The Law and Faith

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:10-11 (KJB)

From John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible on Galatians 3:11…

But that no man is justified,…. There are some that are justified, as all God’s elect are, in his own mind and will from eternity; which will of his to justify them, upon the righteousness of his Son, undertook by him to bring in, is their justification in the court of heaven; and all that believe in Christ are openly and manifestly justified in the court of conscience, under the testimony of the Spirit of God: but no one is justified

by the law; it is in the Greek text, “in the law”; there were many justified before the law was given, as Noah, Job, Abraham, and all the Ante-Mosaic believers; and there were many justified “in”, or under the legal dispensation; but none of them were justified by their obedience to the law, but by the righteousness they believed they had in the Lord: especially no man is justified

in the sight of God; who sees the heart, knows the spring of actions, and whose judgment is according to truth; that is, by the law and the deeds of it, however they may before men:

it is evident; it is a clear case, out of all dispute, as appears from Hab_2:4

for the just shall live by faith; which may be read either, “the just by faith, shall live”: that is, the man who is just by faith, or justified by faith, not by it as a principle or act, or as the cause or matter of his justification, but by the object of his faith, Christ and his righteousness apprehended by faith, and so not just or justified by works; he shall live a life of justification, through that righteousness his faith receives; he shall live comfortably, with much peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, as the result of his being justified by faith; and shall live eternally, and never die the second death: or the “just shall live by faith”; he that is righteous, not by his own works, but by the obedience of Christ, shall live not upon faith, but by it on Christ, and his righteousness, which is revealed from faith to faith; and this makes it a clear point, that he is not justified by the law, for if he was, he would not live by faith on Christ, but in and by the deeds of the law.”

Since the law cannot save, and was never intended to save but rather to be a “school master” to show us our need of a savior. Points us to Jesus Christ as the Savior of all who will call on His name.

The Righteous and Just One became sin for us on the cross that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and He rose again.

Let the Earth Keep Silence

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. But the LORD is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20 (KJV)

Habakkuk was a prophet like others, and other people who have asked the question “Where is God in the matter of justice?”; or “Why does God not judge wickedness?”  I have noticed in reading these questions, and having asked them myself a time or two, that God never gives a direct answer, but always takes us to Himself.

God had told this prophet that He was basically judging evil, even by using an evil king and nation to do it.  I have learned that if we want to know about evil and justice, then we first need to look inward.

With Habakkuk, the LORD was showing that this nation which He was using to chastise His own people was idol worshipers.  They would one day find out that they were going to experience justice as well; the judgment of God.

Every idol will one day be exposed for what it is.  There is idolatry in every nation on earth; yes, even the U. S. of A.  We have an idol in New York harbor, that we hold more dear than we do the word of the LORD.  We revere the words of physicians over the word of the LORD.  We hold the word of financiers as more valuable than the word of the LORD.  We value science over the word of the LORD.  These idols will one day come crashing down.

However, “…The LORD is in His holy temple…”, and that is speaking of His heavenly throne, and in this world His temple is also within those who have believed in Him through His Son Jesus, and the cross, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God, God the Son (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Let the children of God, all Christians, cast off the works of the flesh, and put on the garments of salvation (Romans 13:12, 14; Galatians 3:27), and show forth the glory of Jesus our Lord and Savior.  This would be revival in the truest sense of the word.

When God’s people repent of their sins, and come out of the world, then by the grace and power of God, there will be change in the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of the earth.

 

Christmas Day Ninety and Eight

What do I want for Christmas today?

I want to always be aware, watching and knowing that the answers God gives to life’s perplexing questions are of greater value than any that men, women or their philosophies can give.

“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” Habakkuk 2:1 (NKJV)

Music, Singing and GOD

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.  O LORD, I have heard Thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”  Habakkuk 3:1-2 (KJV)

There is much that could be said about music and singing and for that matter GOD.  Habakkuk, at the beginning of his prophecy was asking questions.  It was like he was blaming God for not watching over His people, protecting them, but letting the enemies of the earth run rough shod over them.

At the end of his prophecy he uses a term which is probably related to music somehow.  It is not quite clear what the meaning of “Shigionoth” is.  God, however, must enjoy music and singing; and I know that the human race enjoys it very well.  Billions of dollars have been spent on buying recordings over the past 50 years in order for us to be able to drive down the road, put in a tape, a CD, plug in an iPod, or a jump drive, and listen to our hearts content.

Yesterday morning I heard on a radio program that NASA has discovered a “Plasma ring” around our planet; and within that ring are radio waves.  Evidently NASA sent up listening devices, and recorded sounds within that Plasma ring.  It almost sounds like a form of music.  Our Creator has made the earth to sing.

For more from Habakkuk you may want to follow this link to a post from February 28, 2008 here at Fire and Hammer.

The greatest song ever sung was in the death of God’s only begotten Son dying to pay the sin debt of the human race.

-T.A.

Day 65 – Who Is Like the LORD?

We hear many people speak of “Justice”, “Right” or “Rights”, and the world is filled with injustice, and unrighteousness; and none of us are completely innocent of either.  We love seeing the hungry fed, the poor and/or homeless given shelter and even finding prosperity in their paths of life.  Is it injustice that makes people poor; or unrighteousness that causes a family to go hungry or  without shelter?  My answer to that is NO!  Circumstances in life can have an affect on an individual’s misfortune; or that of a families homelessness and poverty.

One thing we can be certain of and that is that there is no injustice, or unrighteousness in or with our GOD, the Lord of creation.  My reading began in the Minor Prophet of Micah, and concluded with Habakkuk with Nahum in between.  My reading only consisted of 13 chapters today.  That is where those five extra days at the end will help make up the difference.

Micah is a prophet who calls for his listeners to “Hear”.  In verses 1:2; 2:1, 9; 6:1 the prophet Micah calls for the people to “Hear”.   He calls on the religious leaders to hear, the political leaders, and the people to “Hear”.  We need to hear what Micah has to say.  Micah’s name means, “Who is like the LORD?”

“The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  Hear, all ye people; hearken, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the Lord from His holy temple.  For, behold, the LORD cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.  And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.” Micah 1:1-4 (KJV)

By the first verse we can tell that Micah was a contemporary with Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos.  The LORD is a witness against all injustice and unrighteousness.

How many times have you heard someone say, “Life is not fair”, or “That’s just not fair” or some other “fair” statement.  NO! Life is not fair.  God is however Just and Righteous; and we can depend on and trust Him to do what is right, just and holy.  He calls on His people to live that way too.  The LORD is not pleased when He sees injustice and unrighteousness, especially in those who call themselves “children of God”.

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.  And many nations shall come, and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” Micah 4:1-2

Micah is a prophet with a prophecy of promise.  A day is coming when nations will “flow” unto the “Mountain of the house of the LORD”.  “Flow” seems like a thing that a river would do within its banks.  It is a natural thing for a river to flow.  It is a natural thing for the people of God to flow to the place where God is, yet it is by the power of God that we are able to flow there.  Who is like the LORD?

We can see this question; though not stated as we read Nahum and Habakkuk.

In Nahum we have written,

“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.  He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth.  The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.  Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him.  The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in him.   But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies.” Nahum 1:3-8 (KJV)

The prophecy of Nahum is written to Nineveh, that same city that God had sent the prophet Jonah to about 100 or so years previous to Nahum’s prophecy; and the city had repented, and God withheld judgment.  However, now judgment was coming because of their sinful brutality and wickedness;

“Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; the noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.  The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses: because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.  ‘Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; ‘and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.  And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.  And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, ‘Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?'” Nahum 3:1-7

Though Habakkuk asked the timeless question, “How can a holy God allow evil to continue?” he still comes to the conclusion like the others.  “Who is like the LORD?”  This prophecy is a debate, of sorts, between the prophet and the LORD.  Of course in a debate such as that there is only one winner of the debate; however the one who yields to the LORD’S wisdom is a winner too.

Habakkuk’s conclusion of the matter,

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (KJV)

Habakkuk has reached the conclusion that all of God’s people will reach.  God is God.  There is no other.  I will trust in Him when there are no crops; when the blessings are all dried up; when the flocks and the herds are no more.  Who is like the LORD?   There is none like Him.

-Tim A. Blankenship

God of Purer Eyes

Habakkuk 1:12-17

Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.” v. 12 (KJV).

Habakkuk seems to begin to understand the immutable [unchanging] character of God. He even refers to Him as ‘mine Holy One. He realizes that God is definitely going to use these godless people, the Chaldeans to judge His own sinful people. The judgment of God, must begin at the house of God; “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” Ezekiel 9:6 (KJV). NOTE: “and begin at my sanctuary”. In the New Testament Peter says something very similar, and may have had this verse in mind, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV).

The prophet realizes that God is not going to completely destroy Judah, but, he still has questions. Judah will be corrected, and made right with God through the process of cleansing of the fire.

Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” v. 13 (KJV).

Habakkuk also begins to see that God is pure, and recognizes this in Him when he says, “Thou are of purer eyes than to behold evil…”. This is a correct observation by the prophet. It seems, though, that the question is still lingering in his mind. How can God use this wicked people, when He is of purer eyes than to look on iniquity, to judge the people whom He has chosen?

Is the prophet wanting God to judge the sins of Judah? That is my question. If God is of purer eyes than to look on sins of people, surely it must begin with those who are His own. Another question I must ask is, ‘If God does not judge the sins of those who are His, how can He justly judge the sins of those who are wicked?’ In all fairness He cannot. Since the Holy One [using Habakkuk’s words for God] cannot look on sin, because He is of purer eyes, than to do so, He must judge His people’s sins. Especially, when they defiantly wear His name and practice the evil of their hearts.

Maybe Habakkuk is realizing that God is going to have His way in the hearts of His people, and in the hearts of the Chaldeans, as well. It is not God’s plan to wipeout His people, but to cleanse them. However, He will judge, later, those who mistreat His people, and He will do it with vengeance. Woe be to the man, or nation who mistreats the child of God, or the people of God.

For verses 14-17 the MacArthur Study Bible note says, “Lest God had forgotten just how wicked the Chaldeans were, Habakkuk drew attention to their evil character and behavior. Life was cheap to the Chaldeans. In the face of their ruthless tactics of war, other societies were ‘like fish of the sea, like creeping things that have no ruler over them.’ In light of their reputation (vv. 6-10), how could God have unleashed this ruthless force upon another helpless people?” (NKJV version pg.1319).

“And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?” vv. 14-17 KJV).

In looking at the context of verses 14-17 it seems that these, “…wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he” Habakkuk 1:13 (KJV) and, verse 15 would go together. The Babylonian/Chaldeans only see other people and nations as “fish to catch”, a prey to kill. Because they so overwhelm their prey they believe their gods are the ones to worship. This should cause us, I am sure it did the prophet Habakkuk, to realize they have brought shame to the name of GOD.

The prophet sees the people of God, though, defiled by sin, living in sin, and rebellious to God; as being the more righteous (v. 13). He sees the nations, including Judah, as being seen by them like ‘fish of the sea’, and all they [the Chaldeans] have to do is drop a hook or a net and pull them in.

Habakkuk has acknowledged in verse twelve that he realizes that the coming of the Chaldeans is the judgment of God upon an unholy people of Judah; who have forsaken the Lord their God, and worshipping empty vessels.

Sometimes it does seem that trouble just abounds, and comes to us like an enemy taking us like fish from the sea. Like the prophet, though, we can turn to our GOD and trust Him with the questions we may ask. When our faith is in Him, they are not questions of accusation, but, rather questions for faith learning and growing.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Originally published January 12, ’08

God’s Answer to Habakkuk’s Questions

GOD’S ANSWER

“Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.  For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.  They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.  Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.  They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.  And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.  Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.” Habakkuk 1:5-11 (KJV)

The prophet has asked, ‘How long?’ He has even insinuated, possibly, that, the LORD was slack in His duties of being God – particularly Judge.

God gives Habakkuk the answer, but not one he wants to hear. For seven verses God describes to the prophet what He has in mind for the people of Judah.

Basically, God says to Habakkuk, ‘The work you are about to see is going to be beyond your belief’. Notice what God tells the prophet –

Regard – or ‘look intently at’ – this would be a pleasure to those who Judah would call the ‘heathen’;

Wonder marvelously – amazed to the point of confusion.

Really take notice of what I am about to do, what is coming to pass. Mouths will drop open in wonder. Shock will accompany the wonder.

“Though it be told you” How could anyone who knew God think that God would use an unholy people to judge His unholy people.

It seems to me, that we see God’s sovereign hand here. God had intended that His people Judah and Israel be messengers to foreign lands; messengers of His grace, mercy, and goodness; but they had not only failed in that, they had become just as sinful and lawless as the ‘heathen’.

God was going to send some of His holy servants into the very jaws of the lion, the fires of Babylon, for judgment of Judah, and inform Babylon of the one true God.

In verse six God says the Chaldeans are a “Bitter and hasty nation”. By bitter it seems they have a hatred for Judah and ‘hasty’ seems to imply swiftness without much hesitance. They would possess what was not theirs and they would do it with all speed at their beckoning. It would seem particularly speedy since God was initiating the attack.

In our day we tend not to understand how God could use people like this to judge His people. It happens when God’s people have not lived up to the standards He lays out for us, and those standards are in His Word. God is not so concerned with our happiness or health, as much as He is our holiness, and most of all His own glory. He will do whatever it takes, within the attributes of His character, to make us holy. That is what He is doing in the nation of Judah.

The Chaldeans are said to be frightening, and they would put fear in your heart according to verse seven. The New Living Translation says, “They are notorious for their cruelty. They do as they like and no one can stop them”. They would be the source of God’s judgment upon Judah, however, they would get theirs too (See Daniel 5).

In the eighth verse we find that the Chaldeans/Babylonians will come with power and speed. They are also fierce, not only in countenance, but temperment.

Verse nine, violence and conquering is what they have in their minds and heart. They thrive on blood, the blood of their enemy, and that was anyone who got in their way. When you pick up sand in your fingers all of it cannot be kept there. This is almost like a randomness in some ways, but most likely means taking captives in great numbers. Captives of Judah.

Mockery will be on their tongues and in their hearts (vv. 10-11). Captured kings and princes – leaders will be scorned and some will die.

Walls built to resist their attacks will be overthrown by mounds of dirt laid against them. Because of his victory Nebuchadnezzar will attribute his victory to his god.

How pitiful it is when God’s people do not live by God’s Spirit and His Word. We bring shame to His name and pain and reproach to our name. O, how this must have pained the heart of Habakkuk. Do you think he liked the answer? May God forgive me.

This begs the question will God refrain from judging those who turn their backs on the nation of Israel today?  Will He count guiltless those who say that God is finished with Israel?  We could also ask, If this nation called the United States of America, was truly built on Biblical, Christian/Judeao principles and values; will we be any less guilty before God, than was Israel for turning their backs on God?

-Tim A. Blankenship

Originally published January 03, 2008

Habakkuk’s Questions

“The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” Habakkuk 1:1-4 (KJV)

When we think of a burden we think of a load. When you are driving a automobile it has more get up and go when only you, and nothing else, is in it. If you load it down – a truck or car; it just does not have the same performance.

Now, is that the type of “burden” the prophet is writing of. Some translations call this an “oracle”, but it seems to me that there is something more here than mere words. If it is the mere speaking of words, it is an utterance of doom. So why have a problem with “Burden”. To answer the question – it is similar. It was not a physical load. It caused him to ask questions. It eventually caused him to “see God” as righteous in His dealings, and always just in His judgments.

Habakkuk has been accused of accusing God of three different things –

  1. God is indifferent – like He does not even care;

  2. God is inactive – He sees the corruption, sickness and disease, immorality and debauchery, and does nothing about it;

  3. God is inconsistent – He seems to judge wickedness in some cases, but not in the ones the prophet sees.

Are these things so? Is that what Habakkuk really means? These certainly are not true. When we look at these verses it is quite clear that the prophet is speaking to God/YHWH, has these burdens and questions, and really just wants to know what is going on. He does not understand. Like so many of us today, in 2007, we do not understand why it seems that the wicked prosper, and the righteous suffer. The prophet was not really going to like God’s answer either.

The prophet’s first question – “O LORD, how long shall I cry and Thou will not hear?” NOTE: The KJV has these as exclamations. It seems more reasonable to see them as questions. Remember, punctuation was added by others. It is not the inspired text.

The Baker’s Encyclopedia of The Bible – “The main purpose of Habakkuk’s prophecy is to explain what a godly person’s attitude should be toward the presence of evil in the world. It also addresses God’s justice in punishing moral evil.” (pg. 907).

Baker’s Encyclopedia of The Bible also sees two complaints from the prophet –

In verses 1-11 of chapter one including the questions the prophet asks, and how God could use a wicked and vile people such as the Chaldeans to judge His people;

Chapter 1 verses 12 through chapter 2 verse 5 – wondering how God – since He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity can use these Chaldeans and why He does not judge these godless people.

The prophet’s second question – “…Even cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou will not save?” Of course, these seem to be related in dealing with the same complaint of the above mentioned reference.

A third question – “Why dost Thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?”

The prophet seems to see no justice or judgment on the sin of God’s people. It seems to the prophet that the wicked trample all over the righteous and nothing is done –

  1. There is no law – it is powerless;

  2. There is no righteous judgment;

  3. The wicked overpower the righteous;

  4. The wrong people suffer.

It just seems to me in reading and studying these words of the prophet that nothing has changed with God’s people. We still fall into sin. There are still some who are burdened about sin, and asking the same questions. Somehow, we in the United States of America think that judgment cannot come from an outside source. Remember 9-11-01?

God’s judgment is still not without precedence in any age; even our own.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Embracer

Some of you will  probably notice that these are reposts from November 2007.  I thought it might do us all some good to read again.  Be blessed.

WHO IS HABAKKUK?

The meaning of the name “Habakkuk” is derived from a Hebrew word which means “embrace” or “embracer”. It seems in my mind that this is a name which fits him to a tee. He may have been a Levite engaged in the temple choir, and had a great concern for the direction his people were taking, away from God.

Let me quote here from the Criswell Study Bible. “Realizing Israel’s iniquity and need for punishment, Habakkuk is perplexed with the moral dilemma of how a holy God could employ the more deplorably wicked Chaldeans to chastise His Children.” I can understand his dilemma. In looking at God’s holiness, though, I would have to say, that He is more concerned with His glory, than He is with how things may appear to us. To continue the quotation from Criswell – “God responds by asserting His sovereign prerogative as to the choice and the timing of His retribution. Though it may appear unreasonable, His way is best. Thus the prophet learns that to believe what God says and to heed His warning is to be numbered among the righteous who shall live by faith (2:4). Consequently, Habakkuk’s theme is faith triumphant over apparent difficulties.”

Habakkuk was a prophet who had a heart for God’s people, and a heart for God. That is after all what a prophet. He speaks with God about the people, their sins and problems. He speaks with the people of God, His Word, His way, and the direction of their lives.
The prophecy of Habakkuk was a “burden”, ‘a heavy load’, and that is due to the message contained here. The prophet prophesied near the beginning of the Babylonian exile. The people were going to face severe judgment. Habakkuk did understand that judgment was coming by God from an unholy source.

Are we, who are Christians, in the United States of America not also facing judgment from an unholy source?

Habakkuk was a prophet who cared, yet spoke the truth. Bless the Lord. May every pastor and preacher of God’s Word, and the gospel do the same.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Prophecy of Habakkuk

 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

  1. “Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!” (v. 6).
  2. “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house…” (v. 9).
  3. “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood…” (v. 12).
  4. “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink…” (v. 15).
  5. “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

  1. “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (1:5).
  2. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time…, though it tarry wait for it; because it will surely come…” (2:3).
  3. “But the just shall live by his faith.” (2:4).
  4. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14).
  5. “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

The LORD is In His Temple

The Fifth Promise

“But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20

We have looked at the previous four promises from chapter 1:3; 2:3, 4, 14, and the final one now in 2:20. These are wonderful promises. It is especially wonderful that the final promise is one which gives us assurance that the LORD is in His temple. There is assurance in that, because, that tells us that He is still in control.

From the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE we read, “2:20 holy temple. A reference to heaven, from where the Lord rules (Ps. 11:4) and answers the prayers of those who seek Him (1 Kings 8:28-30: Ps. 73:17).” p. 1321.

It seems that there is something here very personal for the follower of Christ as well. Since the Father who is in His holy temple sent His Son, and His Son died on the cross for our sins, and He rose again; He then sent His Spirit to dwell within all those who are His. “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” Romans 8:9a (NKJV). Jesus Christ is in you who know Him and are known by Him. The LORD will not leave His temple.

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV).

When all the earth comes to realize that God is the Supreme Ruler all will be silent before Him. The Psalmist wrote, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10. In the New Testament we read, “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and of those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11 (NKJV).

The worship of idols always requires much noise, adulation, because they have nothing to offer. Thus much false fire. The God who made the heavens, the earth and all things in it and on it cries for our silence. Let Him be glorified by His own glory. On Habakkuk 2:20 the CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE states: “2:20 “But” signifies a striking contrast with the nothingness of idols. Jehovah the invisible God is occupying His holy temple, ready to intervene omnipotently for the deliverance and protection of His people and the destruction of their enemies. He inspires solemn adoration and profound silence (cf. Ps.68:5; Zeph. 1:7; Zech. 2:13)” p. 1047 KJV.

Only false gods [idols] require much hoopla, and noise. Our God, Father of Jesus is the light of His own glory. Rest in Him who is in His temple.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Waters Cover the Sea

The Fourth Promise

 

I have written a little bit on this previously in the article on the third woe.

In chapter 2:12-14 I wrote of verse 14, “There is a prize in these verses. ‘For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea’. The leaders and rulers of Babylon sought to build a great kingdom by the shedding of blood, and taking what belonged to others, and often at the expense of their lives. There is a Kingdom coming in which there will be no war, but only peace. The peace of God that passes all understanding. Notice the vastness of this “knowledge of the glory”; it is “as the waters cover the sea”. How much do the waters cover the sea? The sea is water, thus this filling with the knowledge of the glory covers the whole realm of the Kingdom. All the bloodshed, and such will have been done away. Jesus Christ will reign supremely. The knowledge of His glory will fill the earth.”

For the remainder of this article I want to place here the quotes from two Study Bibles. The first will be the MacArthur Study Bible New Kings James Version; and the other is Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible.

“2:14 filled. In contrast to the self-exaltation of the Chaldeans, whose efforts come to naught, God promised that the whole earth would recognize His glory at the establishment of His millennial kingdom (cf. Num. 14:21; Ps. 72:19; Is. 6:3; 11:9).” MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1320

“2:14. God’s future kingdom on earth will feature a reign of righteousness (see Is. 2:1-4; Mic. 4:1-5). All humanity on the renewed earth will know the Lord and live in accordance with His will. The structures of human systems, adequate as they are for the present, will fall under God’s judgment because they encourage a spirit of independence from Him. knowledge: What Satan fraudulently promised in Gen. 3:5, God will deliver. The glory of the LORD speaks of the full manifestation of His person, significance, presence, and wonder. The true knowledge of God in the time of His kingdom on earth will be like the waters–all embracing, inescapable, and fully enveloping.” Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible p.1523.

Loving the appearing of the Lord, we long for and expect His soon return in setting up His kingdom on the earth. It will be a wonderful and glorious kingdom where we will receive the knowledge of the LORD. That knowledge will be full. Longing for that day.

 

The Just Faith

The Third Promise

“Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4 (NKJV).

The first promise is found in 1:5, the second promise is in 2:3. I have already written on those. The first has to do with God doing a work, “Which you would not believe, though it were told you.” The second of a vision for an appointed time, and “Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry”. When God gets ready to carry out the message and intent of His Word it will not tarry.

Our promise number three is a short one but so powerful. It deals with “Faith”. The first thing I see is concerning the “Proud”. According to Proverbs 6:16 & 17 “A proud look” is one of the seven things which God hates. It seems that the reason for that is; where there is a person full of themselves there is no room for God. Pride can lead to a multitude of sins.

QUESTION – Who are the “Just”? The word “Just” is often used as a synonym for “Righteous” or “Righteousness”. The “Just” are all those who have been declared just by the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is said of Noah that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Noah had done nothing to deserve that favor. He was numbered among the wicked before the flood. God had seen that all mankind was wicked, but… One man, Noah, and his family were saved from the deluge by grace. God, by delivering Noah, has declared him “Just”.

Who are the “Just”? Those whom God chooses as His own. Because of God’s grace He chose Noah to build an ark and by doing that provided salvation for all mankind. In the New Testament is written, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Titus 3:5 (NKJV).

Looking now at the phrase, “Shall live”. The implication is strongly made that those who are “Just” shall live. They shall live evidently by a certain way, and that way we will look at in just a moment. If we are declared “Just” by the living God, through His Son Jesus Christ and His payment for our sin on the cross, there must be something which happens to the believing individual. They “Shall live”. That in itself would be good enough to cause us to have joy and peace well up in our heart and soul, and that is great, however, there is more here than a simple emotional feeling. It is life that glorifies Jesus Christ, and magnifies the Father, and His Word.

“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36 (NKJV).

Everlasting life is the gift of God to all who will believe – that is an action word – and believe solely in Jesus for salvation. When we come to believe in Jesus He gives us faith. There is the word that makes this the promise it ought to be. We are told in the New Testament, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV).

That certain way the “Just shall live” is “by his faith”. If you are a female it would be “by her faith”. “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17. The apostle Paul also wrote by the Spirit of God;

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (NKJV).

It would seem that the one’s who have turned toward Jesus Christ and trusted His finished work on the cross, His death, burial and resurrection, and believe He is coming again have been given faith by God, and by that faith He gives us the means of living the life of grace He has called and equipped us to live.

It would also seem to me that anyone who teaches that you can be saved, and continue living a life contrary to Christ, His Word, and the Father is going to have a very hard time facing the Lord in eternity. The Third Promise is; “The just shall live by his faith”. This verse is found in Romans 1:17 as well. It is a New Testament principle, and practice. Believing Jesus, and living by the faith He gives us says we will live the life he has prepared for us beforehand; and by faith “We should walk in them”.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

It Will Not Tarry…

THE SECOND PROMISE

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV).

 

Habakkuk is seeing a vision of God. He has had many a question. God wants to reassure the prophet that what He has told him will come to pass just as He has said. He must wait for it. It will come, and it will not tarry.

How many times do we grow impatient for the way of the Lord? We know He has promised something and we wonder, “When?” We even lose hope for a while, and we try to intervene, and then, that may end up delaying the promise because of our unbelief, or at least when it seems longer in coming we feel we are the cause of delay. We must learn and know God has an appointed time for every event. One day it will occur just as He has promised.

 

Think of God’s promise to Abraham for a son. For many long years he and Sarah waited, yet no son. Until, one day Sarah had this “brilliant” idea. “Why don’t you sleep with my servant girl, have a baby by her and fulfill God’s will for us”. Believe it or not Abraham conceded and they had a son. This was not in accord with the promise of God. Any time we try and jump ahead of God we bring trouble on ourselves.

God’s vision is for an appointed time. God will fulfill His promises. The following is a quote from my study of the first four verses of chapter two:

“Verse three tells the prophet that the vision God has given has an appointed time. It may seem as though it is being delayed, but it has a time of its own – by God. When its time comes it will not delay. It will not ‘tarry’. When God’s time for carrying out His promises come; they will be fulfilled, and to the letter. There are many who because, the rapture of the Church, or the glorious appearing of our Savior has not yet occurred think it is not literal, or that it has already happened. It will happen – in God’s time (His appointed time), and it has not happened yet. It will, and will not tarry. This is just as a means of illustrating, but it does make the point – God’s Word will be fulfilled completely.”

 

The Lord is merciful and gracious. That is something for which all people should be grateful. When God does judge sin He judges it completely. He will not leave any of it. When He judged the earth the first time by flood every soul of man was destroyed, except for eight. Except for those on the ark every flying fowl died, and every walking fowl. Every beast of the field. It was tragic to say the least, but God will not tolerate sin.

That same thing is true in His people. The word He has spoken will come to pass. He judged the Nation of Israel and Judah. They had turned their back on Him, worshipped other gods, lived in iniquity, and offered children in the fire. His promise is, “Write the vision… For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”. Note the emphasis put within this promise of the fulfillment of this Word from God. It is an appointed time – God’s time not ours. At its appointed time it shall speak, and then, no one will call it a “Lie”. This is an assurance of the truth of God’s Word. Though it may seem long in coming, “Wait for it” – in other words with enduring patience keep on living your faith (“But the just shall live by his faith”). Just because the promise seems long in coming does not give us license to live in rebellion against God and His Word. It should be motivation to live by faith. Again the assurance is given “It will surely come”. The fulfillment of God’s promise; both for cleansing judgment and for renewing. And, once again, the assurance that it does not “Tarry”. It will be at God’s “appointed time” – no sooner, no later.

 

Many of God’s promises that have not yet been fulfilled for Israel will yet be fulfilled. Yet, there are many who want to continue to tell us that God is finished with Israel as a Nation, and that these promises are for the “New Israel” meaning the Church. These promises to Israel the Nation will be fulfilled. They are not just spiritual promise, but literal physical promises of returning to the land of promise. Of a literal King who will forever sit on the throne in Jerusalem. Those promises will come, and they will not tarry. It will come in God’s appointed time. In the meantime keep living by the faith God has given you.

The greatest promise of all is the return of Jesus Christ.  Before He died on the cross for the sins of the world Jesus said, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself…” (John 14:3).  On the cross He took the sins of the world, the sins of mankind upon Himself, became sin for us, was judged by His Father, enduring the wrath of sin that belonged to you and me, dying, forsaken by His Father, victorious over the enemy, was buried carrying our sins as far away as east is from west, and casting them into the deepest parts of the sea.  He then, after three days, rose bodily from the grave, then forty days later was seen ascending into the clouds, and those who witnessed were told, “…This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11).  When He comes He will not tarry.  Even so, Come Lord Jesus. 

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Though It Be Told You…

THE FIRST PROMISE

Habakkuk 1:5

“ Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”

We have read and written a little of the five “Woes” of Habakkuk, and they are pronouncements of judgment against Babylon. They are not woes against Judah. The promises are for Judah, but this first one is probably not in the way one would hope.

Remember the prophet was questioning how God could use an unholy people to judge the people of God who were supposed to be holy.

We sometimes do not understand why there is such wickedness in the world and why such bad things happen to “good people”, while it seems that the wicked go without judgment, pain or sorrow. Some of them, as far as the things of the world are concerned have all their hearts could ever desire. My thought on that is – remember this will be the only place they can enjoy their life unless they come to faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They then, will be paying throughout all eternity.

When God’s people turn a disobedient ear to His Word and His messengers, ie., the prophets, then He will open the gates to let evil men, nations and influences come in and be a thorn in the sides of His people. When was the last time you turned a deaf ear to the Word of the Lord or His prophet? Has things changed since that time? Has it been for the better or the worse? I would imagine it was for the worse.

One problem I see with many Christians today is they are crying out to see the mighty hand of God; to see a mighty move of God; and they are not seeing it. He is working. He is moving. He is first of all calling those who say they know Him to be bold in their faith and convictions. He is calling us to stand bravely for Christ in a wicked world that is sliding into Hell and that slippery slope is getting more and more slippery, and they are sliding with great speed into the dungeon of death everlasting.

Those who hate God and His Son Jesus are called upon to “Behold… and regard, and wonder marvelously”. What do the unbeliever’s see in us? Do they see faith, hope, and love; or do they see bitterness, anger, wrath, malice, filthy mouths, lying lips, sowing of discord among brethren, etc.?

The first promise we hear is that God is going to work a work in those who hate God’s people. That God is going to work a work in His own people, even, which will be hard to believe, because it is so marvelous. That work will be the bringing of “Woes” upon them, and using them to accomplish His purposes in God’s people. That work will be worked in God’s people as well.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The LORD is Our Strength

The LORD is My Strength

Though this is the final study in the chapters of Habakkuk, there will be five more on the Promises of Habakkuk. There is much that I have learned concerning the prophet, his heart for God, God’s holiness – the heart of God – the prophet’s love for his people (who are the people of God); that thought the LORD may use what we might consider an unlikely means for judgment may not be so unlikely after all.

Habakkuk was concerned for the holiness of God as he was pleading with God concerning the wickedness of Judah. Why wasn’t God judging the sin of His people? That question is asked and God answers with one which the prophet does not necessarily approve of, but God didn’t ask the prophet. God also will judge the one’s who were the medium for the judgment of Judah, because of their cruelty to them, and to show them who He is.

Let’s look now at the final three verses of the prophet’s song:

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labor of the olive shall fail,
and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength,
and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and He will make me walk upon mine high places.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

The questions have been asked, and God has answered them. Though the prophet may not have liked the answer God had given he submitted himself to the LORD’s will, and now no matter what may come; the prophet has determined that He will keep his heart and mind in the LORD.

In verse 17 which relates to things necessary living he affirms his faith in God no matter what may come. If there be no fruit on the fig trees, no fruit on the vines in the vineyard, no olives, no crops in the fields, no meat from the flocks and herds the prophet confirms his faith. Remember the phrase, “…The just shall live by his faith” (2:4). Now, Habakkuk the prophet is putting his faith where his mouth is.

The prophet continues is verse 18 yet affirming even stronger his faith. It can be likened to the faith of Job when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15a). To get this matter of faith to our level. If today, you lost everything, your family, your source of income, your home, your health, and to beat it all lost the respect of friends and family; would still trust Him, the God who has made all things? Could you still trust Him?

The heart of faith grows during times of testing; times of great trial and distress. Faith rejoices even when it cannot see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Faith is often a choice we must make, when it seems that everything else is against making that right choice.

Let’s determine to say with Habakkuk, “The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet [deer’s feet], and He will make me to walk upon mine high places”. My what a wonderful and glorious God we know and serve through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who think they can have all the things of the world by trusting the LORD, are sooner or later going to come down hard off their elevated, arrogant, thinking, and owe God, and the people they teach their trash, a huge apology. There is abundant blessing in this life, and especially in that life that is yet to come, but we cannot expect the blessings of eternity in the flesh. This old body of flesh could not endure it. It will one day be made new; and that will be when we stand before our Lord in a brand new body; like His.

Habakkuk must have been one of those singing prophets. He must have played a guitar too. At least it was a stringed instrument. In all honesty it was most likely a harp or dulcimer. I can almost hear him singing his song. The end has new heart to it. There is joy in it. There is expectation in it as well. There is eternity in the presence and glory of the LORD God.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Prophet At Rest

The Prophet at Rest

In the beginning of this prophecy we see the prophet Habakkuk questioning God, wondering what is happening, why God is not judging His people. God answers with the prophecy of impending judgment coming from what the prophet sees as an unlikely source; mainly the Gentile Babylonians. He is troubled by this.

After some messages from the LORD the prophet realizes that the LORD is the One who knows best. That He still holds His people in His hands, will not continue to allow His people to live in sin without consequences. There have been five “Woes” pronounced against the Babylonians for there brutal abuses against God’s people, and their arrogance. There are also five promises, basically given to the prophet to show the worthiness and glory of the LORD.

We see in chapter three that the prophet is strengthened, encouraged, and that his faith is renewed. There is an element of verse 16 we must see. The prophet is trembling at the word of the LORD:

“When I heard, my body trembled;
My lips quivered at the voice;
Rottenness entered my bones;
And I trembled in myself,
That I might rest in the day of trouble.
When He comes up to the people,
He will invade them with his troops.”

Anytime we hear the Word of the LORD it should cause us to tremble; even when we see that His Word and will is going to be carried out. Within our lives, the lives of those who may oppose us, the lives of friends and/or family should make no difference. We can rest in the LORD our God.

When we hear, as did the prophet, that God is going to have His way with the people of the Chaldeans – the Babylonians – and with His people; accomplishing His purposes, we should rest in our days of trouble.

There should be perfect peace in our hearts knowing that all these matters are in the hand of the LORD, and fully embrace the will and Word of the LORD. Even in the midst of “The day of trouble”.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

God’s Horses and Chariots of Salvation

God’s Horses, and Chariots of Salvation

In these following verses we see pictures of the LORD riding in chariots pulled by horses. He has, of course, won many and mighty victories for the people of His name. The prophet Habakkuk is reminded and reminding those who read and/or sing this song of the greatness of our LORD.

Hear the Word of the LORD through the prophet:

“Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters.” Habakkuk 3:8-15 (KJV)

We are reminded of God’s power over the waters of the earth. “Was the LORD displeased against the rivers?” and “Was Your wrath against the sea”; remind us of the children of Israel crossing the Jordon River by God’s stopping the waters upstream so they could cross on dry ground, and previously to this; the Red Sea, by God’s dividing the sea and them walking across on dry ground.

Of course, we know that God has no need of horses and chariots, but this is the picture of God’s power and victory over the enemy, as He freed the children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt, and promise of future deliverance from the captivity to come.

Let’s look at the word “Selah” for a moment. The meaning is not quite certain. I have found it quite meaningful to see it as the means or call for reflection upon what I have read. To go back and read it again. To meditate upon it, and reflect on the greatness of the LORD whenever this word is used. The Psalmist uses it quite often, and it may mean to go back and repeat the words. That is at least how I like to think about it. The word “Selah” is used three times in Habakkuk’s third song. Twice in the above passage alone.

The arrow God shoots from His bow is always on target. He hits what He aims at. It may not always be a “Bull’s-eye”. “Bull’s-eye” being what we think is the target. In other words it is not always what we think, but God hits what He aims for. His Word is always on target, never out of date, and pertinent in every point.

The waters of the earth are all at God’s beckoning and call. When He called for a flood upon the earth – there was a flood. When He called for a drought upon the Northern kingdom of Israel under the rule of Ahab, there was a drought for 3.5 years. When He commanded the Red Sea to part; it parted. When He called for the Jordan River to stop flowing; it stopped flowing. All the waters are at His command, and none can control these things but Him.

We are reminded in verse 11 of the power of God over the sun and moon. In the book of Joshua 10:12-14 we see God causing the sun to stand still for a whole day; and one other time several years later the shadow on the sundial of Ahaz went backwards 10 degrees to give king Hezekiah a sign that his life had been extended 15 years (2 Kings 20:8-11; Isaiah 38:4-8). Truly God is God of gods, King of kings, Lord of lords, and there really can be no other. There is none like Him. Praise the name of the LORD.

The LORD is a victorious GOD. He loves His people, protects them, sets them in the right paths, and corrects them when they go astray. He will always have a remnant of people. There have been times when He has used other nations to correct His people, and those people God uses think they serve themselves, and mistreat the people of God, but those who do will face the wrath of the Almighty. “You trampled the nations in anger. You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for salvation with Your Anointed.” This is likened to a “Threshing floor” where grain is taken, trampled, beaten, and tossed so the wind can blow away the waste and stubble. He, at times have even caused the enemy to turn their own weapons against one another – “You thrust through with his own arrows the head of his villages”.

Still yet we see the prophet rejoicing in the power of our great God. There is none who can withstand Him. He is victorious, and will always be victorious. We are reminded of another victory at the Red Sea. When the Egyptian army came by way of the path through the Sea, the Sea closed in on them – “You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters”.

How glorious is our LORD. How majestic is His name. He will always bring His people through.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Almighty, the Majestic One

The Almighty, the Majestic One

There is a section of chapter 3 which we are about to finish, and that is verses 3-7, and this section describes the Majesty and Power of the Almighty God. In verse three we see His glory. In verse four His brightness, horns coming out of His hand with His power hidden. In verse five pestilence went before Him and fever followed at His feet. In verse six He stood and measured the earth, and His ways are everlasting. My, O, My what a wonderful, powerful, majestic God we know and serve.

“I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; The curtains of the land of Midian trembled.” Habakkuk 3:7 (NKJV).

We know that as God worked in Egypt to bring the children of Israel out of that land of slavery and oppression, He struck fear into the hearts of the Egyptian people and their king. They were trembling by the time the Pharoah told them they could leave. They were paying them to leave, giving them gold, silver, precious jems, and rich clothing.

The message the prophet Habakkuk is getting to all his people is God has never failed to bring His people to His place. It may not be like we sometimes think, but He will get us through.

The reason I say this in the personal is that is true of the Christian today. It was/is true for the people of Israel. One day this Nation called Israel will see their Messiah, and they will call on His name. The name of the One whom they have pierced, and they will call Him their King and Lord.

The people of Cushan and Midian were nomadic people, meaning that they never stayed in one place very long. We know that because of the “tents” and the “curtains”. We see in other passages of Scripture that God made all the nations tremble before this Nation He had freed from Egypt. That is why Balak called for Balaam to curse this people but could not. He did eventually lead them to a place of bringing God’s curse on them themselves, by joining with the Moabites in sin and wicked practices (See Numbers 25 and 31:1-11).

God never allows His people to sin successfully; and He never allows those who hurt them to escape His judgment. They will tremble before Him.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

His Power and Glory

His Power and Glory

Songs as this one are expressions of praise. Following words of question, and God’s answering them the prophet now sees that this whole thing is really about the power and the glory of God.

In verse three we see, “His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise”. This song continues as we look at the following three verses.

“And His brightness was as the light; and He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power. Before Him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.” Habakkuk 3:4-6 (KJV).

The “brightness… as the light” reveals much about this wonderful, graceful, loving God who has made, and sustains all things. Where there is evil there is darkness, and where there is darkness of the heart, there is evil. The brightness of the light of Christ will drive out darkness. Where the light of God is darkness is not.

Can you imagine singing this song. If only I knew the tune which the prophet had in mind. Yeah, yeah; I know they did it differently than we do, but I would still like to hear Habakkuk sing it. I am certain that this came from his heart. There is nothing like a song sung from the heart. That counts for more than a beautiful singing voice. Also, we often do not listen to the words, but, hear these words. Sunday; when you are singing those hymns, listen to the words. If you listen too closely you may decide you do not want to sing them any more.

“And He had horns coming out of His hand: and there was the hiding of His power.” Horns are a symbol of power in the Scriptures. Habakkuk is using a picturescue way of describing the power of God’s hand. He is powerful, and that does not describe it wonderfully enough. All-Powerful is a better term, and that term is expressed in the word Omnipotent. All power comes from His hand. The power of any president, king, dictator, or despot comes from God. It is He who gives us all the power we may or may not have. In His hand is where that power is hidden, and can only be seen as He reveals His open hand.

When there is judgment upon the earth it is from His hand. At His hand the pestilence goes before Him. His feet treads out judgment making the way for holiness, righteousness, justice and peace.

It is only this All-Powerful One who can measure the earth. He has in fact already measured, and came up short of His glory. Nations have been driven asunder, and all nations will one day bow before Him. The mountains were scattered, and they are the “Everlasting mountains”. His ways are everlasting, and will out live the mountains.

We have come short of His glory (Romans 3:23). His ways are everlasting, and through faith in Jesus Christ we can rest in His everlasting ways. The judgment of sin has been fully paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross. The penalty for sin has been fully paid. All who reject Him stand opposed to His everlasting ways, and will still face His judgment. Repent of your sinful rejection of Jesus and turn to Him, and walk in His everlasting ways.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Coming of God

The Coming of God

I guess you could say we are to the final verse of the song of Habakkuk. He writes a song with question, and ends it with praise.

The prophet tells us:

“God came from Teman, The Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.” Habakkuk 3:3 (NKJV).

Have you ever had anyone ask you, “Where did God come from?” You have the answer in the verse above. “God came from Teman.” That is quite the statement. Someone once said that “Teman, means ‘nowhere’”. From what I have seen in Strong’s Concordance, and other places I have not found that, but we still find a great message in this statement.

As God led the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage He also appears to them at Sinai and gives them the law of the Ten Commandments. In a place where they had felt deserted and abandoned. (You can see this in their many complaints, “We have no water”; “Why did you bring us out into this wilderness to die; we could have died with what we needed to live in Egypt.”). The people are given opportunity to hear God for themselves, and turn away, and request of Moses that he mediate for them (Exodus 20:18-21).

God appeared to them in a land which they did not expect the presence of God. His presence was an awesome presence. Habakkuk gives us the word “Selah” in this verse. My understanding of this word is that what you have just read or sang in this situation is worthy of repeating. So read it again. If you have a tune, sing it again. To sing it again is to really reflect on its power and purpose – stop and think about it, even, without singing it or reading it.

If you imagine this appearing at Sinai was really spectacular; just think of what the appearing of Jesus Christ in His glory will be. If the people of Israel trembled in the Exodus account of God’s presence what will this time be like? When He appears at His glorious appearing, the whole earth will tremble, and the people with it.

The following is the commentary from the LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY:

3a. In reflecting upon the majesty of God and what He will do in the future, the prophet turns his eyes to what God has done in the past. Just as He manifested His majesty in the past, He will also manifest His majesty in the future; for God dwells in the eternal present. The prophet is not simply recalling the great deeds of the past, but is using them as sounding boards in order to project what God will do in the future. Teman was located in the extreme south of Edom and was probably its capital. Opposite Teman was Paran. The two were separated by the Valley of Ghor. In the background of the prophet’s thinking is the memory of the events surrounding Israel’s exodus from Egypt and their sojourn in Sinai. Just as God came and manifested Himself to the Israel of that day, God will come and manisfest Himself to the Israel of the prophet’s day. Just as God delivered Israel from the hands of the Egyptians after they had suffered under their cruelty, He will deliver the Israel of his day from the Chaldeans after they have suffered under their cruelty. God will deliver His people and will judge their foes.” p. 1769.

One thing that we need to be reminded through the words of the song of the prophet Habakkuk is that God has not and will not forsake the people known as Israel. He will deliver them from their blindness, and give them the peace only their Messiah Jesus can give. Where does God come from? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that He is coming at a time He will not be expected, in a very spectacular and glorious way. 

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Musical

THE PROPHET’S MUSICAL

Habakkuk 3:1-2

Do you ever just feel like singing. I used to wonder why in the world would the movie people make a “Musical”. Then, one day as I was going along singing a song, with no one else to hear it but me; it hit me. My life was a “Musical”, since I spend a lot of time singing; mostly to myself and the Lord. I have noticed since then, as well that most people go around singing. Sometimes it is with the radio, ipod, CD player, or by whatever method they recieve their music; but many people are spending a lot of time singing.

It was not so odd after all that Hollywood would make “Musicals”. They are associated with our lives.

This final chapter of Habakkuk seems to be a song which sums the whole thing up. You do not find the prophet Habakkuk questioning God. You find him praising Him. Pleading for mercy from Him in behalf of Judah.

“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth” Habakkuk 3:1 (NKJV).

I think it would be good for us to realize once again that this Prophetic message of Habakkuk is all in the form of a Psalm or “Song”. The first two chapters seem to just be the prophet’s questions to God of why the guilty seem to go unpunished – even among His people – but especially among those who capture, abuse, and kill His people, like Babylon.

There seems to be no certain meaning for this word, “Shigionoth”. You will find it used in the heading of Psalm 7:1, and the New King James Version translates it as “Meditation” – “A meditation of David”. The following is the notes of C.H. Spurgeon from THE TREASURY OF DAVID on the word “Shigionoth”; at least a form of the same word – “Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.”— “Shiggaion of David.” As far as we can gather from the observations of learned men, and from comparison of this Psalm with the only other Shiggaion in the Word of God (Hab.iii), this title seems to mean ‘variable songs,’ with which also the idea of solace and pleasure is associated. Truly our life-psalm is composed of variable verses; one stanza rolls along with the sublime metre of triumph, but another limps with the broken rhythm of complaint. There is much bass in the saint’s music here below. Our experience is as variable as the weather in England.”

Strong’s definition for this word is “From H7686; properly aberration, that is, (technically) a dithyramb or rambling poem: – Shiggaion, Shigio-noth. ” It seems that this definition would fit with Spurgeon’s, “…Our life-psalm is composed of variable verses…”. At any rate we do see that the prophet has spent time in the presence of the Lord, heard His Word and come to a better understanding.

“O LORD, I have heard Your speech and was afraid; O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.” Habakkuk 3:2

In verse two Habakkuk is referring back to when God answered him concerning his question of “Why do I cry out to You concerning wickedness, and You do not hear?” (My paraphrase from chapter one and verses two through four). God’s answer in verses five through eleven is “Your speech” to which the prophet speaks. He admits his fear from those fearful words. Judgment is going to come on Judah for their sins by the hands of sinful pagans, but that seems to be a little more than Habakkuk could bear at the time.

This holy fear causes Habakkuk to pray for God’s mercy for Judah. “Revive Your work in the midst of the years” is the years they are in judgment in Babylon. Since God was going to judge them in a foreign land, the prophet is pleading that God show forth His saving hand in giving new life to the children of Judah. When in Your wrath “Remember mercy”.

Reading the prophet’s plea for God to remember mercy, causes me to think of God delivering the whole nation from Egypt to make of them a mighty nation; and it seems as though the prophet is asking God, “Do it again LORD; do it again”.

In the midst of those held captive in the United States of America, which is the whole nation; I would pray, do it again LORD, do it again. The USA needs a touch from God. Especially those who call themselves “Christian”. The church in America is held captive by political parties, by finances, by fear, by culture, by comfort, by entertainment, by apathy, by complacency, by a lethargic mind and heart; and we need to be awakened by the power of God’s Spirit; or this nation will perish. “O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

Lord, in Your wrath remember mercy. Remember the death of Jesus Your holy Son for the sins of all who will believe.  The greatest Song and Singer who ever lived was Jesus Christ the Son of God.  To hear Him sing you must know Him.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

A Worthless Worship vs. A Worthy Worship

A CARVED WORSHIP

“What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?  Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.  But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:18-20 (KJV).

We will be dealing with the fifth and final woe in this portion of our study. “Woe” seems such a dreadful word. If we take it for what it was meant to be, it is. “A condition of deep suffering from misfortune, affliction or grief; 2 : CALAMITY, MISFORTUNE” MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY. The definition from the Biblical perspective would be “A pronouncement of judgment” and in the case of Habakkuk the prophet, a pronouncement of judgment against the Babylonians for their treatment of the Hebrew captives, and their treatment of the temple and its valuables.

The “Woe” is given to us in verse 19, “Woe to him who says to the wood, ‘Awake!’ To the silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, yet there is no breath at all.” (NKJV). To see someone speaking to a piece of wood would seem quite comical, if it were not a warning against idolatry. The Babylonians did practice the worship of idols.

The names of the Hebrews in the book of Daniel were changed to reflect the names of the idols of Babylon rather than the God of the Hebrews:

Daniel means “God is my judge” ……….Belteshazzar means ‘the keeper of the treasure of Baal’;

Hananiah means “Jehovah is gracious” ……Shadrach means ‘command of the moon god’; Mishael means “Who is like God” ……………… Meshach means ‘the goddess Shach’;

Azariah means “Jehovah is my helper”…………………. Abednego means ‘the fire god’. This was a means of ‘Brainwashing’ them getting them in tune with the culture of Babylon. They realized the importance of names. That is why I refer to them all by their Hebrew names. They are not Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; they are Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

The question of verse 18 concerning ‘What profit?, ‘the molded image, a teacher of lies, that the maker of its mold should trust in it, to make mute idols? Wooden images, metal images, stone images, are less restrictive, easily approachable, and have no requirements. When one worships an idol you have your own form and “Formed” worship. You could say “Carved Worship”. You may worship your god whenever, and however you choose. To worship the Lord of Heaven, however, requires, righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion. Those who try and approach God without these will be turned away, and cast into fires of judgment.

We do not have a “Carved Worship”. We have a heavenly ordained worship in “Spirit and truth”. The God of heaven is unapproachable without righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion. We can only attain approachableness to God by the righteousness, holiness, justness, and devotion of His Son Jesus Christ, and because of His death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection. It is not by any work [Carved or otherwise] that man approaches the Holy One.

The Psalmist had a word or two to say about idols:

“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:  They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.  They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” Psalm 115:4-8 (KJV).

What can an idol do for you? Of course, if you are the artist who is doing the carving, then you can be well paid. If you are the metal worker, again, you can receive good pay. As far as any eternal value they offer death. Look at what happened to the gods of Egypt in the early chapters of Exodus. Everyone of them were exposed as being false. They had no control over the elements; only the God of Moses and the Hebrews had power to bring the plagues, and to remove the plagues.

Those who rely upon images are trusting in a lie. There is not one shread of evidence for any false god having power or helping the people who trust in them. The idols they make cannot speak, they cannot see, they cannot touch you, they cannot walk or run, and they cannot hear. Why waste the time of trying.

In some parts of the world, and our Country too, there are people who are good at seeing images in pieces of toasts, trees, and just in thin air. Then they build images to “Give honor” to them. They spend time praying to “Fatima” and praising her. Praying is usually only reserved for deity since deity is the only one who can answer the prayer. Thus, what is offered to “Fatima” as prayer is an act of worship.

According to the apostle Paul in the First letter to the Corinthian church, “…The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:20 (NKJV). To offer anything to an idol, be it carved, seen in a vision, apparition, or whatever is to offer worship to demons. That is the teaching of the New Testament. That is the teaching of the apostle Paul. The apostle to the Gentiles.

These may have an air of beauty about them with the gold, silver, and sometimes even the craftsmanship which formed it, but they are not living. They have no “Breath” at all. There is One and only One who is in His temple. That One is the One who made us all, and all things seen and unseen.

“Let all the earth keep silence before Him” (v.20b).

John MacArthur writes of this in the MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE:

keep silence. In contrast to the silence of the idols (v. 19), the living, Sovereign Ruler of the universe calls all the earth to be silent before Him. None can assert his independence from Him; all the earth must worship in humble submission (cf. Ps. 46:10; Is. 52:15).”

This call is for an act of extreme reverence, even an awe, because He is the only one worthy of it all. The Psalmist also said, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (NKJV).

All will one day bow before Him and confess Jesus as Lord of all the earth. You do it now, or you will be doing it then.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

The Curse of Beverage Alcohol

A SHAMED GLORY

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!  Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD’S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.  For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.” Habakkuk 2:15-17 (KJV).

This whole prophetic message seems to be presented in song. The prophet has been angry because in his way of thinking God is letting evil go, and not doing anything with it. He is firstly upset because he sees the evil of “God’s people”, then when God tells him that punitive judgment is coming for God’s people in the form of the ruthless, evil Babylonian kingdom, he begins questioning God’s wisdom in the matter. I do not know about you, but I see where the prophet is coming from.

There are some who tend to believe that since this is only a song, then the words are not literal, but are allegorical, or poetic imagery. I could see it as an analogy; at least in some of the words that are presented. The definition of “analogy” is, “Inference that if two or more things agree in some respects they will probably agree in others” MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY.

The picture given here is of the Babylonian horde persuading their neighbors to come along and aid them. They woo them with big promises of treasures, wealth, and great popularity with their people, etc. They become “intoxicated” by the thoughts and dreams of the bounty; then when the battles were fought and they head home their help leaves with less than they entered the battles with. Babylon leaders made great promise, then, take all for themselves.

There is still a lesson of the evils of alcoholic beverage here. A woe is pronounced upon the people who purposely sell beverage alcohol, knowing they will buy it, drink it, get drunk, then, not even know what their day or evening was like.

We live in a day when there must be a policy of abstinence from beverage alcohol. For some reason people are enticed by beverage alcohol, even from a young age. It is advertised as the way of getting the pretty girls, the handsome guys, and having a great time. When the party is eventually over they will be left without anything to show for it, except decay and death. It is an evil in our society which has and is poisoning our lives, killing our children, and mothers and fathers. Beverage alcohol has been and is a source of physical abuse between spouses; husbands abusing their wives; wives abusing their husbands, and all due to this poison that kills and does so legally. Both parents when inebriated have been known to abuse their children. We certainly know the numbers of deaths from accidents on the highways due to beverage alcohol. There is cost associated with lost time at work. Costs in health care due to beverage alcohol. Why is it worth having around? Unless of course it is because some profit at the expense of the dead man on the road.

The judgment of God fell on Babylon because of their arrogance, in particular of the king. They had stripped the forest, frightened the wild animals, and all for the sake of taking the lives of men, and for the sake of gain. That dish would be returned upon them and with their own entrails.

ANALOGY? You could say that, but it makes a good point. There are those who argue, and I believe without merit, that the Bible says nothing against the drinking of beverage alcohol. Here are some references. Proverbs 20:1; 23:29:-35; 31:1-9. Then, here is a good illustration of the blessing of God on those who choose to be temperate Jeremiah 35:1-19.

In a culture, such as ours here in the United States of America it seems quite foolish to be defending the use and abuse of beverage alcohol. What is there to guarantee that you will never become drunk? There is only one answer. Do not take a drink of beverage alcohol. Drunkenness can also come about by doing drugs. That too, should not be tolerated by Christian America.

“Well, I only drink a glass of wine with my evening meal”, that would mean you keep it in a closet or some place in your home. You have children seeing you drink. What will guarantee they will not become an alcoholic or drunk? If you do not have the poison in your home, and if they never see you take a drink, they will be less likely to begin the process toward alcoholism and drunkenness.

The message of Habakkuk is a “Woe” to those who put it to their neighbor’s lips, that they might look upon their nakedness. The analogy being; taking advantage of their neighbor for personal gain. The literal rendering is “Don’t sell alcoholic beverage or disperse it in any manner“. God help those who do not follow God’s Word.

I know there are arguments and debate all around these references, but I just trust what the verses say. Unless we want the judgment of the Babylonians on us we who profess Christ as our Savior better begin living a life of temperance. Others are watching you. The best way to avoid becoming an alcoholic is to never take a drink of beverage alcohol. Let us, especially not take part in causing others to become drunken and alcoholic. Let us rather show them the New Wine of Jesus.

-by Tim A. Blankenship

Third Woe and a Promise

EARTH FILLED WITH GLORY

“Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!  Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?  For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:12-14 (KJV).

The third woe is here presented. So far the “Woes” have had to do with unjust increase, and increase at the cost of another’s fall, by the profiteer’s own doing. Remember these woes are being pronounced against Babylon. It seems that there are lessons the Christian and the world of today should hear and heed. If these things were evil for Babylon to practice, then they are evil in any society.

This again is a continuation of the charges against them. They have been pillaging, robbing, killing, and taking all the treasures of every land. They were using means which would not meet with God’s approval. There was much injustice in their dealings with the people of God and others.

It is a wicked people who take from the weak to establish their own homes, villages, towns and cities. It is a vile thing in the eyes of our Just God to see those who gain and gain and gain never to return anything to God for His glory. The one’s who have against those who have not. Those who have money can “legally” charge those who cannot afford it 30 percent or more for the credit. That should be illegal in this country. “O, that is capitalism – that’s the way it works”. That is capitalism run amuck. It is foul, it is a stench in the nostrils of holy God. To correct this there should be a fair exchange of money. What you charge the wealthy should be the rate you charge the poor man or woman. Really it would be a delight in the eye of God to charge less to the poor, than to the rich. Laugh if you will, but you laugh at holy God.

The wealthy put people to work, and some do not pay a wage consistent enough to live on. Then, they charge an enormous amount of money for their product, what that same person needs, and take even more. God help the business people of our land to open their eyes and be a benefit to our society rather than dividing the classes even further.

Let me assure you, that all these things for which we labor and toil; these things that we find so dear and important, will one day fade to naught. What will you have left when it is all gone?

There is a prize in these verses. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea”. The leaders and rulers of Babylon sought to build a great kingdom by the shedding of blood, and taking what belonged to others, and often at the expense of their lives. There is a Kingdom coming in which there will be no war, but only peace. The peace of God that passes all understanding. Notice the vastness of this “knowledge of the glory”; it is “as the waters cover the sea”. How much do the waters cover the sea? The sea is water, thus this filling with the knowledge of the glory covers the whole realm of the Kingdom. All the bloodshed, and such will have been done away. Jesus Christ will reign supremely. The knowledge of His glory will fill the earth.

Protection That Falls

THE PROUD MAN’S PROTECTION

“Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!  Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people, and hast sinned against thy soul.  For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it” Habakkuk 2:9-11 (KJV).

In this woe of lamentation concerning coming judgment upon the one’s whom God has used to chastise His children we have the continuation of the first. You could say this goes with the territory of covetousness. The Proud Man of Babylon has killed, maimed, claimed as his anything and everything which is God’s. He is basically fearful of the judgment which will come on him.

Surely there is no one who could think they can kill, maim, stomp upon, and take what belongs to God as their own, and think that they have no retribution coming. There is the law of sowing and reaping which is pretty common to all mankind. You do reap what you sow. Yeah. Even God declares that law (Galations 6:7).

With each victory of the Babylonians there was a new, and loftier home built, or at least greater security added to what they had. Each victory over their enemy/victim meant even more security systems for them. “That he may set his nest on high…” and “He may be delivered from the power of evil.” My how the wicked fear when everything is going their way. For every victory there is a new enemy. For every enemy there is a new alliance between the enemies. For every enemy there is the need for stronger and better walls [security].

These new securities cried out against them. The MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE notes for verses 9-11 states, “The second charge, of premeditated exploitation borne out of covetousness, was a continuation of vv. 6-8. The walls of their houses, built with stones and timbers taken from others, testified against them (v. 11). For the notes on verse nine the MSB states, “set his nest on high. Wanting to protect themselves from any recriminations their enemies might seek to shower upon them, the Chaldeans had sought to make their cities impregnable and inaccessible to the enemy (cf. Is. 14:13,14).”

The thing the child of God – today’s Christian – can learn from this is that we must be just in our dealings with others. When we do so we have no fear. When we are unjust there will be fear and the utmost, urgent need for security; because God will not be our security. We will have left His arms and shadow of His care. When we practice mercy, justice; this is what God has promised those who will look to Him; “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8 (KJV)

The Proud Man and His Woes

THE PROUD MAN AND HIS WOES

“Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:  Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!  Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them?  Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein” Habakkuk 2:5-8

The prophet has questioned God about how He could see Israel in sin and do nothing about it. God gave Habakkuk the answer, that He was going to judge Israel, and it was going to be with the ruthless, sinful Babylonian kingdom. This part shows that he is a very concerned prophet when it comes to the holiness, purity, and integrity of Mighty God.

This is shown in his plea to the Lord, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity…” (1:13) God is professed by the prophet to be from “Everlasting”, and “Mine Holy One” – as a question.

The Holy One of Israel then shows Habakkuk what is going to happen with Babylon after they have used and abused Israel.

Nothing that goes on in the world is apart from God’s knowledge of it. It is all a part of His plan. Nothing surprises Him. He is God.

In verse 5 we find that the proud man of the kingdom of Babylon is puffed up with the pride the prophet has referenced. The desires of a proud man are not usually of the righteous nature, but are pretty selfish, and for personal gain alone.

The proud man seems to be greatly influenced by wine. I guess you could say the wine gives him the arrogance to let it be known what his genuine purpose is. He is greedy for more. In this case greedy for more land, gold, goods, and souls of men. He takes that which is not intended to be his. At the blazoned display of his arrogance he takes nations captive.

Yet, it seems a certainty that they, the nations, will taunt him, ridicule and scorn him.

This proud man has five “Woes” pronounced against him. The first says, “Woe to him who increases what is not his — how long?” It becomes clear to us that these “Woes” are against Babylon, but is there anything we can learn from them? I believe so.  I will deal with the “Woes” more thoroughly in later studies on the five woes pronounced against Babylon by the prophet Habakkuk

It is also clear in looking at the first chapter that Babylon was an unrighteous nation which God was going to use to discipline the nation of Judah. In their being used by God to judge the nation, then, God would also see that the Babylonian people were also punished. There is no nation that can escape the judgment of God; especially those who unjustly put their hands on God’s people.

This “Woe” expresses coming judgment upon Babylon because of their increasing in goods which were not theirs for the express purpose of making themselves wealthy. It is actually a charge of extortion. The MacArthur Study Bible states, “…Plundering nations under threat of great bodily harm for the purpose of making themselves rich. As a result they were to become plunder for those nations who remained.” pg.1320.

Look at how this first Woe culminates into judgment upon Babylon. First of all, the ones from whom taxes were extorted will come against them. Does Babylon actually think that these people will not come to realize [awaken], and Babylon will become their booty?

The warning to Babylon is from God Himself. The people they have plundered will plunder them. There will be justice and judgment.

One of the things in the study of Scriptures is learning how to apply what you have studied to fit with your life. There is much to learn from this one “Woe”. Woe, is a warning or pronouncement of judgment. There can be an element of understanding why one would take the goods of a defeated enemy and increase their goods, but that was not to be the case with Babylon, nor is it to be with the Christian.

This first ‘Woe’ implies greed. The Christian is not to live in greed. Of course, we have the Ten Commandments, and the last one is, “Thou shalt not covet…” and it includes things as well as people. Covetousness is greed; the desire for more; it is in fact idolatry (Col. 3:5), and that made clear by writings of the New Testament. This kind of gain is usually at the expense of another party, and probably by some who cannot afford to lose it.

Be content with such things as you have. Then, you will be blessed.

It Will Surely Come

IT WILL SURELY COME

Habakkuk 2:1-4

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:3 (KJV).

The verses of chapter one 12-17 are the comments of the prophet to the Lord. He seems to be recognizing God’s sovereign power, and that God can use the enemy to chastise and correct His children.

In chapter 2:1-4 the prophet is a watchman, but in this situation he is “watching” for an answer from the LORD. The prophet seems to be set on waiting for an answer. He is intent on getting an answer. The words “stand” and “set” imply that he will wait until an answer is given. Habakkuk is definitely exhibiting faith in God coming through with this act.

Strong’s word for “Set” Heb. 3320 yaw-tsab’ = ‘to place (anything so as to stay)’. Also the word “Stand” – Strong’s 5975 Aw-mad’ = to stand in various relations, abide (behind), appoint, arise, cease, confirm, continue, dwell, be employed, endure, establish…. Standfast.”. Habakkuk was set to stand until he received an answer from God; as to how long it would be, when it would come to pass.

In verse two the LORD does answer and confirms His message to the prophet. Habakkuk receives the message to “Write the vision…”. The vision of judgment upon the nation of Israel to continue until God’s work is finished, and the vision of God’s judgment on the instruments of God’s judgment of His people.

He was to write it and make it “Plain…” so that it could be read easily and understood by all who passed by. The message of God’s Word should be made where a child can understand. Some preachers use such elevated vocabulary that they cannot be understood by even a college or university graduate. If you must use a word that is of questionable understanding explain its meaning.

God speaking to Hosea the prophet said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6). Could that be so today because, God’s Word is not presented by the preachers in an understandable vocabulary?

Verse three tells the prophet that the vision God has given has an appointed time. It may seem as though it is being delayed, but it has a time of its own – by God. When its time comes it will not delay. It will not ‘tarry’. When God’s time for carrying out His promises come; they will be fulfilled, and to the letter. There are many who because, the rapture of the Church, or the glorious appearing of our Savior has not occurred yet think it is not literal, or that it has already happened. It will happen – in God’s time (His appointed time), and it has not happened yet. It will, and will not tarry. This is just as a means of illustrating, but it does make the point – God’s Word will be fulfilled completely.

Verse four provides a word of ‘faith’. The one who is lifted up in pride in themselves is one who will not be edified in the LORD.

“The just shall live by his faith” and in Romans 1:17. One’s faith is God cast out and cast off all arrogance and pride which exalts itself against God. When pride is there; there is no faith. It is said that this is one verse which God used to open the eyes of Martin Luther, led him to faith in Jesus Christ, and delivered him from the bondage of the Roman religion.

When God’s Word is at work in your life your faith will grow, Jesus will be glorified, and you will be satisfied in Him.

When was the last time we stayed put, set or stood pat until we received an answer from God for something which troubled us? If it is something God wants us to know He will answer. God’s Word will be fulfilled just as He has said, and when it is time it will not tarry. It will move very quickly. IT WILL SURELY COME.

God of Purer Eyes

GOD OF PURER EYES

Habakkuk 1:12-17

Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.” v. 12 (KJV).

Habakkuk seems to begin to understand the immutable [unchanging] character of God. He even refers to Him as ‘mine Holy One. He realizes that God is definitely going to use these godless people, the Chaldeans to judge His own sinful people. The judgment of God, must begin at the house of God; “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” Ezekiel 9:6 (KJV). NOTE: “and begin at my sanctuary”. In the New Testament Peter says something very similar, and may have had this verse in mind, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17 (KJV).

The prophet realizes that God is not going to completely destroy Judah, but, he still has questions. Judah will be corrected, and made right with God through the process of cleansing of the fire.

Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” v. 13 (KJV).

Habakkuk also begins to see that God is pure, and recognizes this in Him when he says, “Thou are of purer eyes than to behold evil…”. This is a correct observation of the prophet. It seems, though, that the question is still lingering in his mind. How can God use this wicked people, when He is of purer eyes than to look on iniquity, to judge the people whom He has chosen?

Is the prophet wanting God to judge the sins of Judah? That is my question. If God is of purer eyes than to look on sins of people, surely it must begin with those who are His own. Another question I must ask is, ‘If God does not judge the sins of those who are His, how can He justly judge the sins of those who are wicked?’ In all fairness He cannot. Since the Holy One [using Habakkuk’s words for God] cannot look on sin, because He is of purer eyes, than to do so, He must judge His people’s sins. Especially, when they defiantly wear His name and practice the evil of their hearts.

Maybe Habakkuk is realizing that God is going to have His way in the hearts of His people, and in the hearts of the Chaldeans, as well. It is not God’s plan to wipeout His people, but to cleanse them. However, He will judge, later, those who mistreat His people, and He will do it with vengeance. Woe be to the man, or nation who mistreats the child of God, or the people of God.

For verses 14-17 the MacArthur Study Bible note says, “Lest God had forgotten just how wicked the Chaldeans were, Habakkuk drew attention to their evil character and behavior. Life was cheap to the Chaldeans. In the face of their ruthless tactics of war, other societies were ‘like fish of the sea, like creeping things that have no ruler over them.’ In light of their reputation (vv. 6-10), how could God have unleashed this ruthless force upon another helpless people?” (NKJV version pg.1319).

“And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad. Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?” vv. 14-17 KJV).

In looking at the context of verses 14-17 it seems that these, “…wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he” Habakkuk 1:13 (KJV) and, verse 15 would go together. The Babylonian/Chaldeans only see other people and nations as “fish to catch”, a prey to kill. Because they so overwhelm their prey they believe their gods are the ones to worship. This should cause us, I am sure it did the prophet Habakkuk, to realize they have brought shame to the name of GOD.

The prophet sees the people of God, though, defiled by sin, living in sin, and rebellious to God; as being the more righteous (v. 13). He sees the nations, including Judah, as being seen by them like ‘fish of the sea’, and all they [the Chaldeans] have to do is drop a hook or a net and pull them in.

Habakkuk has acknowledged in verse twelve that he realizes that the coming of the Chaldeans is the judgment of God upon an unholy people of Judah; who have forsaken the Lord their God, and worshipping empty vessels.

Sometimes it does seem that trouble just abounds, and comes to us like an enemy taking us like fish from the sea. Like the prophet, though, we can turn to our GOD and trust Him with the questions we may ask. When our faith is in Him, they are not questions of accusation, but, rather questions for faith learning and growing.

God’s Answer to Habakkuk’s Questions

GOD’S ANSWER

 

“Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.  For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.  They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.  Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.  They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand.  And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.  Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.” Habakkuk 1:5-11 (KJV)

 

The prophet has asked, ‘How long?’ He has even insinuated, possibly, that, the LORD was slack in His duties of being God – particularly Judge.

God gives Habakkuk the answer, but not one he wants to hear. For seven verses God describes to the prophet what He has in mind for the people of Judah.

Basically, God says to Habakkuk, ‘The work you are about to see is going to be beyond your belief’. Notice what God tells the prophet –

Regard – or ‘look intently at’ – this would be a pleasure to those who Judah would call the ‘heathen’;

Wonder marvelously – amazed to the point of confusion.

Really take notice of what I am about to do, what is coming to pass. Mouths will drop open in wonder. Shock will accompany the wonder.

“Though it be told you” How could anyone who knew God think that God would use an unholy people to judge His unholy people.

It seems to me, that we see God’s sovereign hand here. God had intended that His people Judah and Israel be messengers to foreign lands; messengers of His grace, mercy, and goodness; but they had not only failed in that, they had become just as sinful and lawless as the ‘heathen’.

God was going to send some of His holy servants into the very jaws of the lion, the fires of Babylon, for judgment of Judah, and inform Babylon of the one true God.

In verse six God says the Chaldeans are a “Bitter and hasty nation”. By bitter it seems they have a hatred for Judah and ‘hasty’ seems to imply swiftness without much hesitance. They would possess what was not theirs and they would do it with all speed at their beckoning. It would seem particularly speedy since God was initiating the attack.

In our day we tend not to understand how God could use people like this to judge His people. It happens when God’s people have not lived up to the standards He lays out for us, and those standards are in His Word. God is not so concerned with our happiness or health, as much as He is our holiness, and most of all His own glory. He will do whatever it takes, within the attributes of His character, to make us holy. That is what He is doing in the nation of Judah.

The Chaldeans are said to be frightening, and they would put fear in your heart according to verse seven. The New Living Translation says, “They are notorious for their cruelty. They do as they like and no one can stop them”. They would be the source of God’s judgment upon Judah, however, they would get theirs too (See Daniel 5).

In the eighth verse we find that the Chaldeans/Babylonians will come with power and speed. They are also fierce, not only in countenance, but temperment.

Verse nine, violence and conquering is what they have in their minds and heart. They thrive on blood, the blood of their enemy, and that was anyone who got in their way. When you pick up sand in your fingers all of it cannot be kept there. This is almost like a randomness in some ways, but most likely means taking captives in great numbers. Captives of Judah.

Mockery will be on their tongues and in their hearts (vv. 10-11). Captured kings and princes – leaders will be scorned and some will die.

Walls built to resist their attacks will be overthrown by mounds of dirt laid against them. Because of his victory Nebuchadnezzar will attribute his victory to his god.

How pitiful it is when God’s people do not live by God’s Spirit and His Word. We bring shame to His name and pain and reproach to our name. O, how this must have pained the heart of Habakkuk. Do you think he liked the answer? May God forgive me.

This begs the question will God refrain from judging those who turn their backs on the nation of Israel today?  Will He count guiltless those who say that God is finished with Israel?  We could also ask, If this nation called the United States of America, was truly built on Biblical, Christian/Judeao principles and values; will we be any less guilty before God, than was Israel for turning their backs on God?

Habakkuk’s Questions

HABAKKUK’S QUESTIONs

Habakkuk 1:1-4

“The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” Habakkuk 1:1-4 (KJV)

When we think of a burden we think of a load. When you are driving a automobile it has more get up and go when only you, and nothing else, is in it. If you load it down – a truck or car; it just does not have the same performance.

Now, is that the type of “burden” the prophet is writing of. Some translations call this an “oracle”, but it seems to me that there is something more here than mere words. If it is the mere speaking of words, it is an utterance of doom. So why have a problem with “Burden”. To answer the question – it is similar. It was not a physical load. It caused him to ask questions. It eventually caused him to “see God” as righteous in His dealings, and always just in His judgments.

Habakkuk has been accused of accusing God of three different things –

  1. God is indifferent – like He does not even care;

  2. God is inactive – He sees the corruption, sickness and disease, immorality and debauchery, and does nothing about it;

  3. God is inconsistent – He seems to judge wickedness in some cases, but not in the ones the prophet sees.

Are these things so? Is that what Habakkuk really means? These certainly are not true. When we look at these verses it is quite clear that the prophet is speaking to God/YHWH, has these burdens and questions, and really just wants to know what is going on. He does not understand. Like so many of us today, in 2007, we do not understand why it seems that the wicked prosper, and the righteous suffer. The prophet was not really going to like God’s answer either.

The prophet’s first question – “O LORD, how long shall I cry and Thou will not hear?” NOTE: The KJV has these as exclamations. It seems more reasonable to see them as questions. Remember, punctuation was added by others. It is not the inspired text.

The Baker’s Encyclopedia of The Bible – “The main purpose of Habakkuk’s prophecy is to explain what a godly person’s attitude should be toward the presence of evil in the world. It also addresses God’s justice in punishing moral evil.” (pg. 907).

Baker’s Encyclopedia of The Bible also sees two complaints from the prophet –

In verses 1-11 of chapter one including the questions the prophet asks, and how God could use a wicked and vile people such as the Chaldeans to judge His people;

Chapter 1 verses 12 through chapter 2 verse 5 – wondering how God – since He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity can use these Chaldeans and why He does not judge these godless people.

The prophet’s second question – “…Even cry out unto Thee of violence, and Thou will not save?” Of course, these seem to be related in dealing with the same complaint of the above mentioned reference.

A third question – “Why dost Thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?”

The prophet seems to see no justice or judgment on the sin of God’s people. It seems to the prophet that the wicked trample all over the righteous and nothing is done –

  1. There is no law – it is powerless;

  2. There is no righteous judgment;

  3. The wicked overpower the righteous;

  4. The wrong people suffer.

It just seems to me in reading and studying these words of the prophet that nothing has changed with God’s people. We still fall into sin. There are still some who are burdened about sin, and asking the same questions. Somehow, we in the United States of America think that judgment cannot come from an outside source. Remember 9-11-01?

God’s judgment is still not without precedence in any age; even our own.

The Embracer

WHO IS HABAKKUK?

 

The meaning of the name “Habakkuk” is derived from a Hebrew word which means “embrace” or “embracer”. It seems in my mind that this is a name which fits him to a tee. He may have been a Levite engaged in the temple choir, and had a great concern for the direction his people were taking, away from God.

Let me quote here from the Criswell Study Bible. “Realizing Israel’s iniquity and need for punishment, Habakkuk is perplexed with the moral dilemma of how a holy God could employ the more deplorably wicked Chaldeans to chastise His Children.” I can understand his dilemma. In looking at God’s holiness, though, I would have to say, that He is more concerned with His glory, than He is with how things may appear to us. To continue the quotation from Criswell – “God responds by asserting His sovereign prerogative as to the choice and the timing of His retribution. Though it may appear unreasonable, His way is best. Thus the prophet learns that to believe what God says and to heed His warning is to be numbered among the righteous who shall live by faith (2:4). Consequently, Habakkuk’s theme is faith triumphant over apparent difficulties.”

Habakkuk was a prophet who had a heart for God’s people, and a heart for God. That is after all what a prophet. He speaks with God about the people, their sins and problems. He speaks with the people of God, His Word, His way, and the direction of their lives.
The prophecy of Habakkuk was a “burden”, ‘a heavy load’, and that is due to the message contained here. The prophet prophesied near the beginning of the Babylonian exile. The people were going to face severe judgment. Habakkuk did understand that judgment was coming by God from an unholy source.

Are we, who are Christians, in the United States of America not also facing judgment from an unholy source?

Habakkuk was a prophet who cared, yet spoke the truth. Bless the Lord. May every pastor and preacher of God’s Word, and the gospel do the same.

The Prophecy of Habakkuk

 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
1. “Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!” (v. 6).
2. “Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house…” (v. 9).
3. “Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood…” (v. 12).
4. “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink…” (v. 15).
5. “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
1. “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (1:5).
2. “For the vision is yet for an appointed time…, though it tarry wait for it; because it will surely come…” (2:3).
3. “But the just shall live by his faith.” (2:4).
4. “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14).
5. “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.