How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. – Habakkuk 1:2-3
The prophet Habakkuk is writing during a difficult time in Judah’s history. The northern nation of Israel had been conquered by Assyria because of their wickedness and now the southern nation of Judah was about to face the same fate from the Babylonians. Habakkuk looks around at Judah and sees the violence, trouble, injustice, and sin and wonders why God doesn’t do anything about it. Habakkuk wonders if God even hears him. He wonders why God is allowing these things to happen.
Watching the news on any given night can often lead one to ask the same questions that Habakkuk is asking. We see the evil in the Manchester bombing, the Kabul bombing, and the attack in Egypt. Within these three events 141 lives were lost, many more injured. One problem people bring up when questioning if there is a God is, “If there is a God why doesn’t He stop all these type of events. Why not just get rid of evil?” This is a question that requires much more time and space than this short devotion.
One thing to remember is that evil does not come from God. Sin has tainted this world. Another aspect to understand is that God is still keeping the door open for more to find salvation. There is an answer that comes in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We know that there is ultimate victory in Jesus Christ. These ideas only begin to scratch the surface for the deeper discussion on this topic, but what we learn from Habakkuk is that it’s ok to question God. God does not get upset with the questions Habakkuk is asking. God will use our questions to strengthen our faith.
God does answer in the remaining verses of chapter one. God tells Habakkuk that the nation of Babylon is going to come in and punish Judah for their actions. In the same way, we understand that in the end God will punish all the evil that we see in the world and it will be no more. But until then, God calls us to preach the Word and give comfort to those who are hurting. It’s not wrong to question God, but through the questioning, God wants us to become closer to Him.