God, you’re from eternity, aren’t you?

    Holy God, we aren’t going to die, are we?

God, you chose Babylonians for your judgment work?

    Rock-Solid God, you gave them the job of discipline?

But you can’t be serious!

    You can’t condone evil!

So why don’t you do something about this?

    Why are you silent now?

This outrage! Evil men swallow up the righteous

    and you stand around and watch!

* * *

14-16 You’re treating men and women

    as so many fish in the ocean,

Swimming without direction,

    swimming but not getting anywhere.

Then this evil Babylonian arrives and goes fishing.

    He pulls in a good catch.

He catches his limit and fills his bucket—

    a good day of fishing! He’s happy!

He praises his rod and reel,

    piles his fishing gear on an altar and worships it!

It’s made his day,

    and he’s going to eat well tonight!

* * *

17 Are you going to let this go on and on?

    Will you let this Babylonian fisherman

Fish like a weekend angler,

    killing people as if they’re nothing but fish?

In today’s passage, Habakkuk expands on the difficulty he has with God using the Babylonians as instruments of judgment. (I’ve quoted from ‘The Message’ so it’s even more vivid).

Previously, in verse 7b, he has said:

“…they are a law to themselves

    and promote their own honour”;

Also, in verse 11b he has called them:

“…guilty people, whose own strength is their god.”

In today’s reading there is an elaboration on this point, with the vivid word picture painted of the dominant Babylonian empire angling for nations, catching them, and then worshipping their own fishing tackle (16).

Habakkuk’s prayer concludes in (17) with a big question: will the Lord allow this to “go on and on?”

By the time we arrive at (3:16b) he is confident that this will not be allowed to continue, but he is still waiting for God to deal with the wicked empire.

I found a note in my journal for 1st November 2021. It comes from John Mark Comer: “My Father has been a pastor for longer than I’ve been alive. On his desk is a little frame with one simple sentence, a daily reminder: Take the long view.”