“O Lord, How Long Shall I Cry, and Thou Wilt Not Hear”?

Habakkuk 1:2–4

2 O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
3 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.
4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.

Dr. Ellis T. Rasmussen wrote:

“Habakkuk’s miseries likely arose in the days of Judah’s degeneration, after the time of Assyria’s conquest of northern Israel, and before the time when Babylonia came to carry the remaining tribe, Judah, away into captivity. The religious reforms of Hezekiah in his century, and those of Josiah a hundred years later (about 620 B.C.) had put the just and the right at the helm in Judah for a time. But as always, resurgent corruption in politics, in morals, and in religion swiftly reappeared when the champions of right were gone.

“Religious compromises, induced by the desires of the liberal and the libertine, ever seeking to soften the restrictions and responsibilities of Israel’s covenant faith brought derision and persecution upon the ‘pious’ and the ‘faithful.’ Under these conditions Jeremiah suffered, and it is likely that this was also the setting of Habakkuk’s ministry.

“Thus it is that he cries out against the iniquity, grievance, spoiling, violence, strife, and contention on every side, for the processes of justice and execution of the law seem endlessly delayed when the righteous are encompassed about by the wicked.”

(“Habakkuk, a Prophet with a Problem,” Instructor, Sept. 1962, insert between pages 306–7.)

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