When studying the Bible, we may come across some verse that are difficult to understand. One of these verses is Habakkuk 1:13 which reads, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do You tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are You silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself?” Is it true that God cannot look upon sin? What does this mean, and how are we to interpret this?
As believers in Christ God is with us, so He definitely sees when we sin. We can’t run away from God. He is aware that we are fallen. The first murder that took place with Cain and Abel. After Cain killed his brother, God went to him and said, “Where is your brother Abel?” (Genesis 4:9). When Cain was in sin, God went after Him. In the same way with our life, God is going after us when we fail.
Thankfully we have been restored. God sees us as a new creation. You are not a sinner anymore. God calls you a Saint. The old is gone and we are forgiven. In fact, the Bible teaches us that God remembers our sins no more. How amazing is that! He never leaves us. Now when we see great evil, our natural reaction should be anger. When I hear about horrible shootings, theft, or bombings, my heart is saddened. In the same way, so is God.
For this verse it is not a literal description of God. When the Rockets were losing in the Playoffs, I turned the TV off. I had to look away. I just had a distain for that sight. In the same way, God dislikes sin, so this is what Habakkuk is telling us. This verse gives us a visual picture of God’s character. God is holy and full of glory.
Habakkuk is reminding himself that God does not enjoy looking at sin. Instead, He enjoys seeing people go to church, reading their Bible, and praying. He loves when we help our neighbor, serve in the community, and give to those in need. When we do this, we fill God’s heart with joy.
2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us, “For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His. You have been foolish in this matter. Therefore, you will have wars from now on.” (HCSB). Notice what God desires to find. Is He an angry Lord looking towards every sin we make? No, instead the Scriptures show us that God is someone who looks for righteousness. God wants to find people who love Jesus.
As I was looking at this passage, I reached out to my Pastor Friend Larry Martinez of New Covenant Church of El Campo. He told me, “I don’t think this is something representing God. Basically, this is the Prophet Habakkuk describing God and what He thinks…Jesus was around sinners. Jesus dealt with people who were lost. He came to seek and save that which was lost.” This is very true because Christ’s accusation was that He was hanging around with tax collectors and sinners. Sin increases, God’s love and favor increases.
Because of this verse some have gone to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit leaves us when we sin. Yet this is not what the Bible as a whole teaches us. No as we can see when Cain sinned, God went to him. When Adam sinned, God went to him. In the same way God is going to where we are. Even now the Lord is looking to and fro throughout the Earth to find people whose hearts are devoted to God. Let’s raise our hands in prayer and tell the Lord, “Thank you for your forgiveness. Here am I, use me!”