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Why doesn’t the LORD God do something?

The burden 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.” 
 “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. They are dreaded and fearsome; their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on. Their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swift to devour. They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gather captives like sand. At kings they scoff, and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it. Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!” Habakkuk 1: 1-11
 
For me – as for very many of the folk I meet – these present times are the worst of times in the world in the past 50 years. It’s not necessary to itemise the burdens being carried by people all over the globe. They are itemised on TV, in the newspapers, and on our smartphones.

Take a look at the extract above from the first few sentences of an ancient book written around 610 BC. This tiny book sets out a “burden” which Hezekiah saw in his own day. It was a “worry” to him; these were the things which he found it very, very difficult to “carry” in his heart, in his deepest being.

He makes this burden a matter of prayer to the LORD God (the God of our Lord Jesus Christ). He asks why he has to see iniquity all around him. He asks why God is idle, why God does nothing, about the wrong all around him.

 
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‘Violence is normal in a fallen world.’ (Os Guiness)
He asks this because destruction and violence are everywhere – all around him, north, south, east, west, home, family, neighbours, fellow dwellers in Jerusalem, everybody. Destructive. Violent. 

He cannot bear – cannot carry – the strife and the contention, the argument and the fierce opposition to one another which he sees every day. Above all this, he had hoped that law and order might have stopped it all. It hasn’t. Laws don’t stop murders. Laws don’t stop fraud. Laws don’t stop vicious words. 

In fact, the situation in his home city of Jerusalem is so bad that he is able rightly to draw God the LORD’s attention to the fact that the wicked are now in charge and have ring-fenced the good and, as a result, they control the justice system in their own interest – they pervert justice, they “get away” with everything.

I find myself in Habakkuk’s shoes today. Do you?

But Habakkuk had set this “burden” in front of the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. What would His answer be? It’s in bold above – word for word, translated into English from the Hebrew and preserved by Israel in their national archives.

 
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‘God is not always a God of immediate justice, but He is a God of ultimate justice.’ (John Blanchard)
In effect, the Lord God said to him, “You’re not going to believe what I’m going to do, even when I tell you.”

“Because, look and see, I am resurrecting the ancient Babylonian Empire – the Chaldeans. They are a bitter and short-tempered nation. Earth’s distances do not daunt them. They take hold of houses they don’t own. When you see them you will see that they’re dreadful and fearsome. You, Habakkuk, have looked for justice to solve all the awful problems in the world and justice will be brought to you by them - their own justice. They will decide what is valid and what isn’t."

“They will be among you like leopards and wolves. Their forces will come out of the blue quickly consuming everything you’ve got. They’re bent on violence and ignore the pain of others. They’ll take innumerable people captive and deport them. Your community and governmental leaders will be laughed to scorn as will your own defences. They know they’re guilty of frightful crimes. The only god they answer to is themselves.”

Why have I written this? One reason only. In Habakkuk’s day he would see the rise of the neo-(new)-Babylonian Empire and it would totally overcome the small nation of Israel, the people who belonged to the LORD God. Why? Because the LORD God hates iniquity, destruction, violence, strife, contention, and injustice in His people. He wants them to have that burden.

 
Sinner Syvret

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