2016-02-28 - Habakkuk
Man’s view of justice seems to leave something to be desired ,and while the following is absurd, is it really any more absurd than some of what we have heard from our own courts?
“There was once a robber in Cairo who, climbing into a window, fell and broke his leg. He complained to the Cadi, and asked for justice from the owner because the window casement was defective. The Cadi sent for the owner, who laid the blame on the carpenter. The Cadi sent for the carpenter, who laid the blame on the mason. The mason blamed a pretty girl, who in passing attracted his eye by the pretty gown she wore. The girl blamed the dyer who dyed the gown. The dyer had no excuse to offer, and the Cadi sentenced him to be hanged in his own doorway. Every one was satisfied, but presently the executioner came back and said he could not hang the dyer because the door was too low. “Then,” said the Cadi, “go, get a short dyer and hang him. We must have justice, though the heavens fall.” 1
It would appear that man’s view of God’s justice also lacks clarity.
The Justice of God
“There are men who say they believe there is a God, but God is too merciful to punish sin. He is too full of compassion and love, and He could not punish sin. The drunkard, the harlot, the gambler, the murderer, the thief and the libertine would all share alike at the end. Suppose the Governor of your State was so tenderhearted that he could not bear to have a man suffer, that he could not bear to see a man put in jail, and he should set all the prisoners free. How long would he be Governor? You would have him out of office before the sun set. These very men who talk about God’s mercy would be the first to raise a cry against a Governor who would not have a man put in prison when he had done wrong. 2
We have seen the first of a series of dialogues between Habakkuk and God. In the first, Habakkuk is frustrated by God’s apparent lack of action in dealing with the sin and injustice rampant in Judea.
God, in turn, tells Habakkuk He has every intention of acting. What He was going to do is to let Babylon, a vile nation, bring destruction and suffering to the sinful Judea.
Habakkuk made his complaint, and God gave his response. Nevertheless, as we will see this morning, it appears He wasn’t satisfied with God’s answer. He sees some new problems. So now we move into the second of Habakkuk’s laments.
All verses are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.