“And the Lord answered me: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.’” (Habakkuk 2:1-4)
The prophet Habakkuk lived in a time of violent political and social upheaval. The temple had been pillaged. God’s sanctuary had been violated. The Jews had fallen into idolatry. The King of Judah, Zedekiah was unjust, unmerciful, corrupt and indecisive. He allowed immorality, bribery and injustice to pervade the government and the religious system so that once again the righteous were again oppressed as the wicked prospered. The violent and brutal kingdom of Babylon was about to devastate Jerusalem and Judah and send her people into exile. How could the Lord allow such things to happen?
In light of the events of the past few months coupled with the government sanctioning of gross immorality, the devastation and loss caused by natural disasters, crime and acts terrorism there are probably many people asking the same question: How could God allow such things to happen? Why doesn’t the Lord act to put an end to all the violence? Why doesn’t He do away with all the corruption, immorality, dishonesty and cheating that characterizes our political leaders? Why does the Lord allow evil-doers to profit from their irresponsible and sinful actions? Why does the Lord allow the righteous to suffer because of the sins of the wicked?
Habakkuk does not get answers as to why, but what he does learn, he tells us: the righteous live by faith. By faith we trust the Lord and do not worry about what will happen to the wicked. Those who do not trust will fall into sin. They will embrace wickedness. They will give in to greed and fear and look out only for self. They will grab all the riches and pleasure they can while they can. They will forget the effects their actions have on their relationship with God or their eternal state.
But the righteous will live by faith. Faith will enable us to know that God has not forgotten us even in our darkest hours. He will eventually deliver and bless and reward we who persevere. They will remain in right relationship with Yahweh if they will live by trusting in His promises. The righteous will for a certainty that God will grant them peace, salvation and justice.