Summary: Leaning how to develop a strong faith during hard times.
I can’t understand why some things happen as they do. It seems that people with the finances to hire the most famous attorneys are much more likely to go free than those who must be represented by assigned public defenders. I become cynical about justice because neither guilt nor innocence seems to be a factor in the outcome.
In matters of health, it seems that there is no rhyme or reason as to who gets sick and who stays healthy. I know that, statistically, people who practice their Christian faith live longer than those who don’t, but this doesn’t help much when everyday I see devout Christians suffering inexplicable misery.
Habakkuk seems to be one of those avoided books of the Bible. Perhaps because most people can’t pronounce it, even fewer can spell it. It is an important book, however, not only for its prophetic significance with God. Its three chapters, 56 verses in all, trace the spiritual progress of the prophet Habakkuk and show his emergence from a period of deep concern and confusion to a climactic peak of joy and victory. Even though this little book opens in gloom, it closes in glory. It begins with a question mark and closes with an exclamation point.
In chapter two, we have that great declaration which found its way into three books of the New Testament: “The just shall live by faith.”
In reviewing the Book of Habakkuk, four things are immediately noticeable: The prophet was a man with problems; he was a man of prayer; he was a man of faith; and he was a man of song. Habakkuk, an obscure prophet that lived 600 years before Christ. Few people knew where he came from or where he went; who his parents were; or the nature of his calling.
These were turbulent and uncertain times in Judah, times of spiritual delinquency, injustice, oppression, violence, and wickedness. They were times of political instability and national crisis. Good King Josiah had been slain on the battlefield by the Egyptian Pharaoh Necho. Jehoahaz, Josiah’s son was installed as King, but he was deposed three months later by Necho, who installed Jehoiakim as King. Jehoiakim was a weak and wicked king whom the prophet Jeremiah rebuked by saying. "Thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence to do it”(Jerm 22:17).
In addition to moral, spiritual, and political bankruptcy throughout the land, the threat of war became increasingly predictable as the rolling war machines of Babylon ground nation after nation into the dust. It was against this backdrop that throws Habakkuk into doubts, confusion, and even accusations against God. This giant web of frustration so entangled him that he soon felt God didn’t even care. Listen as he voices his concerns,: “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! The prophet Habakkuk began his prophecy by questioning God about why things were as they were. Habakkuk saw the people turning their backs on God and what he saw frightened him. He list a catalog of sins, as he denounce God’s indifference to wrongdoing. Violence and injustice reign throughout society. The Torah is not taught or obeyed, and the poor are judged with a different set of rules than the wealthy.
In chapters one and two, we see Habakkuk pouring out his complaints before God. From where he sat the nation was dying; obedience to God was optional; justice was jettisoned; morals were missing; and the law was limited. Not only was there corruption in the government, but also there was moral, ethical, and spiritual decay. There was a breach in the covenant relationship between God and the people. Right looked like wrong; and wrong looked like right.
Unlike Jeremiah and the other prophets who stood before the people for God, Habakkuk stood before God for the people. Habakkuk wanted to know just like some of us today want to know, why the wicked go unpunished and how long God will allow this wickedness to go unanswered. When would God step in and right this perverse situation? Habakkuk wanted to know why the rascals of the world have everything and God’s people have nothing. Why are the wicked seemly is being blessed. Why does He permit the rich to get richer?
Why is it that the average person is bearing the burden of taxation and inflation? People getting by with sin, and God is seemingly doing nothing about it. That was the psalmist’s question in Psalm 73:2,3” “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Why does God permit evil men and women to prosper?