“Why do the wicked prosper? When will God ever address the violence and injustice that we see all around us? Is God even listening to our cries for help?”
These are the questions that perplexed the prophet Habakkuk. As one who prophesied during the last troubled years of kingdom of Judah, Habakkuk wanted answers for why God allowed wickedness to continue. God’s answer: “I will raise up the Babylonians to chasten this nation.” But although God replied to Habakkuk’s complaint, his response led only to more questions: “Why would God use the wicked Babylonians as a chastening rod? How does this fit with God’s holiness?” In midst of such questions, God’s word to Habakkuk is, “the just shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4).
Habakkuk wrestled with important questions—questions that we still face today. “Why, O God, is this happening? How long until God will take action? Why would God choose this way?” Studying the book of Habakkuk gives us an opportunity to listen in on a dialogue between the perplexed prophet and Holy God of Heaven. The prophet gives expression to our own doubts and fears. And God himself gives us the guidance we need, so that in the end we can say with the prophet Habakkuk: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3:17-18).