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Why does the LORD God let the wicked thrive (3)?

“Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, (A) “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own— for how long? — and loads himself with pledges!” … (B) “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! … (C) “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity! … (D) “Woe to him who makes his neighbours drink— you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness! … (E) “What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols! Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! … (F) “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”  Habakkuk 2: 6-20
Things in the world around us – things across the globe – are very bad. The days are evil. We started with the question: Why doesn’t the LORD God do something? 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 question. 

Habakkuk recorded for us the explanation: the everlasting LORD God is holy beyond measure and will send a violent enemy to show to His people – and all peoples - His pure holiness. But Habakkuk just couldn’t accept one aspect of what the LORD God told him: how could the LORD God in his everlasting holiness allow a hugely sinful and violent nation successfully to go against a people less sinful and less violent than them? In short, “Why does the LORD God let the wicked thrive?” 

The LORD God – with great patience – gave Habakkuk the eyes to see His answer. Each and every man and woman is either “heedless and inflated” or “righteous”. The former have no vertical and in their self-seeking are full of harm towards others; the latter, very simply, “live by faith”.


‘Faith is the means by which the infirmity of man lays hold on the infinity of God.’ (John Blanchard)
When the LORD God of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed this searching truth to Habakkuk, he added an explanation as to why the thriving of the wicked is, in all reality, a deceitful illusion. He gave five reasons – (A), (B), (C), (D) and (E) in bold above. Five reasons why “woe” – “misery” – is awaiting the wicked. 

Reason (A) The accumulation of wealth (so very often at the expense of others) is only temporary.  The LORD God describes this person why as being “loaded with pledges” and goes on to say that his “debtors” – those who have a just claim against him – “will suddenly arise”.  This has repeatedly occurred in history: the barbarians rose against Rome; the Russian serfs against the Romanovs. Would it be just if the 1.2 billion starving globally today rose against the all-powerful Western asset holders?

Reason (B) When, in order to obtain security, people fence themselves in and live in exclusive places so as to be safe and superior, they are living by excluding others from a living (“cutting them off”). They would actually receive, through others, the misery of their own exclusion from life itself.

Reason (C) This forecast of “woe” relates to empire-building by nations, collective ventures or alliances. In the explanation to Habakkuk the LORD God disclosed that he has ordained that all such will continue to fall one after the other. “Empires” and “emporiums” will continue to be defeated by others more ruthless or clever than they are. History confirms this. Where Is Marxist-Leninist Russia? Where Enron? Where global accountants Arthur Anderson?

Reason (D) For what reason is misery forecast for those who “make their neighbours drink in order to gaze on their nakedness”? What are these folk actually doing? Throughout the centuries and now there are those who entice people into harm so as to exploit them. They encourage alcoholism so as to gain profit on drink-sales – for their shareholders. They (and their shareholders) entice into gambling – encouraged by governments because of the taxation revenues. The LORD explained that misery will be inevitable because what they did to others will be done to them. Enticed into harm.

Reason (E) The final forecast of “woe” is to those who live entirely for and with the things they have made. The misery in store is that assets don’t speak, aren’t awake and cannot act. Misery because they can’t do, they aren’t alive. The LORD God has decreed that these will not save those who rely on them.


‘Without faith in the one living God - insecurity; without security - vulture-like accumulation of all that is not living.’ (Anon.)
Habakkuk then wrote the above abbreviated message (F) from the LORD God of our Lord Jesus Christ: “the Lord is in his holy temple”. And this recommendation: “let all the earth keep silence before him.”  He lives.
Sinner Syvret

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