“If there is to be civilization, if people are to live and make their homes here, there must be law. People often think of the law as restrictions, but it needn't be, unless it's carried to extremes. Laws can give us freedom, because they offer security from the cruel, the brutal, and the thieves of property. In every community—even in the wildest gangs and bands of outlaws—there is some kind of law, if only the fear of the leader. There has to be law, or there can be no growth, no security.”
--Louis L'Amour (Over on the Dry Side)
“Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God."
--Habakkuk 2:4 (NLT)
I'm sick of it! How long can God hold back His judgment? How long can He allow evil to run rampant in our streets? How long...? Perhaps you have had some of these thoughts. We live in troublesome times filled with terror, evil, and wickedness. If it's not a virus, then it's a storm, or a riot, or some individual used by the media to spew hatred. However...let me take you to the Prophet Habakkuk.
"O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, 'Violence!' and You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds."
--Habakkuk 1:2-4 (NKJV)
Doesn't that sound like the country we are currently living in? Some things never change or are we living in worse times than the Prophet? There are definitely more people involved, and we have that monster we have created--the media--to urge matters on. Instead of broadcasting the news they are deeply involved; they are the bellows that fan the flame.
I don't think that Habakkuk was really counting on a response from God; at least not the one he expected. Look at God's reply:
"Look among the nations and watch--be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation..."
--Habakkuk 1:5-6 (NKJV)
God is serious. And one thing more important than a nation (including the United States) is the soul of a man. Now we cannot put the U.S. in the place of Israel, there is more to it than that, but evil and wickedness do not escape His attention--judgment must come. But look at how God is judging in Habakkuk. He is going to send a conquering nation. When the Chaldeans came they took people into captivity, they destroyed the temple, the righteous suffered along with the doers of evil and iniquity. To be conquered in ancient times meant depravity and destruction.
However, the Prophet is not through, he continues,
"You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?"
--Habakkuk 1:13 (NKJV)
Habakkuk continues on with more in chapter one and says he will wait for an answer, which God gives. Look at what the Lord says:
"Woe to him who increases what is not his..." (2:6) God continues to say because these people have plundered they shall be plundered.
"Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house..." (2:9).
"Woe to him who builds a tow with bloodshed, who established a city by iniquity." (2:12).
"Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle..." (2:15).
"Woe to him who says to wood, 'Awake!...'" (2:19).
When God speaks, "Woe", watch out! God allows the cup to be full then He brings judgment. Only He know when that is, but He waits and is patient. He is patient with us in our sins and unfaithfulness not to bring judgment, but He is also patient until the right time to pour out His wrath.
If there is not repentance and if there is judgment upon this nation the most important question is, what will you do? Will you cry, "not fair!" or will you wring your hands in worry crying that you cannot handle the stress? Will you abandon your faith or cry out for the rocks to fall upon you? Or will you be like the Prophet who finishes his little books with some of the most powerful words of the Old Testament? When trouble comes, when evil strikes how will you respond?
"Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls--Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills."
--Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NKJV)