In this post we will look at the Book of Habakkuk in the Bible, to learn what we can do about injustice in our time and all other generations. The prophet Habakkuk lived during the final decades of Israel’s southern kingdom, when its leaders had gone corrupt. The following video by BibleProject analyzes the book and Habakkuk’s conversation with God. We see that God moves certain people to act, on his own schedule, and other people can navigate the troubled times by living by faith.
The book of Habakkuk is only 3 chapters long, and is unique among the books of the prophets because Habakkuk doesn’t deliver any of God’s messages to other people. We know from other books in the Bible that at this time, Israel’s kings enslaved other people, the Israelites worshipped idols rather than the true God, and they even performed human sacrifice to those idols. Habakkuk expresses his frustrations to God, and God answers.
God is aware of Israel’s injustice, and tells Habakkuk he’s stirring up the Babylonian Empire (also called the Chaldeans in some translations.) Babylon will conquer Israel and bring its leaders to justice. Habakkuk is shocked, because Babylon is even more evil, but God assures him that empire will fall as well, as do all oppressive regimes in history.
Next, God lists five “woes,” or tactics used by empires to oppress people. The first two involve charging interest on loans to keep people in debt. The third is slave labor. The fourth is drunkenness and debauchery of the leaders while the people struggle. The fifth is idolatry, which isn’t just worshipping false gods, but placing personal or national interests above following God.
We can see these woes in action today. Some people say the United States government, and most corporations, are beholden to the Federal Reserve and other central banks. The Fed prints limitless money and loans it at interest, and the American people can’t get out of debt. Since the 1970’s, when the dollar stopped being backed by gold, each generation of Americans has been poorer than the one before, because of inflation and the flow of money back to the banks.
Will the free nations of the world be taken over like ancient Israel? We don’t know yet, but it’s worth noting that God has a new policy towards humanity since the death and resurrection of Christ. We can see throughout the Bible that God likes to act through people; he inspires and directs them in just the right way to get things done. In the Old Testament, God selected certain people to be prophets; but in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit became available to all of humanity. People can accomplish great things if they call on Jesus Christ’s name.
If you follow certain blogs and podcasts, you would know state governments in the U.S. are auditing the 2020 election. They are also reforming their voting practices to be more in line with the Constitution, so national elections can never be stolen again. The people are also waking up to institutional corruption everywhere, in Wall Street, professional sports, government-run education, and especially the corporate media. It’s like there’s a new revelation every other week.
Coming back to Habakkuk, in the third chapter we read a prayer that God will bring down evil rulers and save the people again, like when the Hebrews escaped Egypt and the Pharaoh’s army was wiped out. Habakkuk likens faithful people to ibexes, which are a species of antelope known for their nimble steps and leaps along dangerous cliffs. If regular people live by faith, God will guide them through treacherous circumstances. They may even strike their own blows against injustice in the process.