My Dear Brothers and Sisters, It is, without a doubt, part of failing human nature to, at times, question God and His methods Now, whilst this is indefensible, it can perhaps be explained – for man is often short-sighted, being disinclined to take the long view (that is, the divine perspective) Indeed, as we shall encounter in our study of Habakkuk, even a faithful spokesman of God can at times struggle to accept the things that he sees and the things that he is told For, as we shall see in our study of his writing, Habakkuk first questioned why Judah’s iniquity went unpunished and then when he was told that vengeance would surely come, he then questioned God’s chosen instruments (the Chaldeans) As we shall see, approximately 2/3 of this prophecy is a dialogue between the prophet & his God & it is our privilege that by looking at its content (as we shall in our 2 studies, Gw) that we might thereby better understand God’s way of working (and, we hope, apply this understanding in our own lives)
Habakkuk Study 2 Final Animated
Primary focus is near future Primary focus is far future
<ul><li>A significant prophecy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provides an insight into God’s way of working in the world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contains material used in NT – most significantly as the basis of Apostolic arguments regarding justification through faith (“the just shall live by his faith”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning” (Romans 15v4) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contains the key to unlocking our understanding of the names and titles of the Psalms </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not much biographical detail about the prophet: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Name means ‘embrace’ (embracer of the hope of Israel?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Probably a Levite singer / musician (“on my stringed instruments”) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prophecy timed after Josiah (post 609 BC), but before the first Babylonian invasion (pre 606 BC) </li></ul><ul><li>A unique style and composition: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapters 1 & 2 – A dialogue between Habakkuk and Yahweh </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chapter 3 – A perfect prayer-Psalm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Chapters 1 & 2, a few highlights: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Habakkuk first struggled with wickedness of Judah and then afterwards challenged God’s method to punish wrongdoing (using Chaldeans) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The oppressor, Babylon, would ascribe victory “to his god” – the seeds of his own destruction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Habakkuk shows patriotism, having heard a horrific description of the punishment of his people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The certainty of God’s purpose is emphasised, there is no delay (even if man believes it to be so) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The righteous need not fear, for there is personal accountability (“the just shall live by his faith”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Chaldeans will in due time be overturned, five woes being exacted upon him who is “lifted up” </li></ul></ul>
<ul><li>Having struggled with God’s timescales and methods in chapters 1 & 2 the prophet exhibits a new understanding... </li></ul>From To
Prayer = Heb. tephillah = intercession, supplication Shigionoth = loud cries, extollations (pl.) Cp. Psalm 6 subscription (sing.) Chief singer = same in Heb. as Chief musician Stringed instruments = Heb. neginoth Cp. Psalm 4 superscription Section Text Superscription (v 1) A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. Main body (v 2 – 18) O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed by: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Subscription (v 19) 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. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
<ul><li>Builds on words in chapter 2 </li></ul><ul><li>A divine intervention necessary </li></ul>
<ul><li>The coming Armageddon </li></ul>Christ and the saints will save Israel from the Gogian host, against whom she is impotent (see Ezekiel 38 v 16 -23, Zechariah 14 v 1-3) “ Threshing” is an activity closely associated with Armageddon (see Joel 3 v 12 – 14, Revelation 16 v 16)
Habakkuk 3 v 3-6 3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. 4 And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. 5 Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. 6 He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations...
<ul><li>Although Judah (portrayed using familiar symbols) to be punished, the prophet, having understood the latter end, nevertheless rejoices </li></ul><ul><li>Salvation an individual matter based upon personal obedience (or otherwise) </li></ul><ul><li>The righteous will not be allowed to slip (surefooted) </li></ul>
<ul><li>The wicked will not ultimately prosper, although present experience may suggest otherwise (1 v 13, 2 v 13) </li></ul><ul><li>We must not question God’s methods (2 v 1) </li></ul><ul><li>Salvation is a personal matter, based upon both individual faith & obedience (2 v 4) </li></ul><ul><li>The way God has worked in the past should give us assurance concerning the future (3 v 2) </li></ul><ul><li>The word of God should have both a mental and a physical affect upon us (3 v 16) </li></ul><ul><li>Times of trouble should renew our focus upon our hope (3 v 17, 18) </li></ul>
<ul><li>3 pivotal verses... </li></ul>Habakkuk 2 v 4 “ Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2 v 14 “ For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2 v 20 “ But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” Man’s responsibility God’s purpose God’s supremacy
<ul><li>Only 1,476 words, about 8-10 minutes to read aloud... </li></ul><ul><li>Enough material for many hours (if not days) of careful meditation </li></ul><ul><li>Habakkuk is a prophet with whom we can relate, sometimes we too can ‘kick against the pricks’ </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps the greatest comfort is that, although we do not always understand, we too can confidently say: </li></ul>
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