Summary: Habakkuk's faith in God is put to the test as he tries to uncover exactly what God is up to.
If you have ever been on a rollercoaster then you’ve experienced the excitement, the thrill, the exhilaration of the ride. Or maybe for some of you, you’ve had that nauseating, upsetting feeling. On a rollercoaster there are ups and downs, twist and turns, loops and fast speeds. But for 1 and a half to two minutes through all the adventure of the ride you hold on and remain in the safety of the seat. And at the end you turn to your friend and say “let’s do it again.” Well, today we’re going to take a ride. It will be a rollercoaster sort of journey through the life of the prophet Habakkuk. Habakkuk himself experienced an emotional and spiritual as he dialoged with God about the soon coming future of Israel. So please sit back, fasten all seat buckles, secure all loose objects and please keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times. Are you ready for the ride?
The structure of the book of Habakkuk is very unique. It is the only book among the prophets in which the prophet himself never speaks before a nation to proclaim the word of God. Instead we find Habakkuk having a one on one dialogue with God. There is a conversation that is taking place. When was the last time you dialogued with God? When was the last time there was a conversation between you and your Father. I’m not talking about a simple night time prayer or a blessing over the meal. But a heart to heart dialogue where you sat in the presence of God not only to cast your cares and concerns upon him but to hear attentively to him; to receive his revelation, his word; to get understanding and guidance for your life. This is where we find Habakkuk; in this type of conversation with God.
During this time in history Judah, the southern kingdom of the nation of Israel, had just experienced a time of peace and prosperity, a time of reform and restoration during the reign of king Josiah. These days were glorious and marked with economic prosperity, social stability and spiritual revival. Josiah reigned for 31 years. But after his death he was succeeded by his sons. And so there is a shift that takes place in Judah. No longer is there peace within the nation but rather people have turned to violence and injustice against one another. There is perversion and wickedness in the land. And in the midst of national chaos, is where we find our man Habakkuk. He is a prophet to whom God reveals his plan for the judgment and destruction of Judah.
Read verses 1:2-4
Here it is, our first look at Habakkuk and what do we find him doing? He is questioning God. What nerves Habakkuk has questioning God. What boldness, what guts he has. He seems a bit angry and frustrated that God has not done anything about violence and wickedness in the land. But before we go to condemning Habakkuk, let’s examine ourselves. We have often asked the same questions as Habakkuk and even more; Why do you God allow such injustice and perversion in this world? Why am I the one that has cancer? Why would you allow the execution of a seemingly innocent man for a crime he didn’t commit? Why does it seem that those in the world are being blessed while I’m struggling even though I’ve been faithful? These are questions that run through our mind and gets us upset and frustrated because we don’t understand exactly what God is up to. They are not questions that criticize or attack God’s person or his character but rather they are addressed towards God’s plan and purpose, the things that we don’t seem to understand. Habakkuk finds himself angry, frustrated and impatient with God. He finds himself questioning God at a time when everything seemed to be going wrong and nothing was right. I don’t know about you but there have been times when I have been so angry, so frustrated and so impatient with God because things weren’t going my way and at times I thought God wasn’t even listening to me. I felt like giving up. I felt like throwing in the towel. Every question was “why God?” The good news is that God can handle your questions. He’s not got off guard. He’s not stumped by your questions even in your frustration. Then God answers Habakkuk. He says this is what I’m going to do.
Read verse 1:5-7
God says I got an answer to your question. (Be careful when you question God, you might just get an answer.) He says, I’m going to raise up the Babylonians, a nation that is bent on conquest, a nation that wipes out everyone and everything in its path. They are the ones who will overtake this entire region including Judah. God says I’m going to allow king Neb to seize and destroy Jerusalem. That’s God’s answer for Habakkuk.