First challenge - finding the book follow along
Called a minor prophet, does not mean inferior to the major prophets, only shorter
It deals with great philosophical questions that have puzzled mankind since creation and continues to the present
There is No autobiographical information on Habakkuk
There is No reference to contemporary events to help with dating
He seems to best fit Somewhere between 609-605 BC during reign of king Jehoiakim, making him a contemporary of Jeremiah and Zephaniah
At this time the northern kingdom of Israel is already in exile in Assyria, so the prophet focused on southern kingdom
Upon the death of good king Josiah in 609 BC Israel entered a bleak period of moral and religious decline ultimately resulting in judgment and exile in 586 BC by an invasion of the Babylonian empire rapidly gaining power
This invasion was predicted by Isaiah years earlier and confirmed by the contemporary prophet Jeremiah but as Hab. Prophesied, it was still 20 years away, it had not happened yet but was apparently approaching
So this is the context. We are going to work our way through this book, so best to follow along in your bible
You will see Hab is distressed, He saw that Sin was great, but noticed and complained that God does nothing about it
1. He is waiting but God is inactive 2
2. He is crying out to God but God is inactive 3
3. The powerful use the law, meant for our protection, to their advantage to pervert justice
4. There is an acute Similarity to our own day
5. Hab. It seems expected God to step in and bring a great revival under perhaps a godly king who will come to set things right like many times in the past
6. Hab. Will find that God is not silent and will give a specific answer to this complaint, not the answer he expected
God’s answer 5-11
1. Verse 5 – Why start this way? The one thing that all thought impossible was going to happen
Israel was to be invaded by a wicked and ruthless nation as judgment
Jeremiah said as he prophesized this the people cried – Read Jer. 7:1-8 the temple of the Lord X2 Meaning God would never let the temple be destroyed
But God says Yes, he would, and use a nation more wicked than Israel
2. They saY THAT DURING THE French Revolution a man stood up in the chamber of deputies In Paris and said, I declare there is no God. He said if there is a God a challenge him to strike me dead. I am going to stand here for two minutes and if God does not strike me dead in 2 minutes you van know there is no God. Most in the chamber were atheists opposed to all religion at that point Nevertheless they all sat in tense salience as they waited for 2 minutes to pass. After 2 minutes no lightning bolt came and with a good laugh they got on with their business. The very next day that same man was walking to work when he was stung by a bee in the eye. The poison apparently entered his system and he died in a few hours
God may choose whatever means he wants to accomplish his will. He is not constrained by our preferences.
Hab. Had a problem when he started with the wickedness in the land and God’s inaction, but now it is worse when he hears gods response
He received the answer from God but it only compounded his confusion about god’s methods
Hab. Speaks to God again
Hab. Knows he will be rebuked and rejected by the people when he tells them about the Babylonians coming so he asks God questions that he knows the people will ask him
1. Why does it appear that evil swallows good
2. Why do the wicked have power while the others have none
3. Why does godlessness seem to bring prosperity
4. All true of the bab. Who will come in judgment upon Israel that all thought impossible
And so he is now going to stand and wait for God to explain himself
2:2-3 Gods answer
1. There is no explanation
2. There is only a confirmation of the revelation concerning the invasion for judgment. The event is so sure you can write it down, just like the 10 commandments
3. Spread it throughout the nation
4. But do not be deceived if it does not come exactly when you thought it would, it has its own appointed time
4-5 God continues
1. Addressing the Godly in the land,
live by your faith in faithful obedience to God even in the presence of evil and captivity
We do not understand all the ways of God but we must nevertheless live by faith and be faithful to God regardless of what comes to pass, true in any age
God has a plan and it will be accomplished, be patience, justice will be served even if we must wait for the life to come
2. To the ungodly
a. Focused on Babylon
6-8 Although God will use them to judge Israel, they will receive their due
9-11 justice will be served to the Bab. for what they will do to Israel that even if stones and beams of wood need to be witnesses, I wonder if this applies to us on judgment day
12-14 the bab. Engaged in empire building for nothing, since in the end the whole earth and all the glory is Gods. True of Bab. Today just ruins in the desert
15-17 drunkenness, violence, murder, the judgment on Bab. is deserved
Why is judgment coming on both of them, Israel and Bab.?
Read through the book of Ezekiel and you will see that idolatry was in the nation before the exile and it was everywhere, even in rooms of the temple itself
Ezek. 8:7-13 16-18
They had made idols right in the face of the one sitting in their midst in the holy temple.
Let all the earth be silent before him.
Come to your senses and stand before me in my holy temple. These idols are nothing they can do nothing.
I am the only one who can bring you deliverance
Chapter three is a prayer or psalm by Hab. where he brings to conclusion his thoughts and his conversation with God
He heard about the great deliverance from Egypt, conquest of Canaan, great works of Elisha and Elijah
Do them again in our day so we may see them
If it must be wrath remember mercy because in judgment no one is immune
A very figurative expression of God’s wrath against Bab. Which will come in its time and prefigures God’s judgment against all wickedness and evil that will eventually be abolished from the earth. It seems to divide into three sections or themes
1. 3-7 imagery from the exodus –
The theme is A similar judgment like that of the past during the deliverance from Egypt, will come upon them. Like the great deeds of the past as you hope for (verse 2)
2. 8-10 imagery of the warrior God
God pictured as a great warrior to which no none can resist. Even the earth itself will give way when God comes to judge
3. 11-15
This is a very difficult passage with many interpretations. It presents the imagery of final demise of evil and wickedness
It seems to be a glimpse of the final judgment that will come on the whole earth someday when gods’ judgment will finally put an end to injustice and wickedness, but it will take great tribulation. Any details beyond that just opinions that require further study and contemplation.
a. See sun and moon standing still, wrath striding through the earth threshing the nations
b. The deliverance of God’s people Israel, simultaneous with the great time of tribulation
c. The crushing of the head of Satan himself in fulfillment of Gen. 3:15, putting an end finally to evil in Gods creation
d. A difficult passage, I gave you one view of many, but I can say one thing for certain, it expresses that it will take great calamity to finally wipe sin and injustice off the earth
16-19 hab. Brings us back to the present and shares his conclusions about the whole matter
here are five:
1. The judgments that are coming from God against this world of sinful man are indeed frightful
2. But I will patiently wait for that nation who will savage us because of our sin, to receive their due from God
3. And in the midst of it all I understand the godly are not immune. Yet regardless of what suffering or deprivations may come, I will rejoice and be joyful in God, an example for us all
4. And what gives him the hope to do that is his final thought ?
5. God who is sovereign over all, knows my every move and every need, and if I live, he will see me through, and if I die, I will be home with him. And in the end, I will be the victor, because a sovereign God is my strength
We do not know what the future holds. But let us as a church and as a people be faithful to that ministry or life God has called you to. Let us not be filled with pride or lifted up when we are successful. And let us not feel sad or humiliated when after doing our best we find we are accomplishing little. When we stand before God it will not be our accomplishments under review, it will be our faithfulness to endure and persevere all that life has offered. So Help us to know and be confident that all things are in your hands
The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before him.
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