Book 35 of the OT, having 3 chapters. Habakkuk was the author of this minor prophetic book written to the people of Judah, between 612 and 589 BC, to show that God is still in control even though it doesn’t always appear that way. Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel also were prophets around this time. Time to read: 10 mins.
Key people: Habakkuk and the Babylonians.
Outline. Habakkuk the prophet was distressed at the evil he saw about him in Judah. Unlike other prophetic books where God’s message was brought to the people, Habakkuk also brought his questions and complaints to God – “how long will you tolerate evil?...Your means of correction is totally unfair!” (Hab 1:3,13). God’s reply was have patience – judgment is coming according to my timetable – and even though the evil nation of Babylon was to be used as the means of discipline they in turn would be punished for their sin. The wicked trust in themselves and fail, but the just shall live by, or because of, their faith (Hab 2:4). Habakkuk prays, “Do again in our midst your mighty works”, then praises God for the answers to his questions and affirms he would be thankful even in the time of severe hardship knowing God was sovereign (Hab 3:2).
Main lesson. Sometimes it is hard to see what good can come from life’s challenges or how God can work in a situation for good. Learn from this prophet who boldly and confidently took his doubts and questions to God seeking answers to gain a true perspective so his faith could be based upon a firm foundation. We only have very limited and often confused insight or understanding of His purposes, but be assured He is working in our lives for good.
Key verses and thoughts. * “Write down the revelation...it is for an appointed time, though it lingers wait for it” (Hab 2:2,3). God’s punishment for sin would surely come – what He speaks happens (Num 23:19; Isa 46:11). An application of this principle is to write down what the Lord speaks into your situation, so you can remind yourself on what you are basing your hope – this will keep you living in expectation through the barren times of life when God seems to have forgotten about you and the promises you are claiming. Don’t fall for the trap of trying to assist in the bringing about of His plans in a manner that doesn’t meet His approval as Abraham did (Gen 16:1-4). Patiently wait for God’s timing, trusting He will fulfill His commitment to you as you conscientiously do all that He requires of you.
* “The earth will be filled with the knowledge or awareness of God’s glory” (Hab 2:14). In contrast to the nations endeavouring to make an impact on the world scene, often with no lasting reward or gain, there will be a coming demonstration of God’s power throughout the earth and people from all language/cultural groups who respond to the gospel will ultimately bring glory to God around the eternal throne.
* “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (Hab 3:17,18). What a response to have even when all around is going wrong and it all seems so confusing. These words are echoed by Paul writing from a harsh jail – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil 4:4). It was not because there was an absence of problems but in spite of them; life in the natural was a disaster yet the decision was made to praise God. Circumstances should not control our feelings but our faith should be grounded in the conviction that God is in control and His ability to work out what is best for us. Praise lifts our eyes from our problems with the ‘gloom and doom’ onto the miracle working God (Hab 3:19).
See also: Babylon, Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, patience, prophets, questions, sovereignty of God.