1 This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received from the LORD in a vision.
2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! "Violence!" I cry, but you do not come to save.
3 Must I forever see this sin and misery all around me? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.
4 The law has become paralyzed and useless, and there is no justice given in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, and justice is perverted with bribes and trickery.
5 The LORD replied, "Look at the nations and be amazed! Watch and be astounded at what I will do! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe even if someone told you about it.
6 I am raising up the Babylonians* to be a new power on the world scene. They are a cruel and violent nation who will march across the world and conquer it.1
7 They are notorious for their cruelty. They do as they like, and no one can stop them.
8 Their horses are swifter than leopards. They are a fierce people, more fierce than wolves at dusk. Their horsemen race forward from distant places. Like eagles they swoop down to pounce on their prey.
9 "On they come, all of them bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a wind from the desert, sweeping captives ahead of them like sand.
10 They scoff at kings and princes and scorn all their defenses. They simply pile ramps of earth against their walls and capture them!
11 They sweep past like the wind and are gone. But they are deeply guilty, for their own strength is their god."
12 O LORD my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal--is your plan in all of this to wipe us out? Surely not! O LORD our Rock, you have decreed the rise of these Babylonians to punish and correct us for our terrible sins.
13 You are perfectly just in this. But will you, who cannot allow sin in any form, stand idly by while they swallow us up? Should you be silent while the wicked destroy people who are more righteous than they?
14 Are we but fish to be caught and killed? Are we but creeping things that have no leader to defend them from their enemies?
15 Must we be strung up on their hooks and dragged out in their nets while they rejoice?
16 Then they will worship their nets and burn incense in front of them. "These nets are the gods who have made us rich!" they will claim.
17 Will you let them get away with this forever? Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?
Read Habakkuk 2