A Few Thoughts about Habakkuk

There is much violence today. The stories of abuse—financial, physical, marital, pastoral, etc. are increasing daily. Attitudes are worse. People yell and scream at each other of different opinions. There is road rage. The traits of sympathy and empathy are diminishing in the public forum. Government leaders are becoming more callous in many countries. Businesspeople make money more important than safety. The Scripture is becoming more true daily. 2 Timothy 3:1-6 NLT You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! 6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires.

Habakkuk noted this in Judah shortly before God’s judgment. The Defender’s Study Bible notes: He was evidently a contemporary of Jeremiah, in the closing years of Judah’s partial independence before the Babylonian exile. He clearly predicted the imminent Babylonian invasion and captivity (Hab_1:5-11). His ministry was probably in the turbulent years just following good king Josiah’s death.

Habakkuk was concerned about God’s apparent indifference to the violence of society. Habakkuk 1:2-4 NLT How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. 3 Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. 4 The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted.

Yahweh responds that judgment is coming in Habakkuk 1:5-11. We see God’s patience. He wants repentance. He wants people to comprehend that their own ways lead to destruction, but God’s ways lead to life. Romans 2:4-6 NLT Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? 5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done.

The revelation of punishment coming shortly strikes fear into the prophet that the Jews will be annihilated, so he complains of this in Habakkuk 1:12-2:1.

Yahweh then reinforces that wealth cannot save from God’s wrath, nor any human effort—philosophy, technology, science, experts, etc.

What can save is faith. Faith is believing God. It is obeying God’s call to repent and live according to His ways. This salvation is forgiveness of sins yet has the effect of improvement in society. Habakkuk 2:4 NRSV  Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

Yahweh then informs the prophet that even though he is utilizing Babylon to punish Judea, He will punish Babylon for their sins as well.

Yahweh is in His holy Temple (the heavenly Temple) and is ready to save. Those coming should be quiet and rest. Idols are useless, they can do nothing. They cannot teach, see, move, or save. Habakkuk 2:19-20 NLT What sorrow awaits you who say to wooden idols, ‘Wake up and save us!’ To speechless stone images you say, ‘Rise up and teach us!’ Can an idol tell you what to do? They may be overlaid with gold and silver, but they are lifeless inside. 20 But the LORD is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.

Habakkuk then, in chapter 3, writes and sings a song as a prayer.

  • He praises God for His being and character. Habakkuk 3:1-4

  • He notes God’s righteousness in punishment. Habakkuk 3:5-12, 14-16

  • He notes God’s salvation for those who call out, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). Habakkuk 3:13

  • He then rejoices that even though he (the prophet) suffers, he recognizes God’s goodness and salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-19.

We learn

  • God punishes sin.

  • God makes opportunity for all to repent, believe, and ask for mercy.

  • God’s people grieve at the evil in society.

  • Humans are evil. See Romans 1:18-32.

  • God gives grace to believers to remain steadfast and faithful. See Isaiah 25:8-10, Revelation 21:4, Psalm 94:19, and 2 Corinthians 1:4-6.

A Few Thoughts about Habakkuk

Habakkuk, Sin, Evil in society, Punishment for sin, Comfort for believers

21 Feb 21 by Len


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