Have you ever wondered why God allows evil to run free in this world? Habakkuk the prophet did and asked God why. God told Habakkuk that justice will play out on the world stage when it is the right time and the right place. He told Habakkuk to be patient and to watch and to write down what he saw and the prophet did so. When you finish reading what Habakkuk wrote you will think it sounds very familiar, kind of like what is going on today. Take a look.
Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness —indeed, wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest. Because he is as greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples. “Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying, “ ‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! How long must this go on?’ Will not your creditors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their prey. Because you have plundered many nations, the peoples who are left will plunder you. For you have shed human blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.
“Woe to him who builds his house by unjust gain, setting his nest on high to escape the clutches of ruin! You have plotted the ruin of many peoples, shaming your own house and forfeiting your life. The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it. “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by injustice! Has not the Lord Almighty determined that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire, that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk, so that he can gaze on their naked bodies! You will be filled with shame instead of glory. Now it is your turn! Drink and let your nakedness be exposed! The cup from the Lord’s right hand is coming around to you, and disgrace will cover your glory. The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you, and your destruction of animals will terrify you. For you have shed human blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them. “Of what value is an idol carved by a craftsman? Or an image that teaches lies? For the one who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak. Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Come to life!’ Or to lifeless stone, ‘Wake up!’ Can it give guidance? It is covered with gold and silver; there is no breath in it.” The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him. Habakkuk 2:2-20, (New International Version or NIV).
We see arrogance and pride in many of not only the world leaders and politicians but in the people around us daily. We see greed on a grand scale. We see many people who are not satisfied with what they have and so they work harder and longer to gather more and more wealth. We see people living on credit and many have gone bankrupt doing so. We see the rich and famous who have built their wealth through unscrupulous means. We see drug cartels and drug czars with too much money, power, and influence within many countries. We see Wall Street moguls who have squandered their client’s money on their own lifestyles. We see pornography empires making loads of money from nakedness and lust. Alcohol doesn’t soothe any longer so many have moved on to hard drugs to stay high all day and night. Murders happen everywhere every day. We see people who have worshiped a false god such as money and immorality and made for themselves idols of ideology to protect their twisted thinking. In some countries the political leaders have made themselves into gods for their people to fear and worship. Evil seems to be in charge, but wait, be patient, and watch, because God will not let the evil of our day go unpunished just like he didn’t let the evil of Habakkuk’s day go unpunished. With every woe is a warning from God that He sees it all and will not let evil be unpunished. We see this in many ways played out in people around us if we just look.
God intervenes in the lives of the rebellious in many ways. Sometimes it is abrupt and the person lands in jail or prison. Other times it is as if God is allowing the rebellion to continue until the person who is rebelling grows weary of their own rebelliousness. I think of the story Jesus tells of the prodigal son in Luke 15 where the son came to his senses and went back home to ask for forgiveness. Sometimes God removes the evil person from this earth. But one thing is very clear; God will deal with each situation as He wills and not as we wish. I wish that God would do something dramatic right when the person is in the middle of their sin. I would like that! Like the guy who is in the middle of robbing a store and suddenly Jesus shows up and touches the barrel of the gun and it turns into chocolate and the robber suddenly falls on his knees and asks for forgiveness right on the spot! Or wouldn’t it be really cool if someone who was about to tell a lie would suddenly turn purple so that everyone would know they were liars and could easily be identified as liars! That would be awesome!!! But God doesn’t work that way. God is patient but always in control of the situation. I guess when you really think about it God made time so He can be as patient as He wants to be. He has been here forever. He knows us better than we know ourselves. We can trust that God will work in the lives of those we pray for today just as He has done so many times in the past. One thing I am certain of is that when each person stands before the judgement seat in heaven they will see how many times God gave them the chance to repent and turn from their wicked ways. I seriously doubt that anyone will only have had one chance. Our God is gracious and patient and persistent but in the end it is the individual’s choice as to whether they come to salvation through Christ Jesus. I choose Jesus and I hope you do too.