2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? 3 Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. 4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (Habbakuk 1:2-4) .
These words of perplexity and anguish come from the soul of the prophet Habakkuk , as he surveys the contemporary scene in Israel.
Historically, the nation is being invaded by the Babylonians . The time is somewhere between 609 – 598 BC - the verge of the fall of Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom .
Habakkuk is disturbed by the fact that his nation is godless. God seems to be doing nothing in Israel , and that fact is seen primarily in the absence of law and order … “the law is paralyzed and justice never goes forth …”
|Pastor Nsenduluka Kapambwe - Pastor of the Grace Reformed Baptist Church|
Last week my colleague and fellow pastor , Nsenduluka Kapambwe , pastor of the Grace Reformed Baptist Church was brutally assaulted by thieves in his home at night . In that same week my neighbors in Windhoek West had the same experience ! I know far too many people from all areas of Windhoek who have had the same experience .
The words of the prophet Habakkuk are haunting us : “The wicked hem in the righteous , so that justice is perverted’ .
By now it is clear that the police and the law courts are not coping with criminals. The prisons are overcrowded .
The problem is not necessarily the police . I know that many police officers are professional and committed people . It is not necessarily the law system that has gone wrong , although the law struggles to mete out effective punishments that would deter criminals from pursuing their vices .
The problem is that the average citizen in Namibia is becoming more and more godless !
HOW LONG O LORD ?
God’s response to the prophet Habakkuk is very sobering . He tells Habakkuk that He will send the Babylonians as His instrument of punishment upon the godless nation of Israel .
You read it right! You might struggle to believe it . Habakkuk certainly struggled to believe it , but that is what God said , and this is what God did ! In 587 BC the Babylonians finally took the city of Jerusalem and carried its prominent citizens into exile .
The heart of our problem here in Windhoek is that the average citizen has become apathetic to truth . When commitment to biblical truth dies , evil easily flourishes . And it did in Jerusalem ! And it does in Windhoek .
What might we expect ?
I don’t know , but I and our congregation – the Eastside Baptist Church do pray with Habakkuk in Chapter 3:2 “ Lord … in your wrath remember mercy !”