Read Habakkuk 2:9-14
9 “What sorrow awaits you who build big houses
with money gained dishonestly!
You believe your wealth will buy security,
putting your family’s nest beyond the reach of danger.
10 But by the murders you committed,
you have shamed your name and forfeited your lives.
11 The very stones in the walls cry out against you,
and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint.
12 “What sorrow awaits you who build cities
with money gained through murder and corruption!
13 Has not the Lord of Heaven’s Armies promised
that the wealth of nations will turn to ashes?
They work so hard,
but all in vain!
14 For as the waters fill the sea,
the earth will be filled with an awareness
of the glory of the Lord. (NLT)
It is disheartening to see the disparity between the very rich and the desperately poor in our world. Not that being rich is necessarily wrong or that poverty is somehow godly in itself. Having wealth through hard work and being generous with it is no problem. Rather, the issue is how wealth is accumulated and used.
This is what is attacked in our passage today. Habakkuk is wondering when and how justice will be done on earth as he is surrounded by corruption both amongst his own people and the surrounding nations. God reminds him that things might indeed be bad, but he will have the last say. Ill-gotten gains will not be left unpunished. Justice will finally be done.
And yet we know from elsewhere in the Bible that we can’t expect perfection of justice and fairness here on earth. That awaits the new heavens and the new earth. Of course God can and does act prior to that time. We do see instances of the corrupt rich being brought back to earth with a thud. Other times, they seem to prosper.
So here on earth we work for justice and speak and act against injustice. All the time knowing that God’s will is not yet done on earth as it is in heaven. We long for fairness even as we recognise it is not entirely achievable in a fallen world. We console ourselves that even though life is not always fair, God is always and finally fair.
One day, all will be well. But not just yet.