每日诗歌: O Holy Night
Revelation 14 [Read]
Are we allowed to complain to God? Seeing the horrible consequences the Israelites received when they complained in the wilderness, we probably would conclude with a negative answer. However, Habakkuk the prophet (Hab 1:1), implying he was recognized as a mouth piece of God, actually began his prophecy with a complaint.
“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?” (1:2) The prophet is losing patience. Unlike the Israelites in the wilderness complaining about God’s provision, Habakkuk complained about the rampage of injustice and violence. “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?” (1:3) The complaint of Israelites was a self-centered grumbling about God not meeting their expectations, whereas Habakkuk’s complaint was a God-centered cry about God’s name being tarnished by apparent anarchy in his Creation.
“I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people” (1:6). That was the answer from God, and that was even more shocking to the prophet. “Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?” (1:13) Israel may be rebellious, but punishing them with the ruthless Babylonians is even more unthinkable. How can God allow a wicked nation to punish his own people?
Indeed, the Babylonians are puffed up and their desired are not upright (2:4). But that’s not the point. Afflictions are means ordained by God to give life, for “the righteous will live their faith” (2:4). Everything has an appointed time, and those who patiently wait on God shall receive the ultimate salvation. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (2:14).
I don’t think God would mind our occasional “righteous complaint”, for he sees all things including our heart just like he sees Habakkuk’s heart. A genuine righteous complaint will eventually lead to praise through faith, for we shall be shown that “though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights” (3:17-19).
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