By Brooke Holt
“The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save? 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. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.” Habakkuk 1:1-4
“How long, Oh, Lord?” This is a question I hear so often from people within the church. When will Jesus come again? When will he end our suffering? How much longer must we endure seeing evil flourish in this world? Thankfully, the Scriptures remind us people have been asking these questions for thousands of years. Habakkuk, the prophet, also wrestled with why the Lord allowed injustice and evil to flourish even in Israel.
Habakkuk lived in the times of Israel’s demise. They had forgotten the Lord and dismissed his commandments on how to live in the land. Habakkuk saw the sins of his people and grieved their apostasy while also wondering where God was, what he was doing, and how he could tolerate such sin among his people. Instead of railing at the people, Habakkuk provides a model of what to do with all our questions, fears, and concerns. Habakkuk brought them directly to the Lord. In fact, Habakkuk’s book is an extended conversation between the prophet and the Lord.
What were Habakkuk’s complaints? He felt God was not hearing his cries for help, did not see the violence happening around him, did not care for those being wronged, and that the Lord allowed iniquity to prevail in Israel as well as destruction, violence, strife, and contention.
Fundamentally, the questions boiled down to do you see and care, God? Thankfully, these verses are just the beginning of the conversation. The Lord assures Habakkuk that he sees the wickedness, that he cares about the situation, and that he has a plan to execute justice, but justice will come in his time and in his way.
How does this encourage your heart today, or does this encourage your heart? God does not work according to our agendas or timing, but he always has a plan to deal with sin and injustice. What can you learn from Habakkuk’s example of taking complaints to the Lord in prayer? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Advent is like celebrating a national holiday in a foreign land — like observing the 4th of July as an expatriate. Locals do not understand the fuss. Advent is equal parts cherishing and missing home. AND it’s a mix of loving this world while getting ready to leave it behind. This makes Advent the most human and most complex celebration we have. Isaiah the prophet, David the psalmist, Paul the apostle, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus all lived in one world and longed for the next. They loved this world and loved the world to come even more. In these 28 devotions in Face the Dawn, join them in wearing the paradox of Christianity- this world may be our home, but that world is HOME.
Comments will be approved before showing up.