We must not think it strange if God sometimes suffers wickedness to prevail far and to prosper long,
for He has good reasons for His attitude,
and He cannot be the author or patron of sin.
He takes full account of all sin committed,
and will surely make men answer for it in His own time.
1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
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.
5 ¶ Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.
6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their’s.
7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
9 They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.
10 And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.
11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
12 ¶ Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.
13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?
14 And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?
15 They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.
16 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
17 Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?
Habakkuk 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Habakkuk 1 – The Apparent Prosperity of the Wicked
Habakkuk probably lived toward the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, when the Chaldeans were preparing to invade the land. Jerusalem was filled with wickedness. Crimes of violence and lawlessness had become so numerous that the prophet was appalled at the sight. He could only point to the fate of other nations, which must also befall Judah unless the people repented. Paul quotes Habakkuk 1:5 in Acts 13:41. The Chaldeans are compared to the leopard, the evening wolf, and the east wind. The prophet turns to Jehovah in an agony of expostulation and entreaty. Was He not from everlasting? Was He not Israel’s Rock? The prophet’s solace is the reflection, “We shall not die.” We are reminded of Revelation 1:18. O thou undying, unchanging, life-giving Savior, we cling to thee amid the storms that sweep the world, as limpets to the rock. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Habakkuk 1:12—Art Thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die.
Note the attributes of God, which are enumerated in these words. His eternity—He is from everlasting; He is the Holy One—of purer eyes than to behold evil; the Almighty—the Rock. Is it not wonderful that mortals should be permitted to put the possessive pronoun before these wonderful words, and claim this glorious God for themselves! My God; mine Holy One.
But the most remarkable is: Time cannot lay its hand upon his nature, or death dissolve it. His hair is white, but not with the whiteness of decay, but of unutterable purity. He need not tremble at the summons of man’s great last foe. Unchangeable! The same yesterday, today, and for ever! The death of death! The destruction of the grave! He dies not.
All this is true; but it is true also that in the person of his Eternal Son He died. He laid down his life, though none took it from Him. He bowed his glorious nature beneath the yoke of death. Because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, He took part in the same, that through death He might destroy death. Though He ever liveth, yet He became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.
There are many mysteries like those at which the prophet hints. He holds his peace the wicked swallows up the man that is more righteous than himself. It is the problem of all ages why God should permit it; but whatever be the explanation, it cannot be because He has vacated the throne of the universe, or that his arm is weakened by disease. From everlasting to everlasting He is God. —Our Daily Homily