Habakkuk 1:12-2:1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 25, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die. You, Lord, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy? I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” (Habakkuk 1:12-2:1)

The book of Habakkuk started out with the prophet Habakkuk complaining to God about all the evil and lawlessness that were happening with the people Judah. Then, we saw God’s response to that, which was to tell them that judgment was coming by way of a Babylonian takeover. Now, we’re back to Habakkuk lamenting to God again.

This lament of Habakkuk’s connects with his first one in a few ways. He uses God’s name (verse 2 and verse 12), he urgently addresses questions to God (verse 3 and verse 17), and he implores God that the injustice needs to be resolved (verse 4 and verse 13).

This lament is written in poetic form, so there is a lot of parallelism going on in this passage. There are many forms of literary parallelism, but the most common one here is called synonymous parallelism. That is when the writer says one thing, and then he says the same idea again using different words. A good example of this is in verse 15 where he writes, “The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet.” See how Habakkuk said essentially the same thing three times in a row? That’s synonymous parallelism.

But back to the story at hand. We see that Habakkuk starts out his lament by showing his faith and trust in God. He sees that there is a huge discrepancy between what God seems willing to tolerate and what is actually going on with the people of Judah. God’s character says that He can’t tolerate wrongdoing, but yet His people are full of injustice, violence, and lawlessness. And if what God said previously about judgment coming is true, then that will just bring more injustice and violence into their land. How can God keep allowing this violence to occur?

Habakkuk finishes his complaint by saying that he’ll be watching and waiting for God’s answer. Even though it appears that God has been silent for a while in correcting the people’s wrongdoings, Habakkuk fully expects God to answer and fix the situation.

How are you doing at that in your own life? When you cry out to God, do you expect an answer? And if you do, are you watching and waiting expectantly for that answer? In 1 John 5:14-15, John writes, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” We, too, should approach God with what is wrong in our world, and wait expectantly for His answer. The answer may or may not be what we were hoping for, since God is God and we are not, but we should be confident in knowing that God does hear our prayers and He does always answer them.

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