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Old Testament Overview - Habakkuk

When God seems far away

(We know nothing about Habakkuk, other than what he writes about himself in this book.)  (Habakkuk is unique as a prophet in that his book is not addressed to either his countrymen or to a foreign country, but it is directed God.  Rather than being a spokesman for God to men, he is a spokesman for men to God.  He argues the case of the righteous remnant before God.)  (The book begins with his doubts and ends with his shouts.  Habakkuk goes from having little faith to having great faith; and it goes from Habakkuk being impatient with God to him being patient with God.)

Key Events:  Habakkuk's complaint #1: How long will it be before you do something about the injustice, strife, and violence that surrounds me that I keep crying out to you about? (1:1-4)  (Habakkuk sees that God's country is not acting like God's country should act, and it seems like God is doing nothing about it.)

God's answer #1: I am doing something, I am rising up the horrible Babylonians to deal with it. (1:5-11)  (Babylon was beginning to exert its power among the nations.)  (God describes the Babylonians as a terrible people who only glorify themselves. 1:7)  (These Babylonians are very fearsome foes. 1:8-11)

Habakkuk's complaint #2: The Babylonians are more evil than Israel.  Why do you have them "execute" your "judgment"? (1:12-2:1)  ("Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?" 1:13)  (Babylon worships their weapons of war rather than worshiping God. 1:14-17)  ("I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint." 2:1)  (He waits for God's answer.  He certainly thought that there would not be an answer to his complaint.)

God's answer #2: Wait patiently, for Babylon also will receive what she deserves. (2:2-20)  (1) "Write down the revelation," for it will come to pass. (2:2-3)  (2) "The righteous will live by his faith," but Babylon is arrogant and greedy. (2:4-5)  "The righteous will live by his faith"  Such words as "rest," "wait," "confidence in God," "contentment," and "prayer" describe a man or woman who has learned to trust and rely on God.  These words in Habakkuk 2:4, "the righteous will live by his faith" are also found in Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; and Heb. 10:38 See also Heb. 11:6)  (The opposite of faith is arrogance.  The Babylonians were the very opposite of a humble man or woman of faith.  They were "puffed up." 2:4)  (Their arrogance will lead to God's judgment on them. 2:6-20)  (They will be taunted, ridiculed, and scorned. 2:6-8)  (Their rich homes and cities built by their wickedness will cry out against them, and they will be burnt up. 2:9-13)  (Babylon's drunkenness would lead to God's cup of wrath being poured out on them. 2:15-17)  (Woe to those worship idols of your own creation. 2:18-19)  (God is infinitely greater than an idol: "But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." 2:20)

Habakkuk's prayer of faith (3)  (1) His prayer request (3:1-2)  (Habakkuk's perspective of God had changed: "Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord." 3:2a)  (He has become confident that God is all-powerful and that He is about to act.  He asks God to express His wrath, but also to "remember mercy." 3:2)  (2) A vision of the glory of God's coming to the earth. (3:3-15)  (In these verses, we see the future coming of God, but it is described in terms of His past mighty acts on behalf of the nation of Israel.)  ("Paran" is mentioned in Numb. 13:3 as the place where the twelve spies were sent out from as they ventured into the Promised Land.)  ("Teman" was one of the large cities of Edom.)  (God was with His people in the wilderness with great power: there were plagues, See Numb. 12, 25:1-9; and the earth trembled. See Numb. 16:28-34)  Then, they entered the Promised land. 3:3-7)  (Habakkuk reflects on God's mighty acts in crossing the Red Sea and the Jordan River; and he reflects on other mighty acts of God toward His people Israel. 3:8-15)  (Habakkuk goes from questioning God to expressing His confidence in God's infinite strength and power.)  (3) Habakkuk's faith (3:16-19)  (Habakkuk is now willing to "wait" for God, though his "heart pounded" and his "legs trembled." 3:16)  (God's judgment through the evil Babylonians and God's judgment of the Babylonians were now a fearsome reality to Habakkuk!  But he was confident that it was going to happen—he had gone from doubt to faith.)  (Habakkuk had come to a place in his faith that he could trust in God and rejoice in God in the good times and in the bad times.  "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior." 3:17-18)  (In modern times, we might say that even when there are no groceries in the kitchen, there is no gas in the car, and we do not have a job; yet, we will rejoice in the Lord.)  (Habakkuk is also saying, God is my strength and He makes me to be as full of life and bounce, as if I had the bouncy legs of a deer.)  (3:19 is more familiar to many in the KJV: 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.")  (There is a well known book written on this verse titled: Hind's Feet in High Places by Hannah Hunnard.)  (Genuine faith in God will give this type of bouncy joyous faith!  Notice, it is God who gives us this type of faith: "The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments." 3:19)

Key Verses:  1:13, 2:4, 14, 20, 3:1-2, 3-15, 16-18, 19

Key Teachings:  We need to learn that even when it does not make sense to us, God is still in charge and accomplishing His purposes. "See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous will live by his faith—" (Habakkuk 2:4)
"But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." (Habakkuk 2:20)  Habakkuk's faith is described in 2:4, 2:20, 3:1-15, 16-18, 19  God is the one who gives us deer's feet—joyous faith. (3:19)

Old Testament Overview Studies

Old Testament Overview
Table of Contents
Old Testament Overview Outline
Old Testament Overview Genesis
Old Testament Overview Exodus to Deuteronomy
Old Testament Overview Furniture of the Tabernacle
Old Testament Overview Dress of Priests and High Priest
Old Testament Overview Dress of High Priest
Old Testament Overview Canaan: What Can it Teach Us?
Old Testament Overview Israel, God's Kingdom
Old Testament Overview Moses—Failure the Backdoor to Success
Old Testament Overview The Mosaic Covenant
Old Testament Overview The Ten Commandments
Old Testament Overview The Offerings
Old Testament Overview Uncleanness
Old Testament Overview The Priesthood
Old Testament Overview The Festivals
Old Testament Overview The Nazirite Vow
Old Testament Overview Joshua to Ruth
Old Testament Overview Prophecies of the Redeemer—Genesis to Ruth
Old Testament Overview I and II Samuel
Old Testament Overview Saul and David Compared
Old Testament Overview Jonathan and David Compared
Old Testament Overview The Davidic Covenant
Old Testament Overview I And II Kings
Old Testament Overview Israel's and Judah's Kings
Old Testament Overview Divided Kings who Divided
Old Testament Overview Criticisms of God's Actions in the Old Testament
Old Testament Overview Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther
Old Testament Overview Ruth and Esther Compared
Old Testament Overview Job to Song of Solomon
Old Testament Overview Proverbs: Wise Man or Fool?
Old Testament Overview Isaiah
Old Testament Overview Jeremiah
Old Testament Overview Daniel
Old Testament Overview Hosea
Old Testament Overview Joel
Old Testament Overview Amos
Old Testament Overview Obadiah
Old Testament Overview Jonah
Old Testament Overview Micah
Old Testament Overview Nahum
Old Testament Overview Habakkuk
Old Testament Overview Zephaniah
Old Testament Overview Haggai
Old Testament Overview Zechariah
Old Testament Overview Malachi