Summary: Habakkuk chronicles God’s answers to a prophet during a time of global uncertainty, economic recession & social instability, similar to what we are going through today. People in those days were like those today who wake up every morning with fear & anx
A PROPHET VOICES QUESTIONS
The Book of Habakkuk chronicles God’s answers to a prophet during a time of global uncertainty, economic recession and social instability, similar to what we are going through today. People in those days were like those today who wake up every morning with fear and anxiety in their hearts.
Even those without degrees in economics are becoming familiar with such terms as bank runs, stock market crash, default and risk indicators. Anxiety spikes as economists and TV news personalities forecast discouragement that lead to increase depression and even suicide. The church is not immune to the swing generated by these events.
I pray that as we study Habakkuk it will be a source of inspiration and a guide for facing these situations that are beyond our control. Habakkuk teaches that though we cannot always change our circumstances, we can change our attitude toward them. God wants us to pay attention to what is going on but not to worry, for He is not missing from this time in which we have been called to live. What we see as a tragedy, God see as a great opportunity. As the apparent security offered by comfort and consumption fades, people are more open to seeking spiritual truth. [“Facing the Financial Crisis” by Pedro Lapadjian; Decision: Jan 2009] Habakkuk will answers many of their sincere question that come from the society in which we have been raised.
The enemy of the church today is Humanism which wants to remove society from traditional moral judgements into relativism where man’s decisions are the only correct ones. It asks questions like: Why are things in life and history so mixed up if a sovereign Lord is in charge and moving it from a starting point to an ending point? If God is so real and so involved why can we not see His involvement more? Why is there so much violence and evil in the world where such a good and powerful God, who is supposed to love us, is in charge? The Book of Habakkuk will speak to these issues. Though it was written around 606 B.C. it is a Book for our times.
Life is filled with questions. From children to university professors come the asking of how, why and when. Not all questions are answered to our expectation. We can either doubt and live in uncertainty or we can come up with our own answers and become proud or we can ignore the questions and become cynical and hard hearted. The best option is that we live by faith and continue looking for answers.
Habakkuk was troubled by all the sin, oppression and violence. He wondered why the righteous suffer, and why evil men prospered. If God is God, why does He tolerate injustice? Why doesn’t He do something? Habakkuk saw a sin-sick, dying world and it broke His heart so he seeks God and asks God the tough questions. In this unique book, Habakkuk will dialogue with God. May we listen to His complaint that we might later learn from God’s responses. Now listen to the profound question Habakkuk boldly brings to God and realize that you too can bring your complaints and inquiries to Him.
I. Why Does God Seem Indifferent to our Pleas, 1-2.
II. Why Does God Seem Insensitive to Sin & Suffering, 3-4.
Verse one tells us the author of the book or oracle and what prompted him to write it. The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
Little is known of Habakkuk. His name means embraced or embracer (wrestler). Internal data within the book leads commentators to believe he lived in Judah during the reign of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36-24:5) which would make him a contemporary of Nahum, Zephaniah and Jeremiah. He prophesied during the fall of the Assyrian Empire (610 BC) and the final Babylonian invasion of Judah in 588 BC. He was the last of the minor prophets to preach in Judah. Habakkuk is called a prophet in the title. Only two other books begin by so designating the proclaimer (Zechariah & Haggai) a prophet. Habakkuk the prophet seems to be sufficient naming for this apparently well known prophet for no other data is given.
The reigning king in Judah, Jehoiakim, is described by the prophet Jeremiah this way: "your eyes and your heart are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, and on shedding innocent blood and on practicing oppression and extortion" (Jer. 22:17; Hab. 1:2-4; 2 Kings 23:34-24:5).
Habakkuk was perplexed that God was letting evil increase and not punishing it, so the Lord commissions him to work through his difficulties and to further reveal His ways to His people.
The prophet called the writing a massa, a burden translated oracle in the NAS. The noun is derived from the verb meaning to lift up. Consequently it signifies what is lifted up, and thus a concerned need or burden. The oracle was seen in a vision by Habakkuk while in the temple in Jerusalem where he is a prophet-musician (3:19d) during a time of violent national and international upheaval.