A Short Overview of Habakkuk
Habakkuk was a prophet who did not understand and the question he asked was very similar to the question many people ask today. Why does God let evil go unpunished? Why does He not rid the world of all evil?
My thoughts on a few verses –
Verses 1:1-4 – The prophet had a burden for God’s holiness. It was as though God was not hearing the prophet’s cries to vindicate His holiness. As I read these verses the wickedness of the time seems very similar to the wickedness of 2006 – 2007 in the United States and the world.
Where are the men of God crying out for God to be vindicated? I will. Is it because we understand God’s rule over all, and we know how God will be vindicated in the end? If that were only true; we would still be crying out for God to move us.
“The law is slacked” (v. 4). Certainly sounds a lot like some verdicts judges are handing down to guilty men. A year or so ago a 50 year old man in Nebraska was convicted of sexually assaulting a child and the judge ruled that he was “too short to make it 10 years in prison” So she sentenced him to 10 years of probation.
Chapter 1:13 – It almost seems that the prophet has not yet come to realize the complete sovereignty of God. But, then, God’s sovereignty is no excuse for tolerance of evil.
He knows God’s purity and holiness, and is surprised that God can just let the sin and abuse of God’s people continue by the wicked.
Chapter 2:6, 14, 15 – It seems the prophet is really concerned that God be glorified. He sees God’s people as in need of judgment.
Some are increasing materialy at other’s expense (2:6). There seems to be an evergoing party where drunkenness is practiced and caused by the merchant of “drink” (2:15 & 16).
There are 5 “Woes” mentioned in this chapter. Verses 6, 9 12, 15, and 19
- “Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!” (v. 6).
- “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house…” (v. 9).
- “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood…” (v. 12).
- “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink…” (v. 15).
- “Woe unto him that sayeth to the wood, ‘Awake’…” (v. 19).
Gloriously, there are also 5 promises – 1:5; 2:3, 4, 14, and 20
- “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (1:5).
- “For the vision is yet for an appointed time…, though it tarry wait for it; because it will surely come…” (2:3).
- “But the just shall live by his faith.” (2:4).
- “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14).
- “But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” (2:20). This has to do with the place of God, and being silent, reverent, before Him, “Be still and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46:10).
Chapter 3 – Habakkuk’s prayer for God’s glory.
In verse 2 He asks God “Revive Thy work in the midst of the years…” and “…In wrath remember mercy”. In his prayer, the prophet has three requests. The first and third already listed, but the second one is that God manifest Himself to His people, “In the midst of the years make known” I believe referring to the ‘Reviv(ing) of Thy work…” previously mentioned. God’s glory will be revealed.
Verses 17 – 19 – The prophet, in the prayer, declares his trust will be in the LORD, even when desolate (v. 17). He declares God as his “strength” and believes the LORD to be his encouragement (vv. 18-19).
The prayer is a Psalm/Song. Note the way this chapter begins and ends “…upon Shigionoth.” Some musical instrument? The final words, “To my chief singer on my stringed instruments.”
There is much more study to do of Habakkuk. There is one thing I see that where he started with a question he ends with God.
-Tim A. Blankenship