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Friday, May 17th, 2024
the Seventh Week after Easter
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Bible Commentaries
Habakkuk 1

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


The title of the prophecy is said to be a burthen. In this Chapter we find the Prophet crying to the Lord, and calling also to the nations of the heathen concerning their sins, and the punishment to follow.

Verses 1-4

We have the Prophet at his devotions, pleading with the Lord concerning the sorrows and exercises of the Church. He not only laments the iniquities of those that oppress the Lord's heritage, but the inroads made by sin among the heritage of the Lord. Reader! mark this I beseech you. Good men cry out when beholding the wickedness of the ungodly. But they groan yet more deeply when feeling the corrupt workings of their own hearts. And it is a blessed frame for a child of God to be in. See the workings of Ezra's heart on this point. Ezra 9:5-6 .

Verse 5

I would desire to read this verse by itself; because I humbly conceive it is not connected with what follows. Though this verse, and the six that follow, are spoken by the Lord, yet the subjects differ. And I ground my opinion from the Apostle Paul having quoted this verse in his Sermon. Acts 13:15-41 . and directly applied it to the subject of the gospel. I beg the Reader to turn to Paul's discourse and read it; which will at once convince him that what follows in Habakkuk's prophecy concerning the Chaldeans had nothing to do with this marvellous work, the Lord said he would do in the days to which he referred. It was indeed a marvellous work, that the gospel should be preached to the Gentiles. And it was, and still is a marvelous work, that many reject the truth of God, and equally marvellous that any should receive it, and indeed without grace cannot. All is marvellous! But I beg the Reader, after he hath diligently read the sermon of Paul, if he thinks with me, that this verse wholly refers to the times of the gospel; that he will join me in praising God for this sweet testimony to the truth, as it is in Jesus, and from such a scriptural record of our adorable Lord by the way, be forever on the lookout for similar testimonies in the Prophets, who all with one voice preach wholly of Jesus.

Verses 6-11

After the observation I ventured to make on the preceding verse, it will be expected from me, that I should say in what sense I consider what is here said of the Chaldeans coming up upon the land. To which I readily answer, that no doubt the Lord by the Prophet was here predicting the sad events which were to come upon the Church by the Babylonish captivity. But, when we consider yet further, that those events, calamitous as they were in themselves, were all ministering to the one great object, to which the whole of the law, and the Prophets ministered, even to the person, work, and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ; it is blessed to perceive how God the Holy Ghost, by the ministry of his Servants, is holding forth comforts to the Church, while correcting the people for their sins. See Zephaniah 3:20 .

Verses 12-17

This is a most blessed prayer, and if I mistake not, it takes into its bosom all the great leading points of redemption. The Prophet by this figure of speech, of seemingly as king, the Lord concerning the glorious and eternal excellency of his nature and character is most blessedly confirming it. He doth indeed thereby more strongly assert it, and grounds the subject of his prayer upon it. It is as if he had said, Thou art, O Lord, O Jehovah Alohim! God in covenant, and that from everlasting! Redemption is not a work of yesterday. Christ the Holy One, hath been set up from everlasting; yea, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world! Psalms 89:19 ; Revelation 13:8 . And what endears it yet more, the Prophet calls him his Holy One. And so may, and so ought every true believer in Christ to do; for so Jehovah himself commanded. Jeremiah 23:6 . Hence by the way, if a child of God be demanded in this sinful and adulterous generation, wherefore do you call Christ Jehovah; and wherefore do you call him your HOLY ONE, your righteousness? The answer is direct: So Jehovah the Father hath enjoined. This is the name whereby he shall be called. Jehovah. And not only so - but Our Righteousness. And yet more than all this. He who directed the Church so to call Christ, and so to esteem him, hath made Him what he is to all his redeemed; for so the Apostle Paul was commissioned to tell the Church: who of God (saith the Apostle) is made unto us. Mark that! while you and I behold Christ as our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Jesus is made all these to his people by God the Father himself! Hallelu-JAH! 1 Corinthians 1:30 . Well then, the Prophet having looked up to a God in covenant, now pleads in this sweet prayer for the salvation of his people. Surely we shall not die. Though Babylon correct, yet Babylon shall not finally prevail. The enemies of the Church must perish, but the Church shall outlive all. Reader! look at this prayer, as it is evidently offered up in the faith of the rich redemption by Christ; and it is all over gospel, from beginning to end. All that the Prophet pleads is founded in the Lord's free covenant, and consequently by faith he is pleading for all blessings, in the name of the Lord Jesus!

Verse 17


READER! over and above the numberless precious things this Chapter holds forth to us in divine truths, we are here blessed by God the Holy Ghost, with a sweet sample of an Old Testament Saint at his devotions; and the Lord's gracious answer to his servant. When a child of God cries out, as Habakkuk here did, in contemplating the iniquity of the times, and feeling his own corruption also, see how gracious the Lord is? The Prophet no sooner calls to the Lord, but the Lord hears and makes answer. I cry out, because of violence, saith the Prophet; and wilt thou not hear? Yea, saith a gracious God, I will not only hear, but I will do such a work of grace in the gift of my dear son, as shall do away all the ruins of the fall. And yet, though I will work thus marvelously, there are thousands that will not believe. Reader! think what the Lord hath done in our day and generation, now redemption work is finished, and Christ returned to glory; and yet, may it not be asked in the Prophet's words, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Oh! for grace, to cry out with the Prophet, art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? Lord grant it never may be said, either to him that now writes, or him that reads, behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish! for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you!

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Habakkuk 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/habakkuk-1.html. 1828.
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