Habakkuk’s First Complaint: Where’s Justice?

Hab 1:2-4 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.

When I speak to atheist evolutionists, their greatest stated objection to accepting the possibility of an omniscient mind designing the universe and life is the problem of evil. One might think it would be a technical objection, like the difficulty of an invisible force with personality, but these people ignore technical objections all the time. Their main objection is philosophical. Habakkuk was obviously not an atheist or an evolutionist, but his question transcends such labels. The problem of evil flourishing and righteous suffering has plagued humanity since Cain slew Able. Like us, Habakkuk wanted to understand why God allows this. Habakkuk’s first question implies God is deaf or indifferent to suffering and evil. The second question implies God is torturing Habakkuk by allowing him to be so keenly aware of the evil around him. Habakkuk perceives the law and justice to be beaten by evil. At first one might think Habakkuk is blaming God for the condition of man. Many people do. But if you examine his questions closely you will see He recognizes God’s sovereignty and power over these problems. He wants to understand why God, in His sovereignty, allows justice to fail.

Do you believe God has allowed justice to fail in your own life?

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About Lance Ponder

Christian author of "Ask James one"; public speaker; husband and father. Available to speak on Creation and the Gospel.
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3 Responses to Habakkuk’s First Complaint: Where’s Justice?

  1. Todd Beal says:

    I have come very close to indulging that feeling. However, I’ve never much had an issue with it. Something in me naturally realizes that God is sovereign over all things. If injustice prevails, it is God’s will to allow it for the good of his ultimate plan.

    I see life events as the butterfly effect. We see only the isolated instances of cause and effect, but God the creator, seeing all things, sees how everything affects everything on every scale.

    It is only through my willingness to accept his will, through his provision of faith, that I find comfort. I know He has things well under control. It is my job to trust him to provide for me during those rough and sometimes terrible times. And he always has, without fail!

    Todd Beal

  2. Shannon says:

    I have definitely seen injustice win the day over justice. It brings out the expletives in me, and I can relate to Hab’s complaint. I’m currently reading “The Problem of Pain” to help me understand. Lewis’ explanations apply just as well to injustice as to pain.

  3. Courtney says:

    I found your site from a comment you left at 66 Books. Just wanted to drop a note to you–looking forward to a settling down w/ a cup of coffee and reading what you’ve posted here.

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