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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Habakkuk 1

Verses 1-17

  1. Intro:
    1. Q: Do you ever have problems that vex, annoy, or irritate your soul?
      1. Ex: Maybe when God seems to be indifferent to your prayers or to evil around you? - Why do good people suffer? - Why do evil people prosper? - When I’m doing my best for God, why do experience the worst from others?
      2. Some Christians claim to be w/o problems!
        1. That means:
          1. They are not telling the truth.
          2. They are not growing & experiencing real life.
          3. They are not thinking at all. (they’ve blocked out reality & stifled honest feelings) [they are like Jobs uncomfortable comforters]
      3. Some choose to deal w/it by: living w/their doubts, ignoring them & moving on with life as best they can.
      4. Others become cynical & hardened.
      5. Then others…climb in the ring & wrestle it through w/God.
        1. Habakkuk found himself center ring struggling with some hard issues & serious problems with God!
        2. But note…that’s where to take these problems! To Him!!!
    2. Habakkuk’s writing is right at Judah’s 11th hour.
      1. We have only 3 more Minor Prophets left (see notes at end of OT)
    3. Habakkuk – means “embrace”(“one who embraces[or clings]”)
      1. At the end of the book you’ll see him cling tightly to the Lord.
      2. Some have called him the OT Socrates! (i.e. Q & A)
      3. He was a contemporary of Jeremiah.
      4. This book begins with a sob & ends w/a song!
    4. Outline: Wrestling – Watching - Waiting.
  2. WRESTLING! (ch.1)
    1. Question: Why is God so indifferent toward evil? (1:1-4)
    2. Jehoiakim had been leading the nation closer to disaster.
      1. Jeremiah said & prophesied of him, “…your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, For shedding innocent blood, And practicing oppression and violence…He shall be buried with the burial of a donkey, Dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem.” (22:17,19)
    3. Habakkuk prays, “why don’t you do something about the violence, strife, & injustice in the land”?
      1. But God didn’t seem to hear…so he cries out louder(see 2 diff Heb. words)
    4. (4) The biggest problem in Judah was their leadership wouldn’t obey God’s law.
    5. Answer: God says I will deal w/evil…the Babylonians are coming to punish your evil? (5-11)
    6. (5) God answers & assures him that He is at work among the nations even though he couldn’t see it.
      1. So God gives Habakkuk a revelation, not an explanation!
      2. The Lord never owes us any explanations, but He graciously reveals Himself & His work to those who seek Him!
      3. And this is what we need in times of doubt...a fresh view of God!
    7. (6,7) Habakkuk’s country would become like sitting ducks before the Babylonian duck hunters.
    8. (8-10a) Their horses are as fast as leopards; they are more ferocious then wolves that hadn’t eaten all day; their troops swoop down on their prey like vultures; they sweep across the desert like wind; they collect captives as we would gather shells on the beach; they captured royalty & put them on humiliating public display(often put them in cages).
      1. When Nebuchadnezzar captured Zedekiah(Judah’s last king) & put his sons to death in front of him, then put his eyes out! (2 Kings 25:5-7)
    9. (10b) heap up earthen mounds – They laughed at gates & walls for no fortress could w/stand them. They were skilled at building earthen siege ramps.
    10. (11) Though they were appointed by God, they would still be held accountable for their ruthlessness(we’ll see in 2:5-20).
    11. Question: How could God be so inconsistent? (12-17)
    12. God’s 1st answer wasn’t an answer at all…in fact it stirred up new problems! – God seemed to show inconsistency.
      1. Q: How could God, whose eyes were “too pure than to behold evil”, choose such a wicked, merciless, & idolatrous nation to punish His own people?
      2. Habakkuk seemed to be stumped like Job by God’s apparent distortion of justice!
      3. (12,13a) He focuses in on Gods holiness!
    13. (12) Note “my”(2 times)
      1. This isn’t simply a national problem, nor a theological problem, but this is a personal problem!
      2. Wrestling w/problems like this help our faith muscles to grow!
    14. (13b-15) We move from a Holy God to a helpless people!
      1. Q: Ok, your people deserved punishment, but couldn’t you have used a better instrument?
        1. But…when we deserve correction, how can we complain about the kind of rod God uses on us?
      2. But by the way he had tried other ways 1st: Wars; natural calamities; the preaching of many prophets(eg. Jer. for 40 yrs.); & can you say “Assyria”?
        1. The greater the light the greater the responsibility!
        2. The sin in the life of a believer is far greater then that of a non-believer!
        3. “When God’s people deliberately disobey Him, they sin against a flood of light & an ocean of love!” (www)
    15. (16,17) Their god was “power”! (see vs.11)
      1. They trusted in their military might, their magnet, it’s here called, “their net”!
      2. They were puffed up w/pride, self-confidence.
      3. Habakkuk could have added…but Lord they worship Bel(the head of their pantheon of gods); Anu god of the sky; Nebo god of literature & wisdom; Nergal the sun god; Ea god of magic.
      4. Habakkuk finished his defense & waited for God to speak.
    16. Q: Do you just let tough questions go by? Do you settle for ½ truths? Are you fine w/pat answers? If so, you will remain spiritually immature!
      1. I think it is a lazy excuse to say, “that’s for pastors/scholars to figure out”!
      2. Face questions honestly; talk them through w/the Lord.
      3. We are called to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
    17. Habakkuk cries out, “God say something, do something”…but God was silent & seemingly inactive!
      1. David had this same problem in Ps.37; Asaph did in Ps.73.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.