Habakkuk 1 has the prophet carrying a burden of the vision he saw. We really don’t know much about this prophet as this is the only book in the Bible his name appears. Since he prophesied the coming Babylonian army and its destruction of Judah, he prophesied some time before that invasion. Many think that Habakkuk did his work sometime during the reign of King Johoiakim, perhaps around the year 607 b.c. It is likely that he lived during the time of the godly king Josiah (640 to 609 b.c.) and then gave this prophecy during the reign of one of Josiah’s successors.
Habakkuk knew what it was like to live during a time of revival, and then to see God’s people and the nation slide away into sin. Habakkuk sees the problem and presses God to see how long it will last. “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear”? He’s lived through a godly king ruling the land, and now is faced with evil and backsliding. He wondered where God was, and why God did not set things right. Habakkuk could see sin all around himself. The people were full of iniquity causing destruction and violence at every turn.
God has a plan to deal with it – but not exactly what Habakkuk had in mind. “I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own”. When the Chaldeans (Babylonians) came against Judah, they came as sent by the Lord. They wanted to conquer Judah all along, but God allowed that sinful desire to fit into His plan to judge Judah for their sin. It was all part of God’s bigger plan as they conquered and exiled God’s people.
Habakkuk has a problem with God’s approach and wonders why God would use a nation more evil that Judah to do His work. “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he”? The prophet doesn’t get it. This is using worse evil to deal and judge with evil. He felt the cure was maybe worse than the disease. But we have to learn to trust God and have faith in His plan. We can’t see the whole picture like He can. We only see dimly and a bit of the plan. God sees it all and has an absolute method to what He does.