Anytime you turn on talk radio, the same thing happens call after call and day after day. People call in, vent their frustration with everything from politics to economics, and rant about how unjust the world is since the bad guys are winning while the good guys are weeping. How amazing would it be if God actually sat in as a guest host to take calls and answer questions? What would He say? How would He respond? In the ancient book of Habakkuk, this scenario essentially happens. A man named Habakkuk unleashes all of his venting, ranting, and complaining to God about crooked politicians, greedy business leaders, and nasty celebrities. And, shockingly, God takes his call and enters into a brutally honest conversation.
I grew up in a car family that spent many weekends in the pits watching stock car races. My older brother even raced in the quarter mile. If you’ve spent any time in a race car, you understand the force that launches you back in your seat as the car explodes from a stationary position. Habakkuk’s introduction is like that. Some books of the Bible start with a warm introduction and heartfelt prayer. Instead, the frustrated author unleashes all of his ranting to God right from the start. Immediately, we, in the passenger seat, are thrown back and need to hold on for the high-octane ride that is before us.
Here’s how Habakkuk begins 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.
Habakkuk was frustrated that the bad guys were winning while the “good” guys were weeping. The honest to God book that he penned recounts God’s answers to his questions about why things were so bad and how long God would let the world circle the drain before getting involved. In this first devotional in Habakkuk, we examine what it really means to live by faith – especially when you are frustrated with a world that is falling apart.
When will be a good time to sit down and read Habakkuk in one sitting this week?