Habakkuk 1: Why?
We have now made it to Habakkuk! That is pretty exciting. We’re almost done the Old Testament!
Habakkuk does not begin on a very happy note though.
Hab 1:1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
Hab 1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
Hab 1:3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
Hab 1:4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
This is still a relevant question for all of us. I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of things happen around me and around the world that I quite frankly wish never happened. I think about the attack in Paris. I don’t know why the people had to suffer because of that great evil. Habakkuk didn’t understand why his people were suffering either.
Why do these bad things happen, and why does it seem like God doesn’t answer?
I think about this kind of problem of evil quite a bit, but one thing that I always have to come back to is the fact that God did hear Habakkuk. It is not as if God would ignore him based on what we know of the character of God as shown through Scripture.
If it is true that God did hear Habakkuk, then it also must be true that God had a reason for not doing what Habakkuk desired. Does it matter that we do not know the reason? For some people, that is very hard to accept. We are uncomfortable with things that we don’t know. I know I am. However, our discomfort is not necessarily what is important here. It is more important that there exists a certain reason that God is not doing what Habakkuk, a fallen man as we all are, explicitly wanting to do. If it is possible that God has a reason that we simply do not understand, then it is not a problem logically.
That is also an interesting point. Habakkuk here is assuming that his solution would create the greatest good, but he is a limited man questioning the wisdom of the infinite God. It is kind of like Job in that case.
Overall, I totally understand the emotional problem here that we have here in Habakkuk. I’m sure it is a common experience for all of us today. However, it is important to remember that the problem of evil is an emotional problem, not a logical one. The logical problem largely falls apart, so while it doesn’t necessarily make our experience any easier, it does help when we keep in perspective that God does listen and God is still good.