O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Habakkuk 1:2
Have you ever wondered why things are happening the way they are? This is a question that I am asked often. Why is this happening? The language of lament allows for that question to be asked. But it also recognizes that it may not get an answer. Would you please read and/or listen to Jeremiah 22:13-19; 23:9-11; 26:20-23; 36:1-32? Jeremiah was a prophet at the same time as Habakkuk. These verses in Jeremiah give a glimpse into the wickedness done by Jehoiakim, the king. This was the evil that Habakkuk was lamenting as well. 2 Kings 23:36-37 reveals that Jehoiakim was a king for eleven years and did great evil in the sight of the Lord. It is very possible that Habakkuk grew up during the reign of Josiah. Josiah was a good king who led the people to worship God and turn away from the idols that Manasseh had led them to worship (2 Kings 21:1–23:30). If so, he would have seen the difference between living in the beauty of the worship of God and the pain and chaos of worshiping other gods. It causes him to ask God, “Why?” Why does there need to be this type of corruption among the people who have been chosen by God? The people of Judah are God’s people, chosen to live for him, but they are choosing to reject him. The result is evil. Habakkuk wonders why he needs to see this. This should cause us to pause and pray. In our setting, we are to be the ones who are following Christ with reckless abandon. We are to be living holy lives, worshiping him alone, and turning from false gods. We should lament when we see the places this is not happening among believers.