The world we live in is in chaos. Besides the threat of terrorism and wars worldwide, there is the daily activity of crime and violence in our own streets here in this country. Drug & alcohol abuse, murder, rape, thefts, assaults— all of these and other serious crimes are occurring by the hour in our nation. There is widespread corruption at practically every level of government, as well as in our judicial system. Federal agencies that were designed to protect us have shown themselves untrustworthy due to political interests.
We’ve allowed the 10 Commandments and prayer to be taken out of our schools, as well as all of our public lives. It has become politically incorrect to profess our faith in Jesus Christ. The words “In God We Trust” have become a meaningless slogan stamped on our currency. Our justice system seems to produce anything but justice as victims continue to be victimized, and criminals are made to be heroes. Our entire nation seems to be dwindling into total anarchy.
As we see all of this happening before our very eyes, I can’t help but ask the same question the prophet Habakkuk asked the Lord: “How long?” “How long are You going to allow all of this corruption / violence / state of lawlessness to take place?” “How long will You allow it to continue before You intervene?”
Now if you are honest you will admit you have asked God those same questions. It’s ok. It doesn’t make you any “less spiritual” to ask such questions. Many others in Scripture have asked the same things (cf Psalm 13:1-2; Jeremiah 12:1). So, it’s not unusual for us to have such thoughts.
But what are we, as God’s people, supposed to do? What are we supposed to think? With all of this going on in the world today, how are we supposed to respond as Christians? First of all we need to be sure we are responding Biblically; that is, with the mind of Christ in the midst of such chaos.
Habakkuk prophesied during Judah’s final days (ca 612-605 B.C.). In spite of the fact that King Josiah had led a spiritual reformation among the people, he had died (609 B.C.) and Jehoiakim was then reigning as Judah’s king. He was very wicked and, much like some of our leaders today, had no concern over spiritual matters. Thus the moral condition among the nation had plummeted to rock bottom. They were once again engaging in all sorts of violence and injustice. In a nutshell they were spiritually and morally bankrupt.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of all was that the people neglected God’s Law (cf 1:4). And as a result, the wicked seemed to prevail over the righteous, and justice did not exist. In fact, not only did justice not exist, but injustice (or “perverse judgment”) was the result. And that is always the case in a society where moral corruption has taken place. Whenever there is flagrant disrespect for God and His law, the result will always be chaos and anarchy throughout the land. And I believe that is exactly where we are today in America!
After pleading with God, Habakkuk is reminded by God that His judgment is certain and it will come in His timing (read chapter 2). This should remind us that no matter how bad it gets in the world or in our personal lives— Jesus is coming back to set things right! We live today in the day of grace. But, I want you to know that a day of judgment is coming. A day when sin will not run rampant. It will be a day of reckoning like never before.
So, I want to encourage Christians everywhere: Don’t despair! Don’t give up! Even though it looks like the wicked are prevailing / winning / prospering— Don’t quit! Jesus is coming back and will reign in perfect righteousness! And it will come to pass in His timing.
In 3:17 Habakkuk outlines the worst possible consequences of the corruption and chaos he saw around him. He talks about the utter destruction of everything the people needed to survive. Yet, he says that even if it came to all of that— even if they lost everything, he says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (3:18).
How are we to respond to the violence / chaos in the world today? How can we keep the proper perspective? By having the same mindset Habakkuk and so many others had in their times of despair. We must remember the Sovereign Almighty God that we worship and serve. As Job said after his devastating experience, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
Can you say you exercise that kind of faith in God? If God stripped away everything you have could you still say you would trust Him? Or better yet, if He stripped everything from you could you say, as Habakkuk did, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation”?
In short, the thing that gave Habakkuk his joy was knowing that (1) God was in control, and that (2) He always keeps His word. And brothers & sisters I want you to know today that Jesus is still in control— He still keeps His word. He said that He’s coming back. So, no matter what is happening in our nation and the world today, we can rejoice and find our joy in the Lord just as Habakkuk did! To live with such faith gives evidence that we are growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
By His Grace,