Habakkuk – Chapter 3

Habakkuk Prays for God’s Mercy

Verse 1 – A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth.

Verse 2 – O Lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid; O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.

The Hebrew word Shigionoth refers to a type of song. Habakkuk knew that discipline was coming to the people of Judah, but he asked that God show mercy.

Verse 3 – God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.

Paran is the desert region, extending from south of Judah to Sinai. The word Selah occurs 71 times in Psalms and three times in Habakkuk. The precise meaning is unknown, but it most likely is a musical term. It could be a signal to lift up the hands or voice in worship, or it could be an exclamation like “Amen” or “Hallelujah.”

Verse 4 – His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden.

Verse 5 – Before Him went pestilence, and fever followed at His feet.

Verse 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.

Verse 7 – I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Midian trembled.

Verse 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?

Verse 9 – Your bow was made quite ready; oaths were sworn over Your arrows. You divided the earth with rivers.

Verse 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.

Verse 11 – The sun and moon stood still in their habitation; at the light of Your arrows they went, at the shinning of Your glittering spear.

These verses speak of when God parted the Red Sea and pharaohs chariots and all his army were drowned; and now when Joshua was fighting and needed it to stay daylight, God made the sun stand still. God, over and over, fought His peoples battles as they stood still and watched.

Verse 12 – You marched through the land in indignation; You trampled the nations in anger.

Verse 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

Habakkuk confirms hope for the believers in deliverance, because God never changes. God’s Anointed One was portrayed as Moses, Joshua, and David, representing the Messiah.

Verse 14 – 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.

Not only the kings were overthrown by God’s hand, but His hand passed through the villages on the wicked individuals who took advantage of the poor.

Verse 15 – You walked through the sea with Your horses, through the heaps of great waters.

Verse 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.

Verse 17 – 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 be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls –

Verse 18 – Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Verse 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.

Habakkuk’s feelings for God was not controlled by the events surrounding him or Judah, but by faith in God. Our trust in the One true God should not change because of what happens to us.

The prophetic message of Habakkuk is that while God may seem to appear inactive at times , in the face of violence all around, He is still in control of events far larger than even His prophets knew in order to ensure that His purpose for individuals and nations are accomplished. THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH!

Habakkuk – Chapter 2

Verse 1 – I will stand upon my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am reproved (corrected).

The watchman of the tower was often used by prophets to show an attitude of expectation. Habakkuk would patiently wait for God to answer him.

Verse 2 – Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it,

Verse 3 – for the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

These two verses are entire sermons by themselves. We can apply them to our own lives, which should mean something to someone who has ever waited on God to answer.

When we set goals for the kingdom, we start to see ourselves in a certain position of where we desire to be. The revelation that comes from God will be planted in our spirits. The longer we dwell on it, it begins to grow and expand. Write it down! What God places inside of us, He will bring to pass. He says even though it tarries, “wait for it.”

In this case with Habakkuk, God told him to write down his vision of the coming army so there would be no misunderstanding, because it would surely come.

Verse 4 – “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.

The proud put their trust and faith in themselves to succeed and prosper in this life. However, the “just,” humble their hearts under God’s mighty hand and live knowing “God is for them and not against them.”

Verse 5 – “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, he is a proud man, and he does not stay home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, and he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, he gathers to himself all nations and heaps up for himself all peoples.

The Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar were filled with an insatiable desire of conquest. Just another reason for their punishment.

Verse 6 – “Shall not all these take up a proverb against him, and a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases what is not his – how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’?

Verse 7 – Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty.

Verse 8 – Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the people shall plunder you, because of men’s blood and the violence of the land and the city, and of all who dwell in it.

Even though God used Babylon to punish Judah, Babylon would not go unpunished. Babylon’s plunder form the nations is like a debt from creditors that they must eventually repay.

Verse 9 – “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of disaster!

Verse 10 – You gave shameful counsel to your house, cutting off many peoples, and sinned against your soul.

Verse 11 – For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the timbers will answer it.

Verse 12 – “Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, who establishes a city by iniquity!

Verse 13 – Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the peoples labor to feed the fire, and nations weary themselves in vain?

Babylon’s wealth had come form the misfortune of others, but these riches would be fuel for fire. Wealth acquired by lying, cheating, and stealing, will be dealt with by God. We make sure our appetite for money doesn’t override our love for God and His ways.

Verse 14 – For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Verse 15 – “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness!

Verse 16 – You are filled with shame instead of glory. You also drink! and be exposed as uncircumcised! The cup of the LORD’S right hand will be turned against you, and utter shame will be on your glory.

Verse 17 – For the violence done on Lebanon will cover you, and the plunder of beasts which made them afraid , because of men’s blood and the violence of the land and the city, and of all who dwell in it.

Babylon had stolen lumber form the forests of Lebanon. They had built their city on stolen timber.

Verse 18 – “What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it, the molten image, a teacher of lies, that the maker of its mold should trust in it, to make mute idols?

Verse 19 – Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ Silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’ Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and in it there is no breath at all.

Verse 20 – But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

The Babylonians put their trust in their pagan god Marduk, which was lifeless. People do the same thing today by putting their trust in their bank accounts, homes, businesses, and government. That is idol worship. It doesn’t have to be an object made of wood, silver, or gold. Our total confidence should always be in “Our God!”

The Book of Habakkuk – Chapter 1

Introduction:

Habakkuk ministers during the death of Judah. The nation had stubbornly refused to repent and change their sinful ways. Habakkuk was a prophet and may have been a priest connected with the temple worship in Jerusalem.

Habakkuk struggles in his faith when he sees men flagrantly violate God’s law and distort justice on every level, without any fear of God’s retribution. He wants to know why God allows the iniquity to go unpunished for so long. When God revels His intention to use the Babylonians as His rod of judgment, Habakkuk becomes even more troubled, because that nation is even more wicked than Judah.

In spite of appearances to the contrary, God is still on the throne as the Lord of history and the Ruler of all nations. God may be slow to wrath, but all iniquity will be punished eventually and in His timing. The righteous will trust in Him at all times. No matter what God brings to pass, “The just shall live by faith” (2:4).

The Book of Habakkuk is an amazing book and deals with understanding God’s ways.

Verse 1 – The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.

Habakkuk lived in Judah during the time of Jehoiakim. He prophesied between the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C. and the Babylonian invasion of Judah 588 B.C. While the other prophet’s books brought God’s message to the people, this one brings the people’s questions to God.

Verse 2 – O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” and You will not save.

Do we not ask God the same thing? “How long, Lord, will You let the injustices go on?”

Verse 3 – Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises.

Verse 4 – Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.

These verses kind of remind me of our leaders who lie, are deceitful, steal, commit treason against our country, make laws that they themselves don’t follow, and nobody ever goes to jail for the crimes they have committed.

God’s First Reply

Verse 5 – “Look among the nations and watch – be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.

Verse 6 – For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation which marches through the breath of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.

The Babylonians made a rapid rise to power around 630 B.C. They began to assert themselves against the Assyrian empire in 605 B.C.

Verse 7 – They are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.

Verse 8 – Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and more fierce than evening wolves. Their charges charge ahead; their cavalry comes form afar; they fly as the eagle that hastens to eat.

This comparison with animals, illustrate the speed, brutality, and efficiency of the Babylonian military machine.

Verse 9 – “They all come for violence; their faces are set like the east wind. They gather captives like sand.

Verse 10 – They scoff at kings, and princes are scorned by them. They deride every stronghold, for they heap up mounds of earth and seize it.

Verse 11 – Then his mind changes, and he transgresses; he commits offense, imputing the power to his good.”

Did you catch that? The goal of idolatry is self-glory. You make yourself the god. The aim of Christianity is God’s glory. All the credit and honor belong to Him.

Verse 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.

Habakkuk recognizes that God is everlasting, unlike the Chaldeans god. He also knew the Chaldeans would not totally destroy them. Marking the Chaldean’s for correction – judgment.

Verse 13 – You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours one more righteous than he?

Habakkuk couldn’t understand why God would use the Babylonians to punish Judah, because they were more wicked than Judah. The Babylonians didn’t know they were being used and the punishment of Judah was supposed to turn God’s people towards Him.

Verse 14 – Why do You make men like the fish of the sea, like creeping things that have no ruler over them?

Verse 15 – They take up all of them with a hook, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad.

Habakkuk compared Nebuchadnezzar as the fisherman, that would hook the people at will and destroy them. Habakkuk wondered why God was going to allow that from such an evil king.

Verse 16 – Therefore they sacrifice to their net, and burn incense to their dragnet; because by them their share is sumptuous and their food plenteous.

Verse 17 – Shall they therefore empty their net and continue to slay nations without pity?

Don’t we all hate to see the wicked succeed? We hate to see evil people win. This same thing bothered Habakkuk, so he asked God why. We all come to understand God a little more through each trial and test, but we all have questions of why did God allow it in the first place. Just always keep this in mind: God has a purpose of something much greater than we can see. That is why we trust His wisdom, not ours.