O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear?
The global pandemic, upheaval and turmoil in the nations, people suffering for their faith, religious persecution, violence against innocent people, unrighteousness, godlessness, injustice, and other wicked deeds remind me of the prayer of a man in the Bible named Habakkuk.
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.
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted Habakkuk 1:1-4 (NIV)
Habakkuk was a man who lived during the kingdoms of Judah and Israel around 600 BCE. He wrote his prophecies before the Babylon invasion. God used Habakkuk to warn the people of Judah (Jews) to repent and turned from their sinful ways.
Habakkuk grappled with God’s economy of justice. “He finds it inconceivable that God could use and evil pagan nation to judge His people. However, God uses a vision to convince Habakkuk that His ways are right” 
I felt the burden of Habakkuk to have justice in the midst of wickedness.
Habakkuk was not the only one in the Bible who had struggles with God’s justice. In the book of Psalms, the writer expressed his heart:
How long, Lord, will the wicked,
how long will the wicked be jubilant? They pour out arrogant words; all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush your people, Lord; they oppress your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the foreigner; they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.” Psalm 94:3-7
Then God replied to Habakkuk in Chapter 2:2-3
“Write the vision and make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”
Then God spoke to Habakkuk about sure judgments to the wicked:
“Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house…
Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establish a city by iniquity… Habakkuk 2:9-15
And other woes, and judgments…
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the water covers the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
“But the Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20
Then, Habakkuk responded to the Lord in Chapter 3: 2
O Lord, I have heard Your speech and was afraid;
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years!
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.
God assured Habakkuk that He would surely bring justice. Just as Habakkuk realized that justice needs to be tempered by mercy, I also need to pray for God’s mercy for those who are involved in wickedness, corruption, deceit, and unrighteousness – for God to have mercy on their souls. Surely God will bring justice to the wicked, but He is also merciful, waiting for them to repent.
Back in Psalm 94 it says,
Take notice, you senseless ones among the people;
you fools, when will you become wise? Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see? Does he who formed the eye not see? He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct? Psalm 94: 8-10
When Habakkuk heard the response of the Lord God, he was at peace trusting that God will do what He was supposed to do – to bring judgment and justice to the wicked.
“Though the fig tree may not blossom
Nor fruit be on the vines… Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:17-19
A couple of weeks ago, we experienced a severe thunderstorm in our area. There was lots of heavy rain, very loud thundering, and the fiercest lightning I have ever experienced in my life! I was trembling in fear and realized the awesome power of God. It reminded me of the experience of the people of Israel in the Old Testament when they received the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone.
“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Exodus 20:18
The sharp, loud thunder and fierce lightning were for me a demonstration of the awesome power of God! I felt as if God was saying, He is still sovereign and in control, and has the power to do whatever is right for Him to do. I felt like a worm, and was reminded that I am not the judge, and should not fret about the wickedness and injustice I see in the world. The Lord God in heaven has all the power and might to bring about justice and righteousness in His own way and in His right time.
Sovereign Lord God, You are awesome and powerful! We praise and thank You for Your mercy and grace. Help us wait upon your right timing to bring your righteousness and justice in the earth.
(1)Habakkuk; The Complete Jewish Study Bible,
(2)Scripture verses taken from Bible Gateway