He simply could not understand.
For months; no, for years now, he had been asking God to do something! His frustration with the things he continued to see had grown unbearable. Day after day he had prayed; day after day things grew worse.
How long, O Lord, will I call for help and You will not hear?
I cry out to You, "violence", yet You do not save!
Why do You make me see iniquity and cause me to look at wickedness?
Yes, destruction and violence are before me;
Strife exists and contention arises.
Therefore, the law is ignored and justice is never upheld.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore, justice is perverted.
Honestly laying out his frustration brought brief relief. The intensity of the burden was lessened even though the problem remained.
The moment of peace was quickly shattered by what God had to tell him in response to his pleas!
Look among the nations! Observe!
Be astonished! Wonder!
Because I am doing something in your days –
you would not believe if you were told
"Finally", he thinks. Results; things are going to get done. "Stand back and watch my God at work"!
For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans,
That fierce and impetuous people
Who march throughout the earth
To seize the dwelling places which are not theirs,
They are dreaded and feared.
Their justice and authority originate with themselves.
All of them come for violence
They will sweep through like the wind and pass on.
Surely, I didn’t hear You correctly, he thought!
D-d-d-d-d-did you say that you are bringing hordes of violent, Godless peoples to do Your will?
He again prays ( a bit more timidly this time):
Are You not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One?
We will not die.
Your eyes are too pure to approve of evil,
And You cannot look on wickedness with favor.
Why do You look with favor on those who deal treacherously?
Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?
How does this make sense?
The Chaldeans are far more unrighteous than the people that You use them in judgment against.
Maybe you haven’t considered that we aren’t so bad after-all. Maybe, I was a little hasty with my calling for You to fix the state of Your people’s sin.
This clearly wasn’t what I had in mind!
…the righteous will live by his faith.
(Habakkuk 1 & 2)
So there it is… the good news and the bad news:
The good news? God answers our prayers. Yea!
The bad news? He has chosen to remain God and answer our prayer His way!
The bottom-line good news? He never leaves us guessing; but teaches us in the process!