DATE: 606-604 B.C.
HABAKKUK / AUTHOR: Habakkuk / DATE: 606-604 B.C.
Nothing is known about the prophet himself, except that his name means “embracer.” however, Habakkuk is a very special prophet. Instead of God speaking to His people through him, as God did with other prophets, Habakkuk spoke to God and asked Him questions.
Habakkuk asked God why He would allow the increasing evil and sin in Judah to go unpunished (Hab 1:2-4) and how could He, a holy God, use the Babylonians, who were more wicked than the Jews, to punish the Jews (1:12-2:1)?
God’s answer to the first question is recorded in Habakkuk 1:5-11 and Habakkuk 2:2-10 is the answer to the second. Many interpret the book of Habakkuk as a theodicy, a defense of God’s goodness and power given the existence of evil.
Habakkuk’s prophecy is dated to around 605 BC, the time of King Jehoiakim and before Nebuchadnezzar first invaded Judah and took Daniel and others as captives to Babylon. The prophecy of coming judgment at the hands of the Babylonians should have brought repentance and revival, but it did not and evil prevailed in Judah. Jehoiakim was a bad king and the prophet Jeremiah wrote of him, “your eyes and your heart are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, and on shedding innocent blood and on practicing oppression and extortion” (Jer. 22:17; cf. Hab. 1:2-4 and 2 Kings 23:34-24:5).
The best-known verse in this book is Habakkuk 2:4, Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. It reveals the heart of God’s answer to Habakkuk’s questions and we see a beautiful picture of living by faith in the prophet himself. He went from questioning God in chapter one to totally trusting God in chapter three. The circumstances remained the same. Nothing had changed except the heart of the prophet who found rest in trusting God. This significant verse is also quoted in Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38), and it is central to the doctrine of sanctification and growing in faith.
Another favorite verse is Habakkuk 2:20 But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him, and chapter 3 is a great psalm of praise:
Hab 3:17-19 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
OUTLINE OF HABAKKUK
I. Introduction, 1:1
II. Habakkuk’s Problems, 1:2-2:20
A. Problem #1: Why Does God Allow Wicked Practices to Continue in Judah? 1:2-4
B. Answer #1, 1:5-11
C. Problem #2: Why Will God Use Wicked People to Punish Judah? 1:12-2:1
D. Answer #2, 2:2-20
III. Habakkuk’s Praise, 3:1-19
A. Praise for the Person of God, 3:1-3
B. Praise for the Power of God, 3:4-7
C. Praise for the Purpose of God, 3:8-16
D. Praise Because of Faith in God, 3:17-19
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