Habakkuk 1

1 The revelation which Habakkuk the prophet saw. 2 LORD, how long will I cry, and you will not hear? I cry out to you “Violence!” and will you not save? 3 Why do you show me iniquity, and look at perversity? For destruction and violence are before me. There is strife, and contention rises up. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails; for the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted. 5 “Look amongst the nations, watch, and wonder marvelously; for I am working a work in your days, which you will not believe though it is told you. 6 For, behold, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the width of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. 7 They are feared and dreaded. Their judgement and their dignity proceed from themselves. 8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves. Their horsemen press proudly on. Yes, their horsemen come from afar. They fly as an eagle that hurries to devour. 9 All of them come for violence. Their hordes face the desert. He gathers prisoners like sand. 10 Yes, he scoffs at kings, and princes are a derision to him. He laughs at every stronghold, for he builds up an earthen ramp, and takes it. 11 Then he sweeps by like the wind, and goes on. He is indeed guilty, whose strength is his god.” 12 Aren’t you from everlasting, LORD my God, my Holy One? We will not die. LORD, you have appointed him for judgement. You, Rock, have established him to punish. 13 You who have purer eyes than to see evil, and who cannot look on perversity, why do you tolerate those who deal treacherously, and keep silent when the wicked swallows up the man who is more righteous than he, 14 and make men like the fish of the sea, like the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? 15 He takes up all of them with the hook. He catches them in his net, and gathers them in his dragnet. Therefore he rejoices and is glad. 16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and burns incense to his dragnet, because by them his life is luxurious, and his food is good. 17 Will he therefore continually empty his net, and kill the nations without mercy?

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–11

The servants of the Lord are deeply afflicted by seeing ungodliness and violence prevail; especially among those who profess the truth. No man scrupled doing wrong to his neighbour. We should long to remove to the world where holiness and love reign for ever, and no violence shall be before us. God has good reasons for his long-suffering towards bad men, and the rebukes of good men. The day will come when the cry of sin will be heard against those that do wrong, and the cry of prayer for those that suffer wrong. They were to notice what was going forward among the heathen by the Chaldeans, and to consider themselves a nation to be scourged by them. But most men presume on continued prosperity, or that calamities will not come in their days. They are a bitter and hasty nation, fierce, cruel, and bearing down all before them. They shall overcome all that oppose them. But it is a great offence, and the common offence of proud people, to take glory to themselves. The closing words give a glimpse of comfort.

Verses 12–17

However matters may be, yet God is the Lord our God, our Holy One. We are an offending people, he is an offended God, yet we will not entertain hard thoughts of him, or of his service. It is great comfort that, whatever mischief men design, the Lord designs good, and we are sure that his counsel shall stand. Though wickedness may prosper a while, yet God is holy, and does not approve the wickedness. As he cannot do iniquity himself, so he is of purer eyes than to behold it with any approval. By this principle we must abide, though the dispensations of his providence may for a time, in some cases, seem to us not to agree with it. The prophet complains that God’s patience was abused; and because sentence against these evil works and workers was not executed speedily, their hearts were the more fully set in them to do evil. Some they take up as with the angle, one by one; others they catch in shoals, as in their net, and gather them in their drag, their enclosing net. They admire their own cleverness and contrivance: there is great proneness in us to take the glory of outward prosperity to ourselves. This is idolizing ourselves, sacrificing to the drag-net because it is our own. God will soon end successful and splendid robberies. Death and judgment shall make men cease to prey on others, and they shall be preyed on themselves. Let us remember, whatever advantages we possess, we must give all the glory to God.

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