The Message

Habakkuk 1

Justice Is a Joke

11-4 The problem as God gave Habakkuk to see it:

God, how long do I have to cry out for help
    before you listen?
How many times do I have to yell, “Help! Murder! Police!”
    before you come to the rescue?
Why do you force me to look at evil,
    stare trouble in the face day after day?
Anarchy and violence break out,
    quarrels and fights all over the place.
Law and order fall to pieces.
    Justice is a joke.
The wicked have the righteous hamstrung
    and stand justice on its head.

God Says, “Look!”

5-11 “Look around at the godless nations.
    Look long and hard. Brace yourself for a shock.
Something’s about to take place
    and you’re going to find it hard to believe.
I’m about to raise up Babylonians to punish you,
    Babylonians, fierce and ferocious—
World-conquering Babylon,
    grabbing up nations right and left,
A dreadful and terrible people,
    making up its own rules as it goes.
Their horses run like the wind,
    attack like bloodthirsty wolves.
A stampede of galloping horses
    thunders out of nowhere.
They descend like vultures
    circling in on carrion.
They’re out to kill. Death is on their minds.
    They collect victims like squirrels gathering nuts.
They mock kings,
    poke fun at generals,
Spit on forts,
    and leave them in the dust.
They’ll all be blown away by the wind.
    Brazen in sin, they call strength their god.”

Why Is God Silent Now?

12-13 God, you’re from eternity, aren’t you?
    Holy God, we aren’t going to die, are we?
God, you chose Babylonians for your judgment work?
    Rock-Solid God, you gave them the job of discipline?
But you can’t be serious!
    You can’t condone evil!
So why don’t you do something about this?
    Why are you silent now?
This outrage! Evil men swallow up the righteous
    and you stand around and watch!

14-16 You’re treating men and women
    as so many fish in the ocean,
Swimming without direction,
    swimming but not getting anywhere.
Then this evil Babylonian arrives and goes fishing.
    He pulls in a good catch.
He catches his limit and fills his creel—
    a good day of fishing! He’s happy!
He praises his rod and reel,
    piles his fishing gear on an altar and worships it!
It’s made his day,
    and he’s going to eat well tonight!

17 Are you going to let this go on and on?
    Will you let this Babylonian fisherman
Fish like a weekend angler,
    killing people as if they’re nothing but fish?

King James Version

Habakkuk 1

1The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.

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

Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.

Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their's.

They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.

Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.

They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.

10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.

11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.

12 Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.

13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?

14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?

15 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.

16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.

17 Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?