Daily Worship

Dealing with injustice

Albert Bogle November 05, 2019 0 1
Image credit: Pixabay
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Habakkuk 3: 1-19 (ESV)

1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

2 O Lord, I have heard the report of you,
    and your work, O Lord, do I fear.
In the midst of the years revive it;
    in the midst of the years make it known;
    in wrath remember mercy.
3 God came from Teman,
    and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
His splendor covered the heavens,
    and the earth was full of his praise.
4 His brightness was like the light;
    rays flashed from his hand;
    and there he veiled his power.
5 Before him went pestilence,
    and plague followed at his heels.
6 He stood and measured the earth;
    he looked and shook the nations;
then the eternal mountains were scattered;
    the everlasting hills sank low.
    His were the everlasting ways.
7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction;
    the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.
8 Was your wrath against the rivers, O Lord?
    Was your anger against the rivers,
    or your indignation against the sea,
when you rode on your horses,
    on your chariot of salvation?
9 You stripped the sheath from your bow,
    calling for many arrows. Selah
    You split the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains saw you and writhed;
    the raging waters swept on;
the deep gave forth its voice;
    it lifted its hands on high.
11 The sun and moon stood still in their place
    at the light of your arrows as they sped,
    at the flash of your glittering spear.
12 You marched through the earth in fury;
    you threshed the nations in anger.
13 You went out for the salvation of your people,
    for the salvation of your anointed.
You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,
    laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah
14 You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors,
    who came like a whirlwind to scatter me,
    rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
    the surging of mighty waters.

16 I hear, and my body trembles;
    my lips quiver at the sound;
rottenness enters into my bones;
    my legs tremble beneath me.
Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble
    to come upon people who invade us.

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

It is never easy for most of us to try and deal with injustice, especially when it comes to our door because we can never be sure we understand the full picture. Habakkuk in Chapter 3 of his book tells us that we will never be able to fathom the workings of the Almighty but he insists we need to trust God to be just. In this prayer he uses the creation to try and understand the passion that God has for justice and his activity against injustice. So much so that he pleads with God to remember mercy. It’s an amazingly colourful description of the prophet’s mind’s eye, as he tries to understand God’s justice through the violence and beauty of the creation.

At the end of the prayer he says these words:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls, 
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer's

It’s as though he is so certain that God is incapable of being unjust that even if everything in his life goes “belly up” he will believe that God will still be working out justice for the oppressed and that also includes his situation. 

God of Justice
Look upon my situation
Reach out your hand
Protect me
For I’m broken in two
And I don’t know which half
Is just and which is unjust
I can’t think clearly
I’m so angry
My voice has been lost in the turmoil
Of anxiety and hope
Speak for me
Cry out for me
Intercede for me
Heal my many wounds
Let them sing the psalms over my head
Anoint me with oil
For my head is heavy with worry 
And my heart broken for love
Give me the faith of Habakkuk
Help me believe 
Your justice includes my situation
I want to pass on an inheritance of love