I Cry Out ‘Violence’ (Part 1 of 5)

When you read a passage like that of Habakkuk 1, you tend to favour the prophet’s response. There is wickedness all around him and he cries out, “Violence!” He says, “The law is ignored and justice is … perverted.”

It’s the sort of response that you expect from a Biblical character, right? This disapproval of all the unrighteousness.

I often think we do a disfavour to many of whom the Bible speaks. We hold them in such high regard that when we read about them messing up we are forced to either reject their life’s work or, worse, question the Bible for approving of such sinful people.

Look at someone like David. We love talking about his triumph over a giant so much so that newspaper articles, news bulletins and even sports commentators refer to the incident to explain their stories or opinions. “It’s a David vs Goliath case!” Regardless of that fact, though, we can never tie two realities concerning David:

1. God says that David was a “Man after [His] own heart.” – Acts 13:22

2. However, David sinned horrifically – 2 Samuel 11

We are faced with a conundrum. Do we reject David? Do we hide his sin? Or do we try to explain it away and say, “God said that about David long before David sinned with Bathsheba …”? This isn’t the topic we’re discussing in this series so I’ll leave my opinion on the matter for another post.

The topic that I’d like to focus on with this new series is another that some people like to avoid. We read certain verses in the Psalms that we simply cannot associate to Godly men and women; so we explain them away.

I’m talking about verses like the following:

“Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.” – Psalm 139:21-22 NASB

“How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones against the rock.” – Psalm 137:9 NASB

 I think it’s safe to assume that I’m not the only one rising up and crying out, “Violence!”

We don’t like to discuss these passages, let alone read them; yet, they’re there, but do we understand them?

The questions we will discuss are:

  1. Why did these people speak like this?
  2. Are we allowed to speak like this?
  3. Why has God kept a record of this?

As always, feel free to share your opinions as we go through. No passage in the Bible should be dismissed; let us embrace it and understand it.


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