Summary: Seeing the vision of God and hearing the voice of God made a tremendous difference in Habakkuk’s life. We also need to strive to see what it is that God has for us and listen for His guiding direction
It’s Not Fair
This chapter reports an experience Habakkuk had that is similar to one recorded by the psalmist Asaph in Psalm 73. He was bewildered at the providential working of God in the world: he was disturbed because the wicked seemed to be prospering while the righteous were suffering. Habakkuk reasoned with God, and then gave God the opportunity to reply.
Let’s look in on Habakkuk as he stood on the watch tower, which was his sanctuary and listen to what the Lord said to him. When God did speak to His servant, He gave him three responsibilities to fulfill.
I. Write God’s Vision (vv. 1-3)
a. In ancient days, the watchmen wee responsible to warn the city of approaching danger.
i. If they weren’t faithful, their hands would be stained with the blood of the people who died.
ii. It was a serious responsibility
b. The image of the watchmen carries a spiritual lesson for us today.
i. As God’s people, we know that danger is approaching and it’s our responsibility to warn people to flee from the wrath to come.
ii. If we don’t share the Gospel with lost sinners, then their blood may be on our hands.
iii. We should all what to be able to say like Paul, “I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men.” Acts 20:26
c. You get the impression that Habakkuk was fearful of what the Lord might say to him because of His complaint.
i. God graciously answered though and gave him the vision he needed to turn his worrying into worshipping.
ii. When you behold the glory of God and believe the Word of God, it gives you faith to accept the Will of God.
d. We wouldn’t be studying Habakkuk today if he had not obeyed God’s orders and written down God’s vision for him.
i. It was to be permanent so that generation after generation could read it.
ii. It was to be plain, written so that anybody would read it.
iii. It was to be public, so that even somebody running past could get the message.
II. Trust God’s Word (vv. 4-5)
a. The contrast here is between people of faith and people who arrogantly trust themselves and leave God out of their lives.
b. The Sinners
i. The immediate audience here was the Babylonians
ii. The Babylonians, just like the people of today’s society were “puffed up” with pride.
1. Pride twists people inwardly
2. Their inner appetites are crooked and sinful; they delight in the things that God detest.
iii. Pride also makes people restless, they’re never satisfied.
1. That’s whey they’ve given over to wine, never at rest, never satisfied.
2. They’re constantly seeking for some new achievement to make them important.
iv. Pride make us greedy
c. The Just
i. We shall live by faith
1. This is the first of three wonderful assurances that God gives to encourage us.
2. It emphasizes God’s grace because grace and faith always go together.
ii. God’s glory (v. 14)
1. Assures us that, though this world is now filled with violence and corruption it shall one day be filled with God’s glory.
iii. God’s government (v. 20)
1. Empires may rise and fall, but God is on His throne.
2. “The just shall live by his faith”, was the watchword of the Reformation and they may well be the seven most important words in all of church history.
d. the Victory
i. We are not only to be saved by faith, but we are instructed to live by faith.
ii. “This is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith” 1 John 5:4
iii. Faith is a lifestyle that is just the opposite of pride.
III. Declare God’s Judgment (vv. 6-20)
a. To the faithful Jews in the land, God would be a refuge and strength, but to the godless Babylonians invading the land, He would be a judge and eventually punish their sins and give them what they deserved.
b. In verses 6-20, God pronounces five different sins in this “taunt song”, all of which are prevalent in the world today.
i. Selfish ambition (vv. 6-8)
ii. Covetousness (vv. 9-11)
iii. Exploitation of people (vv. 12-14)
iv. Drunkenness and violence (vv. 15-17)
v. Idolatry (vv. 18-20)
c. Speak out
Seeing the vision of God and hearing the voice of God made a tremendous difference in Habakkuk’s life. We also need to strive to see what it is that God has for us and listen for His guiding direction. But all the while we must guard ourselves with the assurances that God has given to both Habakkuk and us today, that we may not be worriers, but worshippers.