When I recently reviewed Habakkuk, I must admit I was a little embarrassed that I have privately expressed the same feeling of despaired outcry. I am referring to chapter 1, verses 2 and 3. Like no time in the past, I have felt that things have gotten so bad that if God doesn’t act soon, there won’t be anything left of this planet to act on.
Yes, I’m well aware of Paul’s words to Timothy that “in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.” How critical would they get? In verses 2 through 4 he elaborates: “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” But just how critical, or to what extent, corruption would be allowed is what surprises me. In retrospect, I guess my expectations for this were that the “underbelly” of society would be that way, but not “respectable society.” However, one point that should have given me a better clue is verse five: That those displaying the traits mentioned in vss.2-4 would be “having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power.” In other words, a facade of godly respectability but completely hypocritical.
Today the news is rife with politicians, police, and corporate leaders all guilty of wanton immoral and unethical behavior. The Bible tells of an instance when a sounder of swine rushes off the edge of a cliff. Today, it seems the masses of mankind are following the swine right off the edge of social structure. The very fiber of society is collapsing like soap bubbles in a bubble bath. Indeed, today like never before in recent history, self-willed and self-serving people full of hatred, anger, and arrogance, seem to have the upper hand. More than any other time in my life I feel as did Habakkuk, pleading with God, wondering, “How much longer will this be tolerated before you act?” But apparently I’m not alone in amongst my contemporaries. Revelation 6:10 mentions the same strong sympathies when it asks how long or “Until when?!”
Adding to this feeling, I have noted it is not only believers that are concerned, but even those without faith are worried for the survival of humanity and this planet. In times past, those not making the Bible part of their life have always retorted that “the government will work things out, there is no worry.” But not so today. A growing number of people are truly frightened that this whole world is on the edge of destruction.
While we believers do not share that hopeless outcome, still we are left begging God to act soon. Just as in times past, even when all seemed totally lost, God did indeed work things out for the benefit of his loyal ones. So this remains my confidence, “God is not slow respecting his promise,” but he is patient because he wants as many as possible to come in line with his solution for saving mankind. So just as God promised Habakkuk, “For the vision is yet for its appointed time, and it is rushing toward its end, and it will not lie. Even if it should delay, keep in expectation of it! For it will without fail come true. It will not be late!” (2:3) So while believers today may have started to feel things have “delayed,” we should all take courage that without fail “it will NOT be late.”