10 Oct Learning to Lament on That Day Part 2: A Study in Habakkuk
Sometimes, the most frustrated people are also the godliest. Anyone paying attention to how fallen our world really is has wondered how to persevere in hard times. Trusting in God’s character, Habakkuk has hope for the future. He begins the book bearing his name with a bit of a rant, saying in 1:2–4 (ESV),
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.
Why is Habakkuk so upset? Because he is a godly person who knows the character of God and Kingdom of God. Subsequently, all of the sin and suffering that he sees in the world enrages him. Evil marches over good while brutal bullies are laughing and their victims are languishing. To make matters worse, the cultural corruption has overtaken the government, court system, and lawmen who were supposed to serve as the dike holding back the flood of evil.
When you start to really understand the Bible and what the world is supposed to be like once sin is gone and our King Jesus has come, then you start to see how bad the world truly is. In the coming Kingdom, sin, evil, sickness, death, conflict, hatred, injustice, poverty, war, elections, crime, lying, stealing, cheating, and weeping are banished. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Just knowing that this Kingdom is coming and will be ruled by our King Jesus makes us ache for the day it shows up and He shows off.
Meanwhile, time marches on, but only in a circle. Times have changed, but people have not. Habakkuk expresses fury and frustration over the exact same things that cause people to post nasty comments online and cuss one another out today. Habakkuk’s two questions are the same ones we are asking more than 2,500 years later.
How long? How long will God watch the world devolve from people made to act like Him to people who act like animals? When do we get to quit our jobs, put on our party hats, and blow our kazoos because Jesus came back? This question is asked dozens of times throughout the Bible, most often in Psalms when those in great suffering cry out to God asking when they get to be Home.
Why? Why does a good and all-powerful God put up with so much rebellion? Why does God not fix the things that only He can fix when we are at the end of our resources and rope? Why do godly grandmas die in poverty of cancer while drug dealers, naughty movie makers, and immoral celebrities live long lives in big mansions to be worshiped like gods?
Habakkuk’s righteous anger is ultimately a result of his knowledge of how God made the world conflicting with what he sees around him.
What are you most looking forward to in Jesus’ Kingdom? What are you must frustrated by on the earth right now?