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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Habakkuk's Violence

Today’s Verse:

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! ~Habakkuk 1:2


I believe that every person has a breaking point. This is when a situation becomes so unbearable that you let off the steam that has been building up inside of you. You might let it out through shouting, punching a bag, or taking a long walk. Habakkuk records for us a prayer that he prayed. In this prayer, he speaks of crying out to God in violence.

We see the hellish conditions.

“Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.” Habakkuk watched as sin and iniquity were abounding in Judah. He describes the conditions as spoiling, violence, strife, and contention. His society was in spiritual chaos with injustice, wrangling, division, stealing, and rampant rebellion. The law was slacked, and judgment did not go forth. There was apostasy, apathy, and anarchy. The prophet was grieved and filled with indignation because of how badly things had deteriorated. Paul describes it as evil men and seducers waxing worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

We see the heated complaining.

“O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!” Habakkuk is praying, but his prayer is one of complaining. In fact, he speaks of crying out to God of violence. Out of frustration, he is shouting out to God and complaining that God is doing nothing about the evil around him. Like Habakkuk, we can be so frustrated by the situation we are in that we complain and accuse God of doing nothing. We want God to solve things the way we want it done. Habakkuk's praying morphed into shouting and words of strong indignation. God places situations into our life to teach us to pray. Many times, He delays his working or appears silent to us to teach us wisdom, patience, and discernment. Has your praying been more complaining to God than trusting in God?

We see the holy communication.

“Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” God sends a message to Habakkuk and the people of Judah. In no uncertain terms, He describes the descent of the Babylonians into Jerusalem and Judah for judgment, destruction, and the captivity of the people. He describes the worldliness of His people ("ye among the heathen"), how they will behold in wonder, their unbelief, and how all this is God’s judgment because of their unrepentance for their sins. This is a strong message of rebuke and of coming retribution. God does answer us. God sometimes answers us according to our foolishness and being slow of heart. Be careful of accusing God of not giving attention to the situation.

We see the humbling correction.

Habakkuk responds by acknowledging God’s holiness. It is important that he realizes that God does see the sinful situation and that He responds according to His holiness. Habakkuk responds again in chapter three by acknowledging his fear of God’s judgment and praying for revival. Habakkuk is humbled after he receives a vision of God’s judgment against the people. Habakkuk is so absorbed with how he sees things that he comes to realize that his praying was about him and nothing more than complaining. God humbles him to the place where it corrects his praying. Humble praying is the need of the hour. We must humble our spiritual pride and know-it-all attitude. Until our utter dependence is upon God, we will be praying in futility. Make sure your praying is unto God, and not letting off your steam.

Have a humble God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Samuel 13-15

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