Survey of the Bible - Habakkuk

Text: Habakkuk 3:16-19


I.         Introduction

            A.        Not much is known about Habukkuk, other than that he is a prophet of God - Habakkuk 1:1

                        1.         His name means “one who embraces” and like other prophets, his name is reflected in his book - Habakkuk 3:17-19

                        2.         Habakkuk was going to cling to God, whatever happened

                        3.         Notice the last line in Habakkuk 3:19. Some suppose that this indicates that Habakkuk was a priest and a part of the temple worship.

            B.        Habakkuk was a man who struggled with his faith

                        1.         He saw violence and distorted justice all around him

                        2.         When God revealed his plans, that scared Habakkuk worse than the current problems.

                        3.         But God’s explanation showed Habakkuk God’s wisdom.

                        4.         This is a book about spiritual growth

            C.        Nahum told us that no one was so great that they could not be destroyed. Habakkuk tells us that no one is owed salvation.

II.        Background

            A.        Habakkuk mentions that invasion by Babylon is imminent - Habakkuk 1:6; 3:16

            B.        The immorality of Judah indicates it was during the reign of one of Judah’s bad kings.

                        1.         Assuming the Chaldeans had already come to power, the most likely time would be during King Jehoiakim’s reign (609-597 BC)

            C.        In 612 BC, just a few years before King Jehoiakim came to power, Nabopolassar destroyed Assyria. His son, Nebuchadnezzar, came to power in 605 BC, a few years after King Jehoiakim was crowned.

                        1.         He was the uncontested world’s super power of his time.

                        2.         Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah the first time during his first year.

                        3.         So the likely date for Habakkuk would be shortly before or about 607 BC.

            D.        King Jehoiakim got his position because Pharaoh Necho conquered his brother King Jehoahaz captive and Jehoiakim was put in his place - II Kings 23:34-24:5

                        1.         In other words, he only ruled because others allowed him.

                        2.         It seems he turned to violence to try and “prove” his worth - Jeremiah 22:17-19

III.       Overview

            A.        Habakkuk is upset with God - Habakkuk 1:1-4

                        1.         Wickedness and violence abounded in the world around him - Jeremiah 6:9-31

                                    a.         Jeremiah asked much the same question: Why do the wicked prosper? - Jeremiah 12:1-4

                                    b.         It is an old question. Job asked it - Job 21:7-15

                                    c.         Asaph too was troubled by the apparent ease of the wicked - Psalm 73:2-5

                                    d.         Malachi 3:15 - Is it useless to follow God?

                        2.         Habakkuk had been crying out to God, yet it appears God is not listening.

                                    a.         Jeremiah also had given up hope - Lamentations 3:6-9, 17-18

                                    b.         Job declares God was not listening to his plight - Job 30:16-21

                                    c.         David too despaired - Psalm 22:1-2

            B.        God tells Habakkuk his plans - Habakkuk 1:5-11

                        1.         He will send in the Chaldeans to destroy Israel.

                        2.         But then he will destroy them because of their arrogance

            C.        This is not the expected answer. There is violence in Israel, so God is going to solve the problem by bringing in a more violent, heathen nation to overrun them? - Habakkuk 1:12-2:1

                        1.         Basically, Habakkuk’s answer is, “Wait a minute. You’re too good and righteous to do this to your chosen people.”

                        2.         Habakkuk decides to wait to see how God responds while he formulates his reply

            D.         God replies with a list of the Chaldean’s sins - Habakkuk 2:2-19

                        1.         Pride, greed, violence, trampling others to get what they want, sensuality and drunkenness, and foolish idolatry.

                                    a.         Basically God is saying, “What else would you expect for such an evil people?”

                                    b.         You certainly could not say these are people who deserve special favor.

                        2.         Notice that God only addressed the punishment of the Chaldeans. He ignored Habakkuk’s claim that Israel was more righteous (Habakkuk 1:13)

                                    a.         Habakkuk already knew Israel was in sin (Habakkuk 1:3-4)

            E.        Habakkuk’s answer was an embarrassed silence - Habakkuk 2:20

                        1.         Job had cried out that he was being unfairly treated by God, but God showed Job that he did not understand what was going on. Look at Job’s answer - Job 40:1-5

                        2.         God told Jeremiah if he is crying now from the wicked’s misdeeds, what will he do when God begins to punish the nation? - Jeremiah 12:5

                                    a.         In other words, the answer you get might be more than you bargained for.

                        3.         Justice would be carried out, just not in the way Habakkuk expected

            F.        Habakkuk realized that Israel deserved the punishment God would send

                        1.         The last chapter of Habakkuk is a prayer recorded as a psalm

                                    a.         Habakkuk prays for mercy - Habakkuk 3:1-2

                                    b.         Praise for the glory of God - Habakkuk 3:3-4

                                    c.         Praise for the power of God in His anger- Habakkuk 3:5-12

                                    d.         Praise for the plan of God - Habakkuk 3:13-16

                                    e.         Habakkuk’s trust in God - Habakkuk 3:17-19

                                                (1)       No matter how bad things get

                                                (2)       Still Habakkuk will rejoice in God

                        2.         He may not like it, but he would put his trust in God.

                        3.         David says much the same thing - Psalm 37

IV.      One of the best known verses from Habakkuk, Habakkuk 2:4, is quoted three times in the New Testament

            A.        Romans 1:17

            B.        Galatians 3:11

            C.        Hebrews 10:37-38

            D.        No one earns salvation. God doesn’t owe anyone because they are too righteous to destroy. Thus salvation is a gift of mercy from God.

V.        Is it so different today?

            A.        People cry out against the wickedness in the world. They demand justice, but they don’t like what justice demands.

            B.        How often do you hear, “Why does God allow all this evil in the world?”

            C.        But the answer that evil will be destroyed in hell upsets people as well. “A good and righteous God would never send people to Hell! There cannot be such a place!”

            D.        But God is both good and severe - Romans 11:22

            E.        People like to be told the righteous will be rewarded, but they don’t like the thought of the wicked being punished - Ezekiel 18:20-32

                        1.         We like the idea that God will forgive our sins and not hold our past against us.

                        2.         Yet if we commit evil, we want God to remember all our good deeds as if they will balance out the bad.

                        3.         It doesn’t work that way. If God will only consider the repentant sinner’s present condition, then justice requires that he only considers the fallen’s current condition.

            F.        But where is your trust in God? Will you follow no matter what?

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