How Long! – Part 3

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!

— Habakkuk 1:2

We continue looking today at Habakkuk’s earthly perspective in his prayer to God. He does get answered, but he also gets corrected. Habakkuk first complains of God’s seeming silence in answering his call for help. It seems as though this isn’t the first time Habakkuk makes this complaint. He cries out from a broken heart, “O LORD, how long!” He doesn’t yet realize how much God truly does care.

The next complaint of Habakkuk is deals with God’s seeming indifference.

God’s Seeming Indifference

“Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!”

It’s as though Habakkuk is accusing God of His indifference toward the sinful state of Judah. We saw in the first part of verse 2 how Habakkuk “cried” concerning God’s seeming silence. The word used there was a word which implies a call for help. However, when complaining of God’s seeming indifference, the Hebrew word translated “cry” is a far more intense call for help and can even be viewed as a battle cry. What is he crying out for? Violence. The Hebrew word translated “violence” is “hamas.” Sound familiar at all? Hamas is a militant Islamic Palestinian nationalist movement – terrorists in Israel. Hamas is supposedly an acronym for an Arabic phrase meaning Islamic Resistance Movement. According to the organization, Hamas interprets its name to mean “strength and bravery.” Is it just coincidence that the name means violence in Hebrew? I don’t believe so. Every Jew living in Israel knows “Hamas” stands for brutal, vicious violence. The purpose of Hamas was NOT to regain land in Israel. The purpose was to violently oppose Israel.

In Habakkuk’s day, Judah had become a land of violence. It’s a shame that this was the state of a land which had so recently experienced revival during the reign of Josiah! There were murders, robberies, injustice, and brutal violence. Jeremiah prophesied during the same time Habakkuk. He mentions how the people aborted their children in sacrifice to idols (Jeremiah 32:35). How can Habakkuk really think God is indifferent toward the violent state of Judah?

He cries out to God, “and thou wilt not save!” What kind of salvation is Habakkuk is talking about? Based on the context of verses 1-4, I believe Habakkuk was only looking at the current state of Judah, hoping the society HE was living in would change externally. He was hoping the murders would stop and the robbing would cease. This is, of course, an acceptable desire to have. However, even if all the violence was stopped, men would still need to be saved from their SIN. Habakkuk’s time and place he lived in was not too much different than ours. There is much violence in the world today. We can indeed pray for peace. We can pray that the abortions, robbing, drug trafficking, child abuse, and murders would all cease. But even if all that could somehow be stopped, “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). As horrible as all that violence is, stopping it would just be the band-aid for the problem. Yes, we desire God to save our country from violence, but it’s far more important to desire the salvation from sin! THIS is the right perspective. Many Born-Again Believers desire revival for America just so that this life would be better for THEM. The REALITY is that we need to see souls SAVED! We need a real, SPIRITUAL AWAKENING! God IS NOT indifferent toward sin! He HATES it. But He LOVES the world. He will judge it in HIS time, but He desires all to come to Him. He is “not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance” (1 Peter 3:9).

I wonder how many would still desire revival if it meant this earthly life would be worse for them. What if revival meant our country’s downfall? What if revival meant persecution? What if revival meant death?

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