January 9th 2010

Tell Me Why?

1st of a series of studies from Habakkuk

“How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”

Habakkuk 1:2 (NIV UK)

If God is a holy and just God, why does he allow evil?

What’s more, why does he let “the wicked hem in the righteous” (1:4)? Why do bad people get away with everything while believers do the right thing and suffer? Why is God silent? Why is he so unfair?

These thoughts weigh heavily on Habakkuk. He can’t shake them out of his mind. They dominate his every waking moment. It was around 600 BC. His nation, Judah, was corrupt from within. He saw the likelihood that his beloved country would be invaded by the ferocious Chaldeans whose empire machine was fast consuming most of the surrounding territories. Was this God’s judgment on sinful Judah? But why use evil to punish evil? God seems so manipulative. “I’m a prophet. Get me out of here”. “Why? Tell me why”.

Habakkuk’s honesty with God is refreshing. His conversation with God is not full of niceties and proper formats. He bares his soul to his Creator. He expresses what other people might only think. In doing so he gives us a vital lesson about prayer. Sometimes we hold back our doubts and deep concerns from God, but in prayer God wants us to share all our anxieties with him, even if some of them involve complaints about him. Don’t hold back. Open a dialogue about them, just like Habakkuk did.

Perhaps you feel a bit like Habakkuk felt. This world is a complete mess. Why do we “stare trouble in the face day after day? Anarchy and violence break out, quarrels and fights are all over the place. Law and order fall to pieces. Justice is a joke” (1:3-4 THE MESSAGE). Why doesn’t God do something?

God does give Habakkuk an answer, but it is not the answer the prophet wants. Follow these studies each Saturday to find out what happens next.


Great Almighty God, help me to be honest with you. Help me to open up and tell you all my concerns and thoughts. In Jesus’ name.


Study by James Henderson