Throughout the Bible many have challenged God. Abraham did it when God said he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Moses did it when overwhelmed with the burden of Israel (Numbers 11:12). Korah did it in Psalm 44:23-24. The list of God’s challengers is not a short one.
As long as Judah had Israel to compare herself to, it was easy to overlook her own sins. But after the destruction of the Northern Kingdom, Judah was left to contemplate her own situation. Other prophets decried the injustice and materialism of Judah. At this time however, Habakkuk arose, not to condemn his people, but to ask God why He wasn’t condemning them. “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? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?”
God replied (Habakkuk chapter one) that he was going to punish Judah by bringing against her the Babylonians, “that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.”
That put a new twist on things. The Babylonians!? Why in the world would God punish Judah with people worse than Judah? Habakkuk was indignant. “I will stand at my watch,” he wrote, “and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me . . .”
Remember: Habakkuk is not observing something he thought was bad. He was observing something God said was bad – and was going to get worse. How often we think God is unjust when it is only our observation! If only we knew the mind of God!