankind
like the fish of the sea,
like marine creatures that have no ruler.
The Chaldeans pull them all up with a hook,
catch them in their dragnet,
and gather them in their fishing net;
that is why they are glad and rejoice.
That is why they sacrifice to their dragnet
and burn incense to their fishing net,
for by these things their portion is rich
and their food plentiful.
Will they therefore empty their net
and continually slaughter nations without mercy?
I will stand at my guard post
and station myself on the lookout tower.
I will watch to see what he will say to me
and what I should reply about my complaint.
Habakkuk is not happy with God’s response. He knows that the Babylonians are an evil society, more evil than anything Judah has done. He struggles with the idea that an extremely evil nation will conquer nations that are more righteous than it is. He has a hard time reconciling this with what he knows of God’s character. He’s sure if God really understands how bad Babylon is, He will stop them from advancing. It seems as if he would prefer that God just wipe the evil in Judah out with a natural disaster than to use an evil nation like Babylon to carry out His justice.
What is commendable about the response of Habakkuk is his concern for the holiness of God. He trusts that God is holy and just. Therefore, he cannot imagine God allowing evil to go unchecked. He’s not as concerned with the safety of his own nation as he is about God’s reputation. God’s eventual answer will reaffirm what Habakkuk knows to be true of God.
We need to ask ourselves what our motive is when we have complaints about what God is or isn’t doing. Are we concerned only with our own peace and comfort? Or are we concerned with how the events of the day misrepresent God’s character? If our concern is the latter, we need to trust what we know to be true about God and wait to see how things will work out.
- What is your motive when you complain about the evil you see in the world?