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Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 06 July 2017

A PROPHET TROUBLED BY VIOLENCE AND DESTRUCTION

By Jim Jordal

  The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O Jehovah, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear? I cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save. Why dost thou show me iniquity, and look upon perverseness? for destruction and violence are before me; and there is strife, and contention riseth up. Therefore the law is slacked, and justice doth never go forth; for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore justice goeth forth perverted.                                                                Habakkuk 1:1-4 ASV

Habakkuk prophesied to Judah during the reign of good king Josiah on the eve of the Babylonian invasion and dispersion of Israel in perhaps 625 BCE. This would be approximately 100 years after the Assyrian invasion and deportation of the Northern kingdom of Israel. His nation was in chaos and delusion as he charges them with “slacking” the law, perverting justice, and overcoming the righteous. So Habakkuk wonders why God does not hear his complaints concerning the absence of justice and the disintegration of law and decency pervading the nation.

God’s answer was to pronounce the coming invasion of Judah by the terrible, fearsome hordes of Chaldea (Babylon). Verses 8 through 11 of the first chapter announce God’s plan to “work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” The Chaldeans are described as “terrible and dreadful,” “their horses are swifter than leopards,” “more fierce than the evening wolves,” and that “they shall scoff at kings.

This seemingly impossible situation for Israel brings forth a truth that many Christians shy away from; that there is a definite connection between national sin by God’s people and national punishment. Almost the entire chapter of Deuteronomy 28 details the truth that in response to the national sins of Israel, God punished the nation with crop failures and famine, pestilence, defeat in war, natural disaster, and captivity by their enemies.

National sin differs from personal sin in that it is not the accumulation of millions of individual sin by the people, but the egregious, arrogant sins of leaders who create national policies and laws dismissive of God’s will for the nation. Scripture speaks of leaders who “decree unrighteous decrees, that they may…turn aside the needy from judgment, and take away the right of the poor…that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless” (Isa. 10:1-2).

Does this sound a bit like our nation today? Chaos and delusion reign supreme as politicians attack one another over trivia while the public remains caught in a hopeless vortex of lies, innuendo, alternative truths, and evasion of the real issues. The real issue today is that, notwithstanding the blustering and deceit of national leaders, the poor are still poor, widows still lose their homes to foreclosure, the earth is still violated with impunity, and laws are still passed denying justice to the vulnerable people and families of the nation.

This sort of sin especially angers God because of its supreme arrogance, unlimited greed, and trivialization of the major values of Scripture and our nation’s founding principles. This nation does not exist to fatten the wealth of a few at the expense of the many, to continuously rape the earth, and to sadly ignore, often in our places of worship, the basic foundations and intents of the Christian faith.

It’s time we took prophesies like Habakkuk’s seriously, when he says “the law is slacked,” “the wicked compass the righteous,” and “wrong judgment proceeds.” That, folks, is happening every day in this country, and we are paying a very high price for our grievous sin in ignoring and minimizing the clear words of God. Not only our national treasure, but the blood of our people is being shed in violence, war, addictions, untimely death, and the host of other things resulting from our national sin.

It feels to me that it’s time to stop pandering to evil. We need to learn to advocate powerfully and continuously against the existing situation and those perpetuating it for profit and power.