God watches us tonight as we live in a nation suffering very much the same disease that ancient Israel suffered. It’s a collective societal amnesia about our spiritual heritage. In ancient Israel it had to do with closing the Temple down, hiding the Law of God and neglecting His worship. In America it’s found in the insidious concept we see all around us of reconstructing our history.
Chuck Colson is his thoughtful work of 1992 THE BODY points out Kevin Costner’s fanciful rewriting of the West in DANCES WITH THE WOLVES and again in ROBINHOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES. Listen to Colson:
Deconstruction is a growing skepticism about objective truth. It is the dismantling of language, texts and history … to the point that history is eroded; society has no tradition (and disintegrates)!
Now listen to the mighty prophet Habakkuk: In chapter one he says – God raises up Adversaries; in chapter 2 he says the righteous live by faith but the wicked have no hiding place; in chapter 3 he says, hope in God despite any hopeless situation. However, when a nation turns from its spiritual heritage, Judgment is Inevitable and Inescapable.
I. Summary: Habakkuk’s ministry started during the reign of Jehoiakim, prior to the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar, and thus the people of Judah must have been in great fear because of the signs that they could see around them with Babylon .
II. Purpose: To emphasize God’s righteousness in bringing destruction on Jerusalem through an ungodly nation, Babylon . To display God’s sovereignty in usingBabylon to destroy Jerusalem .
I. THE BURDENED PROPHET TALKS TO GOD (ch. 1):
A. First Problem (1:1-1:5) Why does God allow evil to continue?
1. Habakkuk is unlike the other prophets.
a) Jonah & Nahum spoke to Assyria .
b) Hosea speaks to Israel .
c) Micah speaks to Judah .
d) Habakkuk speaks to God.
2. Habakkuk is much like:
a) JOB 19:7 “If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard. If I cry aloud, there is no justice. (NKJV)
b) ASAPH Psalm 73:1 A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel , To such as are pure in heart. (NKJV)
c) JEREMIAH 20:7-10 O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me. 8 For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the word of the LORD was made to me A reproach and a derision daily. 9 Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. 10 For I heard many mocking: “Fear on every side!” “Report,” they say, “and we will report it!” All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying, “Perhaps he can be induced; Then we will prevail against him, And we will take our revenge on him.” (NKJV)
3. Habbakuk asks seven questions:
a) ARE YOU THERE? Habakkuk 1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. (NKJV)
b) ARE YOU AWARE? Habakkuk 1:3Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. (NKJV)
c) ARE YOU GOD? Habakkuk 1:12 Are You not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. (NKJV)
d) ARE YOU OMNISCIENT?Habakkuk 1:13a You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously ? (NKJV)
e) ARE YOU HOLY? Habakkuk 1:13b You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he? (NKJV)
f) ARE YOU SOVEREIGN?Habakkuk 1:14 Why do You make men like fish of the sea, Like creeping things that have no ruler over them? (NKJV)
g) ARE YOU OMNIPOTENT?Habakkuk 1:17 Shall they therefore empty their net, And continue to slay nations without pity? (NKJV)
h) God’s answer to all seven, YES! I am working on all of them!
B. Second Problem (1:12-17) Not them! How can you use an even more wicked people to punish Your own people?
1. GOD RAISES UP ADVERSARIESHabakkuk 1:6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. (NKJV)
2. THEY ARE EVIL:
a) Habakkuk 1:6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. (NKJV)
b) Habakkuk 1:7 They are terrible and dreadful; Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. (NKJV)
c) Habakkuk 1:9 “They all come for violence; Their faces are set like the east wind. They gather captives like sand. (NKJV)
d) Habakkuk 1:10 They scoff at kings, And princes are scorned by them. They deride every stronghold, For they heap up earthen mounds and seize it. (NKJV)
e) Habakkuk 1:17 Shall they therefore empty their net, And continue to slay nations without pity? (NKJV)
II. THE BENDED PROPHET LISTENS TO GOD (ch. 2):
A. THE PATIENT WAITING (2:1-4) He took his problem to the Lord, and waited. God shows him that all people are facing the great divide. Their destinations are opposite. Habakkuk 2:4 ” Behold the proud (‘puffed up soul’ is flowing like a swollen river into the sea of God ‘s destruction), His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith. is quoted 3x in the New Testament. In each there is a different emphasis:
1. The emphasis is on the JUST inRomans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (NKJV)
2. The emphasis is on FAITH in Galatians 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” (NKJV)
3. The emphasis is on LIVE in Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (NKJV)
B. THE PERILED WICKED (2:5-20). Five woes are pronounced against:
1. Greed, drunkenness, pride and aggression (v. 5-8)
2. covetousness, exploitation and extortion (v. 9-11)
3. murder, iniquity and violence (v. 12-14)
4. immorality (v. 15-17)
5. false religions and idolatry (v. 18-20)
III. THE BLESSED PROPHET PRAISES GOD (ch. 3):
A. GOD’S PERSON (3:1-2) IS GREAT.
1. REVEALER v. 2 O LORD, I have heard your speech and was afraid;
2. REVIVER v. 2 O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known;
3. MERCIFUL JUDGE v. 2 In wrath remember mercy.
B. GOD’S POWER (3:3-15) IS GLORIOUS.
1. Seen by Moses v. 3-10
a) HOLY v. 3 God came from Teman, The Holy One from Mount Paran.
b) AWESOME v. 3 Selah His glory covered the heavens, Numbers 10:12And the children of Israel set out from the Wilderness of Sinai on their journeys; then the cloud settled down in the Wilderness of Paran. (NKJV)
c) PRAISEWORTHY v. 3 And the earth was full of His praise.Deuteronomy 33:2 And he said: “The LORD came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came with ten thousands of saints; From His right hand Came a fiery law for them. (NKJV)
d) GLORIOUS Habakkuk 3:4 His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, And there His power was hidden. (NKJV) Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. (NKJV)
e) FEARFUL Habakkuk 3:5 Before Him went pestilence, And fever followed at His feet. (NKJV) Exodus 12:29 And it came to pass at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. (NKJV);Numbers 14:12 “I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” (NKJV); Numbers 16:46 So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a censer and put fire in it from the altar, put incense on it, and take it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them; for wrath has gone out from the LORD. The plague has begun.” (NKJV)
f) ETERNALLY ALL POWERFULHabakkuk 3:6 He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations. And the everlasting mountains were scattered, The perpetual hills bowed. His ways are everlasting. (NKJV)Deuteronomy 32:8 When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the children of Israel. (NKJV); Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (NKJV)
g) MIGHTY Habakkuk 3:7 I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; The curtains of the land of Midian trembled. (NKJV)Exodus 15:14-15 “The people will hear and be afraid; Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. 15 Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; The mighty men of Moab, Trembling will take hold of them; All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. (NKJV);Numbers 22:3-4 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. (NKJV)
h) POWERFUL OVER NATURE Habakkuk 3:8 O LORD, were You displeased with the rivers, Was Your anger against the rivers, Was Your wrath against the sea, That You rode on Your horses, Your chariots of salvation? (NKJV)Exodus 14:21-22 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. (NKJV); Deuteronomy 33:26-27“There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, And in His excellency on the clouds. 27 The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’ (NKJV)
i) STRONG IN EVERY REALMHabakkuk 3:9 Your bow was made quite ready; Oaths were sworn over Your arrows. Selah You divided the earth with rivers. (NKJV) Deuteronomy 32:23 ‘ I will heap disasters on them; I will spend My arrows on them. (NKJV); Numbers 20:11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. (NKJV)
j) Habakkuk 3:10 The mountains saw You and trembled; The overflowing of the water passed by. The deep uttered its voice, And lifted its hands on high. (NKJV) Exodus 19:16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. (NKJV);Exodus 14:22-28 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.”
k) 26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. (NKJV)
2. Seen by Joshua v. 11-15
a) Habakkuk 3:11 The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; At the light of Your arrows they went, At the shining of Your glittering spear. (NKJV) Joshua 10:12-13 Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. (NKJV)
b) Habakkuk 3:12 You marched through the land in indignation; You trampled the nations in anger. (NKJV)Joshua 6:2 And the LORD said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.; Joshua 12:7 And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel conquered on this side of the Jordan, on the west, from Baal Gad in the Valley of Lebanon as far as Mount Halak and the ascent to Seir, which Joshua gave to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions, (NKJV)
c) Habakkuk 3:13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people, For salvation with Your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked, By laying bare from foundation to neck. Selah (NKJV) Joshua 10:11 And it happened, as they fled before Israel and were on the descent of Beth Horon, that the LORD cast down large hailstones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. There were more who died from the hailstones than the children of Israel killed with the sword. ; 10:24 So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” And they drew near and put their feet on their necks. ; 10:42 All these kings and their land Joshua took at one time, because the LORD God of Israel fought for Israel.; Joshua 11:8,12 And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel, who defeated them and chased them to Greater Sidon, to the Brook Misrephoth, and to the Valley of Mizpah eastward; they attacked them until they left none of them remaining. 12 So all the cities of those kings, and all their kings, Joshua took and struck with the edge of the sword. He utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded. (NKJV)
d) Habakkuk 3:14-15 You thrust through with his own arrows The head of his villages. They came out like a whirlwind to scatter me; Their rejoicing was like feasting on the poor in secret. 15 You walked through the sea with Your horses, Through the heap of great waters. (NKJV) Psalm 77:19 Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, And Your footsteps were not known. (NKJV)
GOD’S PLAN (3:16-19) IS GRACIOUS.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls — 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills. (NKJV)
ü Imagine with me some of worst events our present high tech society could get. How would we respond as Christians if confronted with utter economic, political, social catastrophe .. and personal adversity? In the format of Habakkuk’s declaration:
Though I lose my life’s savings through a crash, down turn, bad investment or bank failure, or never have saved anything,
Though America has another Depression, my company folds, restructures or downsizes me out the door,
Though I lose my job, my husband loses his, or I am single and unemployed and our government’s safety net fails, my benefits run out, and there is no one to care for me in old age, sickness and aloneness,
Though global famine wipes out food supplies in supermarkets, and my cupboards are bare at home and my familyis suffering,
Though my loved ones never get saved, and my children turn from God, get pregnant, on drugs or in jail,
Though earthquake, flood, famine, fire, tornado, hurricane, drought or mudslide sweep away all that is precious to me,
Though my car quits and I can’t afford a new one, used one of even to repair it,
Though my health fails, insurance folds, marriage ends, or I get cancer,
Though my mate has a heart attack, and I suddenly find myself alone,
Though America falls to a foreign power, our liberties cease and we are plunged into chaos,
Though Christianity is outlawed, our property confiscated, our loved ones arrested and we are incarcerated without hope in prison,
Could I still say, YES, LORD,
ü I accept Your loving, sovereign hand on national affairs and in my Personal life?
ü Could I affirm, YES, LORD, come what may, I believe Your promise: ” I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future… ” (Jer. 29:11).
ü “The Lord is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him” (Andrew Murray).
ü God will work all things for my good and for His glory!
TREMBLE AT HIS WORD Habakkuk 3:16 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. (NKJV)
ü Like David Psalm 119:120 My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments. (NKJV)
ü Like Isaiah 6:5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” (NKJV)
ü Like Jeremiah 23:9 My heart within me is broken Because of the prophets; All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, And like a man whom wine has overcome, Because of the LORD, And because of His holy words. (NKJV)
ü Like Daniel 7:15, 28 I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. 28 “This is the end of the account. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed; but I kept the matter in my heart.” (NKJV)
ü Like John Revelation 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. (NKJV)
PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME. The Scriptures teach us to praise God by two special activities:
ECHOING HIS ATTRIBUTES. Praise expresses the character of God. Some Christians study the New Testament almost exclusively because it reveals many truths that were mysteries in the past. But one great reason to study the Old Testament is that it powerfully reveals the character of God, enabling us to praise Him better.
ü Habakkuk praised God for is character, that He is a Holy, Almighty, Eternal, Covenant Keeping God (Hab. 1:12-13) -and that praise solved a great problem in his own heart. He didn’t understand why God was going to judge Israel by sending the evil Chaldeans to conquer them (1:6-11). Habakkuk wanted God to revive and restore His people, but they had overstepped the limit of His patience.
ü In the midst of his confusion, Habakkuk remembered this: God is holy-He doesn’t make mistakes. God is a covenant keeping God-He doesn’t break His promises. God is eternal-He is outside the flux of history. Following his praise, Habakkuk affirmed what we have been learning throughout this chapter, that “the righteous will live by his faith” (2:4).
ü He felt better even though his circumstances hadn’t changed. God did allow the Chaldeans to overrun Israel for a time, but Habakkuk knew his God was strong enough to handle any circumstances.
ü Instead of worrying about problems we cannot solve, we should say, “Lord, You are bigger than history. You own everything in the entire universe. You can do anything You want to do. You love me and promise I will never be without the things I need. You-said You would take care of me as You take care of the birds and the flowers. You have promised that Your character and power are at my disposal.” That kind of praise glorifies God.
ECHOING HIS ACTIONS. God’s attributes are displayed in His works. The psalms are filled with lists of the great things God has done for His people. They praise Him for parting the Red Sea, making water flow from a rock, feeding His people with manna in the wilderness, destroying their enemies, making the walls of Jericho fall, and many other powerful works.
ü After reevaluating his problem, Habakkuk praised God for His works, trembling at the power displayed in them (3:16). He affirmed that he would rejoice in the Lord even if everything crumbled about him (w. 17-18). Why? Because God had proved Himself in the past. That’s why the Old Testament contains such an extensive history of God’s works-so we can know specifically how God has proved faithful.
ü If you have a problem facing you that you don’t know how to solve, remember to praise God. Say to Him, “Lord, You are the God who put the stars and planets into space. You are the God who formed the earth and separated the land from the sea. Then You made humanity and everything else that lives. Although humanity fell, You planned our redemption. You are the God who carved out a nation for Yourself and preserved it through history, performing wonder after wonder for that nation. You are the God who came into this world
FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF HABAKKUK
- WHEN BURDENED TALK TO GOD.
- WHEN BENDED LISTEN TO GOD.
- WHEN BLESSED PRAISE GOD.