Wickedness And Violence Seem to Go Unchecked

I read a story once about a woman who was dying in a hospital bed. Her two daughters were by her side. All day one of the daughters had been praying vigorously and passionately. But when the family’s pastor came to the hospital room, one of the daughters whispered to him, … More


Habakkuk may have felt much like the lady in this illustration did. He was frustrated as wickedness and violence seemed to go unchecked (v. 1).  He went to God to complain about his troubles and the troubles of his people. He described the injustice that was rampant around him and then asked, “How long?” (v. 2) and “Why?” (v. 3). Habakkuk’s concern was not only that his cries went unheeded but that the corruption continued unchecked. The picture was bleak but the greatest tragedy, however, was the people’s neglect of God’s law (v. 4).

In verses 5-11 God answers Habakkuk’s complaint. Both the prophet and the people suffered from myopia as they were too nearsighted. They were occupied only with Judah, but God is occupied with the world. Far from being disinterested in the events Habakkuk describes, God is at work on a universal scale. He was raising up the Babylonians, also known as the Chaldeans, to bring punishment to Judah for the very sins that Habakkuk has been talking about (vv. 5-6).

The Babylonians lived in southern Mesopotamia which in today’s world, is modern Iraq.

  • Their status (v. 7) - This terrible and dreadful people were a law unto themselves.
  • Their speed (v. 8) - They were swifter than leopards and vultures swooping to devour.
  • Their success (v. 9) - There was no hope of stopping them as “their hordes advance like a dessert wind.”
  • Their scoffing (v. 10) - Confident in their strength, they scoffed at kings and laughed at all the fortified cities.
  • Their sacrilege (v. 11) - They considered their own strength as their god.


When my circumstances may seem unbearable, I must not become frustrated but remember that God has His plan and that He is in control.

Habakkuk 1:1-11 (English Standard Version)

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