Hi reader, thank you for clicking on this article. As a charity, it is due to the donation from individuals that allow us to share this article with you for free! However the truth is, less than 1% of our readers donate and in order for us to keep on going, we need your help. If you donate just £2 a month, you can help Our God Given mission keep thriving. To donate, click here.
Whether it is racism, gender inequality, government corruption or sexual scandals, injustice seems to be rampant. Disillusionment arises when we read the Bible, see God’s nature and His position on justice, and compare it with the current state of the world. ‘Where is God?’ has been the question asked since time immemorial, by many including God’s very own prophet Habakkuk. How can a just God allow evil to run rampant in the world?
A Right Response
There are many ways to respond to injustice, some are good and others are bad. However, there is one way that isn’t often spoken about enough – lamenting. To lament is to express deep sorrow or regret. Lamenting is a common theme in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament. Over one-third of the psalms are laments. The people of God lament over injustice because they know their God is perfect, holy and just, yet they and the world are not. The world has been marred with sin and injustice often reigns. Lamenting is the song of the soul that wonders why God is taking so long to make things right. This is what Habakkuk wonders when he cries;
“How long, LORD, must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence and you do not save?”Habakkuk 1:2
During his time, Judah was a morally corrupt and violent people, and God seemed to allow them to thrive in their evil ways. Habakkuk is confused. Doesn’t God care? Can He not see? Here is God’s response ;
“Look at the nations and observe — be utterly astounded! For I am doing something in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.”Habakkuk 1:5
God does care and He does see. Habakkuk was unaware that God was going to use another wicked nation (the Chaldeans) to punish Judah. God said that if He told Habakkuk he wouldn’t believe it, and Habakkuk couldn’t. God is using evil for good? How can that be so?
God’s Ways Aren’t Ours
Trusting God can be difficult. It becomes increasingly more difficult when His ways are beyond what we can understand. This is why it is important to know who God is because it will be an anchor when you can’t or don’t understand what God may be doing at a particular moment. Lamenting stems from an intrinsically God-centred perspective. Lamenting begins because we know God’s character. How can you express deep sorrow over injustice if you don’t first know that God is just? By knowing God’s character we can trust God’s heart even if we cannot understand His methods. This is what Habakkuk had to learn and what we as followers of Jesus have to learn also.
“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do you tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are you silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself?”Habakkuk 1:13
Habakkuk was having a hard time comprehending God’s actions like we sometimes do. But before Habakkuk learnt this lesson of trust, God had to show Him that His ways are superior to what Habakkuk can understand. Habakkuk can’t fathom how God is allowing sin to go unpunished as well as allowing a more wicked nation to punish a less wicked nation. God’s way seems to be in conflict with God’s character. Here is how God responds ;
“The LORD answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.”Habakkuk 2:2-3
God tells Habakkuk to write the vision so that when His word comes to pass there will be evidence for not only Habakkuk to see but future generations too. God promises to punish all evil, every sin will be punished. Habakkuk and by application us as Christians are being taught that God being patient does not mean God is being inactive. God makes all things beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
The Just Shall Live By Faith
While knowing God’s character helps us to understand the way He does things, the question that remains is – will we trust Him? While lamenting may begin with despair, it never remains there. God moves us from despair to hope. This doesn’t mean that the situation improves immediately, it didn’t for Habakkuk and it might not for you, but it does mean is that even through tear-filled eyes; you can see God more clearly. In seeing God more clearly, you realise that trusting in yourself is futile. The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4). What this means is those who believe God for their righteousness also believe in the God who says He will make all things right. God is not a man that He should lie, if He said it, it will come to pass no matter how long it takes (Numbers 23:19, 2 Peter 3:9).
Habakkuk understands this towards the end of his lament in chapter 3;
“Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord GOD is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet and makes me walk on my high places.Habakkuk 3:17-19
Though wickedness may abound, God promises to conquer all His enemies (Isaiah 42:13). And God has conquered His enemies through His Son Jesus (Colossians 2:15). Injustice won’t win, Jesus has and will. By faith, we can join in with Habakkuk in exulting the God of our salvation.