The cry for justice (Hab 1:2-1:4)

“O Yahweh!

How long

Shall I cry for help?

You will not listen.

I cry to you.

‘Violence!’

You will not save me.

Why do you make me

See wrongdoing?

Why do you make me

Look at trouble?

Destruction is before me.

Violence is before me.

Strife arises

Contention arises.

So,

The law becomes slack.

Justice never prevails.

The wicked surround

The righteous.

Therefore,

Judgment

Comes forth perverted!”

Habakkuk complained to Yahweh that there was no justice in the land.  He wanted to know how long he would have to cry to be heard by Yahweh, since Yahweh did not seem to listen to him.  Habakkuk has cried out about this violence, but there was no one to save him.  Why did he have to see so much wrongdoing and trouble?  There were all kinds of destruction and violence all around him, since his life was full of strife and contention.  The law had become slack, so that justice did not prevail.  The wicked were in fact surrounding the righteous, so that there were only perverted judgments, not true justice from Yahweh.

The good news of peace (Nah 1:15-1:15)

To Judah

“Look

On the mountains!

The feet of one

Brings good tidings.

He proclaims peace!

Celebrate your festivals!

O Judah!

Fulfil your vows!

Never again,

Shall the wicked

Invade you!

They are utterly cut off.”

Nahum wanted Judah to look to the mountains, where there was someone bringing good news that there would be peace.  Now, they could celebrate their festivals and fulfill their vows at the Temple.  Never again, would anyone wicked invade them, because all their enemies were cut off.

Yahweh’s response (Mic 2:3-2:4)

“Therefore thus,

Says Yahweh.

‘Now!

I am devising

Against this family

An evil,

From which you cannot

Remove your necks.

You shall not walk haughtily!

It will be an evil time!

On that day,

They shall take up

A taunt song

Against you.

They will wail

With bitter lamentation.

They will say.

‘We are utterly ruined.

Yahweh alters

The inheritance

Of my people.

He removes it from me!

Among our captors,

He divides our fields.’”

Yahweh responded that he was devising some evil against these wicked people.  They would wear a yoke on their necks, so that they could not walk around in a haughty manner.  There would be an evil time for them on Yahweh’s appointed day.  People would sing a taunting song against them as they would be wailing in a lamentation.  They would admit that they would be ruined, because Yahweh had altered their inheritance.  He had sent them off as captives, so that their fields would be divided up among other people.  Yahweh’s response to these evil doers was an exile captivity with the loss of their land.

Do not worry (Dan 12:9-12:12)

“He said.

‘Go your way!

Daniel!

The words are

To remain secret.

They are to be sealed

Until the time of the end.

Many shall be

Purified,

Cleansed,

Refined.

But the wicked

Shall continue

To do wickedly.

None of the wicked

Shall understand.

But those who are wise

Shall understand.’”

The man in the linen clothes told Daniel not to worry.  Daniel was to go on his way.  These words were secret.  Thus, they would be sealed up until the end times.  Many had to be purified, cleansed and refined until then.  The wicked would continue to do wicked things, since they have no understanding.  However, the wise ones understand what is going on.  This is a kind of back handed slap at Daniel, since he claimed he did not understand what the angel had been telling him.

The holy city is in disgrace (Dan 9:15-9:16)

“Now!

O Lord!

Our God!

You brought

Your people

Out of the land

Of Egypt

With a mighty hand.

You have made

Your name

Renowned

Even to this day.

We have sinned.

We have done wickedly.

O Lord!

In view of your righteous acts,

Let your anger,

Let your wrath,

We pray,

Turn away

From your city Jerusalem,

Your holy mountain.

Because of our sins,

Because of the iniquities

Of our ancestors,

Jerusalem

With your people

Have become a disgrace

Among all our neighbors.”

Daniel continued with this prayer to God, reminding him how he had brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. His name was renowned. However, they had sinned and done wicked things. Thus, God, the Lord, had a righteous anger and wrath. Daniel wanted God to turn away from the holy mountain, the city of Jerusalem, because it had become a disgrace to all its neighbors. Their sins and the iniquities of their ancestors have brought disgrace to Jerusalem and its people.

The wicked people of the land (Ezek 22:29-22:30)

“The people of the land

Have practiced extortion.

They committed robbery.

They have oppressed

The poor.

They have oppressed

The needy.

They have extorted

From the aliens

Without redress.

I sought

For anyone

Among them

Who would repair

The wall.

I sought

For anyone

To stand

In the breach

Before me

On behalf

Of the land.

Thus I would not

Destroy it.

But I found no one.”

Not only were the officials, leaders, priests, and prophets wicked, but the people of the land themselves also practiced extortion and committed robberies. They oppressed both the poor and the needy. They extorted things from the aliens who had no judicial redress. Yahweh was looking for someone to repair the wall. He wanted someone to stand near the hole in the wall. He wanted to find someone to defend the land, so that he would not destroy it. However, he could not find anyone among the people of the land. He found no one willing to help him.

The conversion of the wicked ones (Ezek 18:21-18:23)

“But if the wicked ones

Turn away

From all the sins

That they have committed,

They shall surely live.

If they keep

All my statutes,

They shall not die.

If they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall surely live.

They shall not die.

None of the transgressions

That they have committed

Shall be remembered

Against them.

They shall live

Because of the righteousness

That they have done.

‘Have I any pleasure

In the death

Of the wicked?

I would rather

That they should turn

From their ways.

Then they would live.’

Says Yahweh God.”

What happens if wicked people turn away from all the sins that they have committed? They would live, if they kept all the statutes of Yahweh. If they did what was lawful and right, they would not die. None of their former transgressions would be remembered against them. They would live because of their righteousness. Yahweh did not take any pleasure in the death of the wicked ones. He would rather that they should turn from their evil ways, so that they would be able to live.

Abominable images (Ezek 7:20-7:21)

“They had

Beautiful ornaments.

They took such pride

In them.

They made

Their abominable images.

They made

Their detestable things.

Therefore I will make of it

An unclean thing

To them.

I will hand it over

To strangers

As booty.

I will give it

To the wicked

Of the earth

As plunder.

They shall profane it.”

These Israelites had made beautiful ornaments into idols. They took such great pride in these abominable and detestable images that they had made. Yahweh was now going to make them into unclean things. He was going to hand them over to strangers as booty. He was going to give them to the wicked ones of the earth as plunder. Then they could profane these false idol god images.

The rebellious ones in Jerusalem (Ezek 5:5-5:6)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘This is Jerusalem.

I have set her

In the center

Of the nations,

With countries

All around her.

She has rebelled

Against my ordinances.

She has rebelled

Against my statutes.

She has become

More wicked

Than the nations,

Than the countries,

All around her.

She has rejected

My ordinances.

She has not followed

My statutes.”

The God Yahweh spoke to Ezekiel about Jerusalem. Yahweh had put Jerusalem at the center of all the nations and countries that surrounded her. However, she has rebelled against the ordinances and statutes of Yahweh. She now has become more wicked that those nations and countries all around her, because she has rejected the ordinances of Yahweh. She has refused to follow the statutes of Yahweh.

The anger of Yahweh (Jer 30:23-30:24)

“Look!

The storm of Yahweh!

Wrath has gone forth!

It is a whirling tempest!

It will burst

Upon the head of the wicked.

The fierce anger of Yahweh

Will not turn back

Until he has executed

And accomplished

The intentions of his mind.

In the latter days,

You will understand this.”

Into every story must come a little sadness. The anger or wrath of Yahweh was always in the background of any story. Thus the storm of Yahweh or a whirling tempest would fall upon the wicked. No one could turn back the anger of Yahweh until he has executed and accomplished what he set out to do. Only later will people understand this.