Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 1:12-2:4
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; You cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do You tolerate the treacherous? Why are You silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” (Habakkuk 1:13)
Habakkuk is questioning God’s answer to his questions — “How long, O Lord, must I call for help but You do not listen? Or cry out to You, ‘Violence,’ but You do not save?” (1:2) Habakkuk was struggling with the violence and evil that existed among the people of God. God gave His answer — “I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own” (1:6).
Habakkuk did not like God’s answer. He could not understand how God could allow people who seemed more wicked than the people of God to be used as agents of God’s justice. So Habakkuk entered into a dialog with God.
We will look more closely at Habakkuk’s words about God later. But let’s stick to the primary issue. Habakkuk faced a conundrum about God. It seemed that God was looking favorably on the wicked — “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; You cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do You tolerate the treacherous? Why are You silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” (1:13)
Let’s address Habakkuk’s complaint. Habakkuk thought the Israelites were more righteous than the Babylonians. The problem was one of comparative righteousness — finding others who seem more sinful or evil than we are. It is easy to identify others who seem to be doing worse things than we are doing. The problem is that the only true standard of true righteousness is God Himself. Thus, we are all unrighteous and guilty before God, and are therefore subject to God’s justice. Habakkuk will come to realize that the only way one can be fully righteous is through faith in our Savior — “But the righteous will live by his faith” (2:4).
Sometimes we will not understand God’s answers to our questions. Remember that His ways are higher than our ways — “‘For My thoughts are not Your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). We have to live by faith in the One who is sovereign over all. The bottom line is that we must trust God, even if we don’t like or understand what He is doing.
Lord God, I have faced things in my life that I did not like and that I did not understand. I realize that Your ways are higher than my ways. I know that You are sovereign and that You love me. Give me the faith to trust You no matter what I must face.
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