Summary: Sermon Series on Habakkuk
Passage: Habakkuk 1:1-11
Title: Can I Question God? (Part 1)
OPENING: Earth looks great from a satellite but up close it can look a little forbidding with chaos, tragedies, trials and tension with the human race – like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. In hardship people ask, “Why so much oppression, injustice, evil men prospering and suffering of the righteous? Why doesn’t God do something to clean up this mess?” Three things to start…
• LOCATION (Habakkuk 1:1): Habakkuk is likely written in a time of great unrest within Judah. Josiah reigned as a good king who would only die leaving his son and others who were wicked to take the throne. Nineveh is destroyed leaving the rise of Babylon to power after rebelling against Assyria, crushing their Empire and proceeding to defeat the once-powerful Egyptians. Habakkuk appeared in the twilight, just before the darkness of the captivity writing in a time of decay, violence, greed, fighting, and perverted justice.
• AUTHOR: Habakkuk (means “love’s embrace”) signifies one who embraces another, takes him into his arms. He embraces his people and takes them to his arms, comforting them and holding them up like a weeping child, quieting it with assurance that, if God wills, it shall soon be better. While little is know of Habakkuk, we know He is a poetical/musical prophet penning one of the most piercing books of the OT.
• THEME: Habakkuk is a song about faith. “The just shall live by faith” (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). While there is gloom in the opening, it closes in glory. Habakkuk big on the “why’s”; Why God permits evil? Will God straighten out injustice? Is God doing anything about the wrongs of the world? Yes. He. Will. He will turn doubt into devotion, confusion into confidence, worry into worship, fear to faith, terror to trust and anguish into adoration. It is a book that answers the question, “Can I question God?”
Habakkuk’s Questions (Habakkuk 1:1-4)
• Explanation: Habakkuk begins much like Nahum (prophet) in relation to Nineveh and fall of Assyria (Nah. 1:1; 3:18). The word “burden” (1) translated “oracle” means, “a command or revelation from God”. Thus the revelation Habakkuk sees is in relation to the destruction of Judah, Jerusalem and judgment of God upon His people and Babylonians to which Habakkuk questions why God would permit evil…
o Question #1: Why God Doesn’t Answer Prayer” (2-3) – Habakkuk, prayed for what seems to be a long time and feels God refuses to answer. He sees violence and thinks God is not doing (or saying) anything about it. This starts a conversation where Habakkuk questions God asking, “how long shall I cry, and you will not hear?” (2)
? NOTE: Put yourself in Habakkuk’s shoes, he has seen massive idolatry rein and God’s people on the verge of revival. It’s frustrating and thus you and I would ask the same questions…
o Question #2: Why is there’s No Justice (4) – While Habakkuk feels God isn’t answering prayer, He also feels God’s law is being ignored and there is no justice as the wicked seem to be in control and the righteous in trouble.
? NOTE: We do the same. When we feel like the prayers for justice/judgment go unanswered we feel like the law of God is “slacked” (ceased to exists).
Habakkuk questions how/why God ignores things.
• Illustration: We, like Habakkuk, wonder why God seems silent and there’s no justice.
• Application: Before we see the answer to those questions, we must realize first that Habakkuk went to God to “complain” about his troubles/ troubles of his people. Habakkuk asked “How long?” and “Why?”. Do you do that?
o Application = Ask Away! - There is nothing wrong with asking for wisdom. If we don't understand, we need to pray for wisdom as it says in James chapter 1, believing that God will give it to us. In pain, sorrow, hurt or fear we MUST press into God as there are answers to difficult questions (James 1 – you learn something about you and something about God is all situations). God will always answer… in His time ad in His ways as we will see…
God’s Answer(s) (Habakkuk 1:5-11)
• Explanation: The Lord answers Habakkuk saying that He hasn’t ignored the wickedness of Judah (or other nation). First things first, note that God heard Habakkuk and responds!
o Answer #1: God DOES Answer Prayers, In HIS Ways (5-8) - God is (1) a God of patience, grace, mercy, love, kindness, etc. (Jonah 4:2; Nah. 1:3) but also (2) a God “full of wrath… taking vengeance on His adversaries” (Nah. 1:2).
? Background: Judah (and Nations) would experience destruction. God being patient and sovereign was preparing the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to come and take Judah captive. The Chaldeans would be terribly dreaded among the nations because of their fierce battle movements and tactics, “As eagles swooping down on helpless prey so the Chaldeans shall devour the nations.” (7-8) Since God is responsible for raising this “bitter and hasty nation that marches through the breadth of the earth taking possession of all lands” it was pointless to resist. Jeremiah told Judah over and over that not only should they not resist Babylon but that it would be utterly useless to do so (Jer. 27:12).