Habakkuk has a problem
1 This is the message that God showed to his prophet Habakkuk.
2 Lord, how long must I call out to you for help?
1:2When we write Lord like this, it is a special name for God. Sometimes people write it as ‘Yahweh’, or as ‘Jehovah’. It is his own name that he told Moses. See Exodus 3:14. It means ‘I am who I am’. This shows that God has always been there and he always will be there.
You do not listen to me!
I shout aloud to you, ‘Violence is everywhere!’
but you do nothing to make us safe.
3 You cause me to see many things that are not right.
You do not punish people who are doing wrong things.
Why do you let that happen?
People do cruel things and there is violence everywhere.
They argue and they fight and they quarrel.
4 The law has no power to make things right.
There is no justice in the courts.
Instead, wicked people win against good people.
The judges decide that bad people are good.
The Lord speaks
5 ‘All of you, look carefully at the other nations.
You will be very surprised at what is happening.
While you are still alive, I will do a very surprising thing.
You would not believe it even if someone told you.
6 I will give more power to the Babylonians.
They are a cruel nation with brave soldiers.
They march across the whole earth.
They take cities that do not belong to them.
7 They cause people to be very afraid.
They obey no laws except their own rules.
8 Their horses run faster than leopards.
They are more cruel than wolves
that attack in the evening.
Their riders come on fast horses
from places that are far away.
They quickly attack their enemies,
like hungry eagles that fly down to catch chickens.
9 Their whole army comes to do violent things.
They march forward like a wind from the desert.
They make people their prisoners,
as easily as if they are picking up sand.
10 They insult kings,
and they laugh at rulers.
They laugh at all the strong cities of their enemies.
They build heaps of earth against the walls,
and they take those cities for themselves.
11 Their army quickly moves on to another place,
like a wind that blows.
They think that their own god has made them strong,
and so they are guilty.’
1:11The Lord says that he will punish his people in Judah. But he will use the Babylonians to do it! God says that he will use a wicked nation to punish his own people.
Habakkuk has another problem
12 Lord, you have always been God,
since the beginning.
You are the God that I worship as holy,
and you will never die.
Lord, you have chosen the Babylonians
as your weapon to punish your people.
You are a strong rock to protect us,
but you have decided to use them to punish us.
13 But you are too holy to accept anything that is evil.
You cannot agree with people who do wrong things.
So why do you let these wicked people live?
Why do you say nothing?
They are killing people who are more righteous than themselves.
14 It seems that you have made people like fish in the sea.
They are like animals that have no leader to rule them.
15 The Babylonians can easily catch them,
like people who catch fish with hooks.
They throw their nets into the water,
and they catch as many as they want.
When they store their fish in special nets,
they sing happy songs.
16 Their nets give them everything that they need,
so they offer sacrifices to their nets.
Their nets give them plenty of good food to eat,
so they burn incense to thank their nets.
17 Will you let them continue to do that?
Will they make their nets full of fish
as many times as they want to?
Will they continue to destroy other nations
and never stop?
1:17Habakkuk cannot believe that God will use cruel people like the Babylonians as his weapon. Habakkuk says that the Babylonians catch people and make them prisoners very easily, because they are so powerful. They are like men who catch fish with hooks and nets. The nets are their weapons and the fish are the enemies that they catch.