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Why does the LORD God let the wicked thrive (1)?

“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 look and see, 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 all come for violence…. guilty men, whose own might is their god!” 
(A) “O LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, we will not die. O LORD, you have appointed them to execute judgment; O Rock, you have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. 
 (B) You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at deceivers and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. 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. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever?” Habakkuk 1: 5-17
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. The burdens being carried by people all over the globe are nothing short of terrible. Many ask the same question, again and again:  Why doesn’t the LORD God do something? Please see last week’s Info with this title.

In an ancient book written by a man named Habakkuk around 610 BC (and preserved by the Jews in the national archives of Israel) we have a record of a man of God who asked the LORD God – the God of our Lord Jesus Christ – that very question. Habakkuk recorded for us the reply he received. It’s in bold above. The LORD God was going to raise up the Babylonian (Chaldean) army to indicate His view of what was happening on earth at that time. Iniquity, hurt, injustice, and greed.  He knew Habakkuk would be sorely troubled by this.


‘No attribute of God is more dreadful to sinners than his holiness.’ (Matthew Henry, writer, 1662-1714)
Take a look at Habakkuk’s reply to the LORD God in prayer – in italics (A) and (B) above. 

First, (A) Habakkuk indicates his agreement. “You, the LORD God, are from everlasting and you are totally holy. For sure” (says Habakkuk) “we won’t die. You rightly appoint them (the neo-Babylonian Empire) to carry out justified, justly-deserved punishment. You, LORD God, cannot look upon evil, cannot tolerate wrong – You are too pure.”

But, on reflection (B), Habakkuk became deeply troubled. He just had to express his awful reservations direct to the LORD God in prayer. 

He prays. “Given that You are too pure to see evil and too pure to even look at, let alone tolerate wrong, why then can You look at evil and why then can You look at the neo-Babylonians when they are deceitfully treacherous and when they swallow up folk more righteous than they are themselves? More, how can You possibly remain idle and stay silent when You see that happening through them? Through those terrible sinful men whom You have raised up?

Habakkuk tells the LORD God what happens. “My people – all the folk around me – become like fish in the sea. They cannot in any way cope with this because they don’t have a ruler strong enough to resist. These fierce people fish out all my people with hooks and dragnets and eat them. In fact, LORD, they’re so happy doing that that they treat their nets as their gods and worship their nets because by them they live in luxury - by netting and eating us.”

He adds. “Is this – this dog eat dog – this worship of anything which brings success and riches – to continue forever and forever – this merciless killing of one another in our world? Please answer LORD.”


‘Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.’ (U S President John F Kennedy, 1917-1963)
I think you’ve got the picture. Yes, I’ve been thinking and thinking - Why doesn’t the LORD God do something? But now that I’m getting a glimpse of the answer – that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ is doing something – I too am deeply troubled. My question now is like Habakkuk’s. Why does the LORD God let the wicked thrive?

This just and holy LORD God is indeed so pure as not to be able to look on iniquity, evil and violence – and righteously sends us, through others more powerful than us, the actual pain of the true effect of our evil. But why do this through people even more wrong than we are? 

I must find out how the LORD God answered Habakkuk....

Sinner Syvret

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