Written in the Old Testament period when only Judah was left alone.
Habakkuk means ’embrace’ – to hold close.
Luther said about him:
“He speaks as one who took his nation to his heart, comforted and held them up as one embraces and presses to his bosom a poor, weeping child – calming and consoling it with good hope.”
This is what our nation and the world needs now.
We need leaders who hold up God’s people to Him saying:
Here they are Lord, afraid. Hold them, comfort them!
Habakkuk had a Burden (chapter 1), a Vision (chapter 2) and a Prayer (chapter 3). Instead of just speaking to the people as prophet, Habakkuk also spoke to God about the people.
- His Burden – faith grappling with difficulties
He laments with the rule of wickedness and violence in his nation, but also inside of himself, and he wept for it. Do you have this weighing heavily upon you? Do we have a burden for what is going on around us? May God give us such a burden.
There is only One who can remedy this – God.
If we trust Him, He will.
Habakkuk raises a question saying why.
God answers, saying that He is not indifferent, but doing things that will be hard to understand, but that He’s doing it for His glory.
His second question is how can God use wicked people.
- His Vision – faith grasping the solution
a. The just shall life by faith:
Knowing, agreeing with and trusting God.
b. God will judge the proud, and deal with the nations that oppress His people. Those who do not do what is just, not doing what God bids them to do: God will deal with them! Habakkuk announces woes against those who act cruelly and give themselves over to idolatry. Woe to those who worship that in which there is no breath at all!
The Lord is in His holy temple and before Him the whole earth should keep silence.
God says these woes to people who think they can rule over others in an unruly way. We should tell them that they are playing with the God of heaven, who says woe!
What shall we do then? Pray like Habakkuk did.
- His Prayer – faith glorying in assurance:
a. He petitions God to revive His works, and in His wrath to remember mercy.
b. He praises God for His past deliverance. asking for judgement to the wicked, but to remember mercy, loving our enemies.
c. He professes his faith, trembling at what he heard from God.
We tend to think that the answer from God will always be sweet, but what if God gives you an answer that makes you tremble? This is what Habakkuk experienced.
He also heard that he would have rest in the day of trouble (3:16).
He expresses his faith that while trouble may come, he will rejoice in the Lord who will be his strength (3:17…).
These verses are where we find one of the greatest expressions of faith that you can find anywhere.
What do we learn?
- The universal supremacy of God’s judgement upon the wicked – whether His own people or their enemies.
- Evil is self-destructive.
- The fact of divine discipline. Suffering is disciplinary, making the individual and the nation better. We will get through this, and it will make us stronger.
Our faith must not be a shallow faith – it must be like that expressed by Habakkuk.