Summary: From a short two-session in depth Bible Study on Habakkuk...
Nothing is really certain of the prophet Habakkuk. Even his name is a mystery
because it has no real Hebrew origin or meaning. It could be derived from an ancient
non-Hebrew word meaning dwarf or he could be named after a plant. One ancient
manuscript (the legend of Bel and the Dragon) references a person named Habakkuk as a
priest. The style is viewed by some to be in the lamentation/prayer style that was used
on the Day of Atonement which would also lead credence to the idea of Habakkuk being
a prophet of priestly origins.
Despite the lack of knowledge about the books’ author, we know that from
ancient times, Habakkuk has been a book that has not suffered the questioning of its
inspiration and inclusion with Scripture.
Habukkuk is different from many prophetic writings because it begins with a word
from the prophet rather than the Lord- Habakkuk cries out and God responds. It ends
with a Psalm which celebrates in God’s strength and righteousness.
Verses 1-4 HABAKKUK’S COMPLAINT- “GOD- CAN’T YOU SEE?”
The complaint suggests that Habakkuk has spent a great deal of time in prayer
seeking God’s response. He feels as if his call for help has gone unheeded. He feels as if
God has ignored the status of the nation.
He uses graphic words to get God’s attention:
Violence Injustice Wrong Destruction Strife Conflict
A PARALYZED Justice System
righteous surrounded by the wicked as justice is PERVERTED
In other words, his complaint is that things are rotten all over, and getting worse.
He reminds God that he is waiting for an answer to his prayers, but the answers seem
long in coming and he wonders aloud how much longer he will have to wait.
Habakkuk’s cry to God may seem similar to that of the disciples in the boat right
before Jesus calmed the terrible storm that they were in. “Lord, don’t you care that
we’re about to perish?”
Often, the devil points at the circumstances of life to try to mislead us about the
nature of God. He shouts, “God’s not doing anything.” He points at God and says, “See,
He doesn’t care about you.”
The truth is that God has not fallen asleep and forgotten about His people. The
truth is that God is quite concerned about each and every one of us. While the devil
tries to use circumstances to malign and slander God’s character and nature, our human
emotions sometimes tend to agree with Satan’s slanderous allegations and allow the evil
one to plant doubt and fear in our heart.
Verses 5-11: GOD’S RESPONSE: “I AM NOT IGNORING YOUR PROBLEMS!”
God’s response is that he is about to do something amazing. He is not inactive as
Habakkuk implies, but is already at work preparing the judgement of His people. He
states he is raising up the Chaldeans (who at this point of time were being formed into
the Babylonian Empire).
Why would Habakkuk be amazed at this? God had already stated that Habakkuk
would be amazed by what God was doing and would have trouble believing it.
First, the Babylonians were NOBODYs! The real threat the Jews
could see at this point was the nation of Assyria.
Second, the Babylonians were even more evil than the people
that Habakkuk was already complaining to God about.
Look carefully at the descriptive words God uses to describe the character, power
and might of the Babylonians:
vs. 6 ruthless and impetuous
Taking what is not theirs
vs. 7 dreaded and feared people
have their own law
vs. 8 Powerful Calvary (infantry could not stand up to Cavalry in those days)
vulture (unclean scavenger bird)
vs. 9 bent on violence (difficult to make peace with)
no stopping them (like the Mongolian invaders of later times)
vs. 10 enjoy humiliating their ROYAL enemies
unintimidated by fortified cities (skilled at the art of sieging)
After taking the time to describe the power or might of their calvary, God
establishes that the one thing that could stop a Cavalry attack (a fortification) will not
prove effective because these are siegemasters.
vs. 11 They won’t be around forever (they sweep on past)
They are guilty
They worship their own strength (which, though substantial is nothing
compared to the strength of God)
By the time Habakkuk had finished hearing this message from the Lord he must
have been horrified. He answers God.
Verses 1:12-2:1 HABAKKUK COMPLAINS AGAIN!
Habakkuk answers God, calling him by His Holy name (the name he gave
Moses- the name which means the Alpha and Omega-- The God Who was, is and will
be) and makes reference to God’s eternal qualities. It also refers to the the covenant
God has with the Children of Israel.
In faith, Habakkuk declares- “We will not die.” Despite the threat of what was