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The Problem of Evil




 When we look around today prepared to enter 2024, we see the prevailing acceptance of evil that is probably unmatched in the annals of American history. I was watching the news Wednesday evening with Debbie and some new state laws will be taking place in 2024. In Minnesota, they have a new law that mandates that they now have to have tampons available in the boys ’ restrooms beginning in fourth grade. The state of California has mandated that all toy stores now have to have a section for gender-neutral toys. Gender-neutral toys? I can’t for the life of me understand how people in many major cities continue to re-elect the same people every election who have created many of the problems that they’re now dealing with, like crime, sanctuary cities, and many other issues. These reports in the news grieve my heart but let me assure you that we are not the first culture to be plagued by great wickedness in the land. In fact, in the next few blogs, I’d like us to consider Habakkuk the prophet, who raised the question – “If God is all-powerful and all-loving, why does He tolerate evil?”

    We read in Habakkuk 1 these words, “The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received. How long, O Lord must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” But you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds”, (Hab.1:1-4 NIV). This sounds very familiar to the world that we live in today. The word “oracle”, refers to something heavy, a burden to be lifted, and Habakkuk’s message was certainly a heavy one. It was a heavy message for Habakkuk who was a spectator to great evil. He saw the presence of great wickedness all around him and was bombarded on a daily basis with the sinfulness of the people that he lived among. Some of us can relate to what Habakkuk was reporting. Also, he had a burden because of unanswered prayers. Habakkuk had poured out his heart in prayer, but nothing had happened. In the deep exercise of the prophet’s soul, his words seem to fall flat with God as he prayed for his nation of Judah. The nation was dear to his heart, but his heart grew sick as he saw the evil around him.

   Habakkuk in this passage was asking God how long he must wait until God sends an answer to his plea for help. He takes no delight in portraying the sins of those who he so tenderly cares for, as he pours out his complaint before the ear of God. Will there be no end to the rising tide of sin in our own day? Habakkuk was living in sinful times, surrounded by difficult circumstances, and he states the problem to God. The word “cry” in v.2 speaks of a cry of distress, a shout or scream for help. 

   As we see the proliferation of evil in our day and injustice all around us, if we are not concerned about such things there must be something wrong in our own hearts. Habakkuk takes his complaint to God, but the answer he’s going to receive from God is more bewildering than the first stated problem. In our own lives, we must remove the hindrances which prevent the revival of God’s work in our own hearts. We must be very watchful to make sure that selfishness and unbelief don’t hinder the work of God in our own lives. If our God is a God of justice and goodness, why is evil and suffering so rampant in our world? Some people never concern themselves with these questions – as long as their lives are going along relatively successful and comfortably, they don’t consider the deep theological questions that Habakkuk raises in his short prophecy. 

   In our service for the Lord Jesus Christ today we cannot tell why God delays His hand of justice, but we do know that God is willing that none should perish (2 Peter3:9) and if He is willing that none perish shouldn’t that motivate us to call people to repentance and salvation in Jesus Christ. We need a fresh vision of the power and mercy of our God to work in our day. I hope as we consider this prophecy over the next few blogs, we will catch a broader understanding of how God works and how God moves, not only in Judah in Habakkuk’s day, but also how God can move and work in America in our own day.

  In the King’s service,

Pastor Rich Sivo


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