The Longing for Justice
By: Pastor Dennis Yim
Key Passage: Habakkuk 1:1-4
1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
2 O LORD, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save? 3 Why do you make me
see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise. 4 So the law is paralyzed,
and justice never goes forth. For the wicked
surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.
It’s important that we – as human beings – understand that we all have an innate longing for
justice. When we see or experience any form of injustice, we long for things to be made right.
What is taking place in our country is a demonstration of the Black community’s longing for
justice, longing for things to be made right so that they may have the rights and opportunities to
thrive. Is this wrong? Definitely not. It’s a basic God-given human right to be treated as a
human-being who’s made in His image, and to long after and receive justice.
Habakkuk understood this longing for justice well. Israel, at the time, was corrupt. There was
great violence, strife, contention between the rich and the poor, the have and the have-nots.
Instead of being known for being shalomic, Israel become known for its chaos and its
misappropriation of God’s Law which would have produced shalom (human-thriving for all if
they obeyed His words). Habakkuk isn’t numb to the systemic injustices in Israel, he doesn’t try
to ignore it and mind his own business. We see in the first four verses of this book that he is
overwhelmed by the atrocities of Israel’s injustice; he couldn’t help but to feel the overwhelming
weight of those who were affected by it all. Habakkuk doesn’t remain silent, he doesn’t hide in
his home and pray silently; he was no passivist, rather he was an activist who longed after
justice. Habakkuk had this sense of hopelessness, he thought God was hiding in heaven and
didn’t want to deal with all that was going on in Israel. Habakkuk genuinely questioned God’s
concern for evil, he doubted God’s longing for justice and righteousness.
It’s easy to criticize Habakkuk, but if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re very much like him.
We all have questioned God’s concern for evil, we’ve all questioned his very longing for justice
and righteousness. I’ll admit that there have been times that I doubted God and said, “God do
you even care about what’s going on right now? Where are you in this? Where’s justice? When
will all things be made right?” With everything that is going on, it’s important that we continue
to use God’s grace to be active and attentive to what is currently taking place in our communities
and in the country. It’s important that we constantly pray for justice, we pray for hope and we
pray that God will return and make all things right by showering His righteousness and justice so
that all forms of evil would be trampled and destroyed. But if you find yourself like Habakkuk
then good, it means that you genuinely care about what is going on. It means that you are not
tone-deaf nor blind. It means that God has given you the Christ-centered lens that allows you to
see things for what they are. Jesus Christ never ran away from injustice, He ran towards it and
gave Himself up so that we would receive the righteousness and justice of God in Him. God is
calling us to be concerned with Him, and to move towards the Black community and to stand
with them in solidarity and cry out, “let there be justice!”