Habakkuk part 4 – 1:12-2:1 – Why?

  [12] Are you not from everlasting,
              O LORD my God, my Holy One?
              We shall not die.
  O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment,
              and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.
  [13] You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
              and cannot look at wrong,
  why do you idly look at traitors
              and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
              the man more righteous than he?
  [14] You make mankind like the fish of the sea,
              like crawling things that have no ruler.
  [15] He brings all of them up with a hook;
              he drags them out with his net;
  he gathers them in his dragnet;
              so he rejoices and is glad.
  [16] Therefore he sacrifices to his net
              and makes offerings to his dragnet;
  for by them he lives in luxury,
              and his food is rich.
  [17] Is he then to keep on emptying his net
              and mercilessly killing nations forever?
  [2:1] I will take my stand at my watchpost
              and station myself on the tower,
  and look out to see what he will say to me,
              and what I will answer concerning my complaint. (ESV)

This amazing rebuttal from Habakkuk expresses both confidence in the LORD and an accusation of Him and His ways.  He knows that God is eternal and that God’s people can therefore be confident about their future.  He knows that God has ordained Babylon’s conquest as a judgment.  At the same time, he can’t get past how God seems to idly look on while great evil is perpetrated in the world and wicked nations prosper.  He portrays man at his worst, callously exploiting others and “killing nations forever.”

It is not incongruous in the Bible to serve and trust the LORD and yet question His ways.  If God’s work in the world is far beyond human comprehension, then of course we would find it confusing and even seemingly backward much of the time.  Because He is good, He even invites us to express our bewilderment as we relate to Him.  So if you are wondering how it is that God could allow and even ordain wars and disease and death, know that you are not alone and that like a patient parent (unlike me these days!), He listens to all our questions and concerns.  More strikingly, this God, as He pursues us in love, even becomes like us and asks the question Himself! (Matt 27:46).