Unfair?! An Introduction to Habakkuk

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


Habakkuk is an unusual book of prophesy. Instead of recording Habakkuk prophesying to people, it records a conversation between God and himself. If you could ask God one question, what would it be? 

I was doing street evangelism once, and passers-by were asked what they would ask God if they could ask Him anything. One witty man shouted, 'what are tomorrow's winning lottery numbers?!’ Many people are rather more reflective, like Habbakuk, and want to know why there is suffering and injustice in the world. 

Too often as Christians, I think we assume the question of suffering is thrown out by comfortable people trying to catch us out, even though none of us are immune to it. As Christians, have we become complacent as to the need for answers to suffering and injustice? 

Habakkuk wasn't indifferent to the suffering he observed, so if you care about social justice, you're in good company. Be aware of your own tendency to be too comfortable to care about the violence 'out there', when 'around here' all is well. Cocooning yourself from injustice, fencing yourself off from it, is not being the good neighbour that God demands of us. 

God's response to violence in Habbakuk's society? He was going to give them a bitter taste of their own medicine. The Babylonians were going to violently and destructively sweep in to be God’s tool of punishment to destroy Judah. 

Just think how uncomfortable Habakkuk must have felt with God's response. He may have felt like Polish people must have felt in WWII, caught between the rock and the hard place of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Neither scenario would be comfortable! 

'God, You shake us out of our apathetic complacency. Please stir our hearts about injustice, to cry out to You to help us know what You would have us do about it, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.' 

Can you appreciate Habakkuk's discomfort at God's reply?