Reflections on Habakkuk

A couple of weeks ago, a friend mentioned Habakkuk as one of her favorite books.  It piqued my interest.  Sure I’d read it, but I had no idea what it was actually about. I’d never really paid attention to it.  Then last week I was asked to consider leading a little study (just once – for about an hour), and one of the possible topics was Habakkuk.  So I took the chance to read it more closely. These are my notes.

Habakkuk 1:1-1:4  Habakkuk had a burden for Israel and the trouble they were in: violence, plundering, strife contention, bad judgements, wickedness was winning.  It seems to me this burden was from God.  Has God given me a burden?  Do I diligently pray and eagerly look for God’s response like Habakkuk did?  Why do I ignore the trouble around me and in my own nation, and try not to see?  Am I avoiding being burdened?

Habakuk 1:5-1:11  When we look, we will be astounded at God’s work.  Instead of avoiding looking at the trouble around me, I should look to notice what God is doing around me.  It’ll astound me.

The Chaldeans are described as bitter, hasty, greedily conquering nations, “Their judgement and their dignity proceed from themselves”, They have fast horses and are more fierce than wolves, they love violence and hate authority.  Their greed is what stands out to me – always wanting more and never satisfied.  Do I do this too?  Not content with what I have now, but wanting more even though it’s just for sport?  

Habakkuk 1:12-2:1 God is everlasting, Holy, and a Rock.  He’s appointed Israel for judgement, but by a country that God is too pure to behold (because they’re evil).  I’m inspired by this prayer to know and God’s attributes and pray them back to Him.

Habakkuk’s further comments on the Chaldeans also touches on their insatiable greed and their prosperity through harming others.  They take captives like a fisherman filling his nets with fish.  They praise their  nets as gods because they see them as the source of their prosperity.  What do I see as the source of my prosperity?

Habakkuk determines to watch for God’s answer, and expects to be corrected.  This is Habakkuk’s second prayer, and we already see a different attitude from the first prayer.  He went from “Why aren’t you hearing me?!” to “I’ll watch for an answer and expect to be corrected”.  Every section so far has commented on what Habakkuk is seeing.  In 1:1-4 he sees the violence around him.  In 1:5-11 God tells him to look and be astounded.  In 1:12-2:1 he purposes to watch.

Habakkuk 2:2-5 God answers Habakkuk a second time, this time telling him to write the vision he sees (another reference to what Habakkuk is looking at).  But the emphasis here, I think, is on time.  The vision is not for now, but it will still be true (because truth is timeless), and Habakkuk should wait for it.  God’s timing isn’t our timing.  He’s timeless too.

He contrasts the proud with the just who walks by faith.  I think this section is the whole point of the book.  God knows what he’s doing, and we can live by faith because of that, and wait for Him, because He know.

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