Summary: This is the first in a series on the Book of Habakkuk. It speaks to us about going to God in prayer, and trusting in Him when He seems silent.
Habakkuk Series (Part One)
Text: Habakkuk 1:1-5
Well Good Morning everyone. It’s good to see you here this morning, and it’s good to be in the House of the Lord – Amen! We’re starting a new series on the Book of Habakkuk this morning. Now I know what you’re thinking… “Habakkuk – that’s the book of the Bible that everyone loves, and everyone knows hundreds of verses from Habakkuk. It’s most people’s favorite book in the entire Bible…” Ok, ok, I’m being a little cynical. The truth is – it’s probably been awhile since you’ve looked at the Book of Habakkuk. It’s not one of those books we turn to a lot. But… it’s where the Lord has led me to preach from for the next few weeks… and maybe even the next few months.
So again; Habakkuk is not what we’d call a “well known” book of the Bible, and I’ve never actually heard anyone say that Habakkuk was their favorite book in the Bible. I mean; after all, he’s a minor prophet, and he’s often overshadowed by guys like Isaiah, and Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, but just so everyone is clear – that term “minor prophet” doesn’t have anything to do with how important a prophet was… it has to do with how long their book was. If it is a long book in the Bible, they’re called a major prophet, and if their book is short, they’re called a minor prophet. So the minor prophets are just as important as the major prophets. They’re still speaking for God, to God’s people. Something else you might want to take note of… when the prophets of the Old Testament spoke and gave prophecies, they weren’t always speaking to the same groups of people. Some of them were before the exile – in other words, before the Babylonian captivity. Some of them were during the exile, that would be when God’s people were enslaved by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, and the Persians… and some of them were prophesying after the exile. The books of Hosea and Amos were written to the nation of Israel... and Lamentations, Micah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Zephaniah and Habakkuk (the one we’re looking at) were all written to Judah. Both Jonah and Nahum were actually to the Assyrians… And Obadiah was directed to Edom. And some of them, like Malachi were written specifically to the city of Jerusalem, but not necessarily to the nation.
Now Habakkuk writes this book right around 609 BC… in other words, right before Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians come down and wipe out Assyria and eventually Jerusalem as well… so it’s right before the people of Judah are taken into captivity.
And really; when you get right to it, this book is about having faith. Having faith, even when you don’t understand… even when you don’t see the whole picture. It’s about trusting that God is good, no matter what, and trusting that He’s in control, even when it seems like He’s not. In-fact; if you look with me really quickly to chapter 2:4, at the last part of that verse, that’s the key to the whole book (READ). Later on its quoted in the Book of Romans, and then later Galatians, and then in Hebrews. “The Just Shall Live By Faith.”
So this is a book about faith… having faith and keeping the faith, even when your world gets turned upside down. So let’s go ahead and open our Bible’s up to Habakkuk 1:1 – 5 (READ).
Now this passage starts out by giving us a lot of information… information that you wouldn’t see unless you were really looking closely for it. So for example: That word “oracle” there… it’s the Hebrew word “massah”. It literally means a burden or a heavy load. So it’s an “oracle” a vision or message from God, but it’s also a heavy load on Habakkuk once he sees it and hears it. In other words, God speaks to him and gives him this prophecy, and it’s a heavy thing for Habakkuk to bear. And here’s why… Habakkuk… in these verses we just read, is talking and praying to God and he’s saying, “God, this world is messed up. This world is wicked, and evil, and corrupt, and full of hate and violence, and full of selfishness, and sin… and I’ve been praying to you, but it seems like you’re far away from me God. It seems like you’re not hearing, or listening to my prayers. And God I know you’re a good God. I know you care about your people. I know that you can fix things, and change things… but it seems like this world is on fire and you’re not doing anything.”
That’s what Habakkuk is saying… and it’s a burden to him, because he doesn’t understand why God seems so distant and so unconcerned with what’s going on in the world.