Wednesday, August 05, 2009

How Long, O Lord?

The cry of a hurting heart. The desperate call of a suffering soul. A question often asked: O LORD, how long? Why do you not respond to our prayers and not answer our cries?

Yet Habakkuk's prayer (1:1-5) does not arise from terrible personal suffering. He hasn't been struck with swine flu (well, of course not, he's a Jew!) or any other illness. So why does Habakkuk pray so fervently? Why does he earnestly cry out for God to act?

Habakkuk is sick of sin. As he looks around at his nation, and sees his city, he sees the spectacular sinfulness of his society. The wicked are wild and the evil are everywhere. Justice has been forgotten about in Jerusalem, and Habakkuk's righteous soul is troubled.

So if Habakkuk's righteous soul is troubled ('Why do you make me see iniquity'), then surely God must be even more troubled. Therefore God should answer the prayer even more speedily. After all, the destruction of evil and the restoration of righteousness is God's business.

In a forthcoming blog we'll look at God's answer, but for tonight, are we as troubled about our society's sin as Habakkuk was? Do we grieve when God's name is taken for vain regularly, or when television programmes celebrate what is vulgar and evil? Do we cry out for God to act in righteousness and justice, or do we sit back?

Worse, perhaps, does the Church imitate the world around and look no different? Do we listen to the values and views of the world and liberal society rather than to the word of the Lord?

O Lord, give us a passion for your glory and holiness, and make us quick to pray for our towns, and to call for repentance.

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