Habakkuk, Righteous Anger?

In our study, we look at the complaints that the prophet brings to God and look at the reasons for them. We may be quick to judge and say that there is no such thing as righteous anger but we will look deeper into God's Word for the answer to this and other questions.

Habakkuk whose name means "love's embrace" was a prophet to the people of Judah. An embracer is one who takes another in his arms and comforts them much as you would a weeping child. Anyone who has raised children will tell you that, at a certain age, they start to ask the question "Why?" about everything. As adults, we also want the answer to that question and that is what the prophet is doing throughout this book of the Bible. This book was written after the last "good" king of Judah when men were turning away from God.

Habakkuk 1:1

"The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received." NIV translation

The word "oracle" actually means burden and we shall see the burden that he carried as we proceed through this chapter.

Habakkuk 1:2

"How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, 'Violence!' but you do not save?" NIV translation

You can almost feel the anguish as the prophet pours out his heart to God. He is simply asking the question: "Why don't you answer my prayers?" We have all probably either wanted to ask that same question or have asked it.

Habakkuk 1:3

"Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds." NIV translation

The prophet continues by simply asking God why He allows the evil of the world to continue and even to seem like evil is winning. This is an age old question as even King David struggled with this issue (see Psalm 73:2). Today, it seems like it is even worse as the ungodly seem to have all of the wealth and power of this world. Have you cried out like the prophet for answers? This is the righteous anger that he is dealing with in that he is not concerned about his personal wealth or power but the prophet is concerned about the reputation and name of God. Many ask the question "Why do I need God when I have all of this?" and that is what is concerning him.