Women’s InstituteNovember 27, 2016
One of the most beloved books among the Minor ProphetsCovers a wide array of life issues, including the nature of good and evilHabakkuk is not a typical Hebrew name and occurs only in this book (1:1; 3:1)Some rabbis relate the name to the Hebrewchavaq, translated “embrace” (2 Kings 4:16), suggesting that the prophet love his people and sought to comfort them.
Spiritual struggle between Habakkuk and his GodNinevahhas fallen an Judah is experiencing relative peace (612 B.C.)King Josiah had tried to reform Judah who was reeling from the moral corruption caused by Manasseh and Amon.Babylon is no longer a threat but the Babylonians (Chaldeans) under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar are because once again the people begin to turn away from God.
Prophecy delivered in the form of a dialogue between Habakkuk and God.Chapter 3 is a psalm including musical instructions
Nothing is known about HabakkukReference to musical notations in Chapter 3 suggests that he may have been a Levitical priest engaged in service within the temple (3:9)
Written sometime before the fall of Judah to the Babylonians (586 BC) and after the death of King Josiah (609 BC). Most scholars date it around 625-587 BC.
People in Judah living in the time before Nebuchadnezzar’s attacks.
Habakkuk frames the book into three distinct sections1. His questions and the Lord’s answers (1:2 – 2:5);2. God’s judgments against evil rulers (2:6-20)3. His prayer of faith and truth (3:1-19)Chapter 2 follows main themes found in the other prophet – an indictment against all kinds of cruelty: plunder, injustice, shedding innocent blood, oppressing one’s neighbor and idolatryFaith (Chapter 3)
Habakkuk’s Questions and the Lord’s AnswersA. Habakkuk’s first complaint (1:1-4)B. God’s first response (1:5-11)C. Habakkuk’s second complaint (1:12-2:1)D. God’s second response (2:2-4)God’s Judgment Against Evil Rulers (2:5-20)Habakkuk’s Prayer of Faith and Trust (3:1-19)
Habakkuk Questions and the Lord Answers (1:1-2:4)
1The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.Habakkuk’s First Prayer2How long,Lord, must I call for help and You do not listen or cry out to You about violence and You do not save?3Why do You force me to look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me.Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates.4This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted.
God’s First Answer (1:5-11)
5Look at the nations and observe—be utterly astounded! For something is taking place in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.6Look! I am raising up the Chaldeans,that bitter, impetuous nation that marches across the earth’s open spaces to seize territories not its own.7They are fierce and terrifying; their views of justice and sovereignty stem from themselves.8Their horses are swifter than leopards and more fiercethan wolves of the night. Their horsemen charge ahead; their horsemen come from distant lands. They fly like an eagle, swooping to devour.
9All of them come to do violence; their faces are set in determination.They gather prisoners like sand.10They mock kings, and rulers are a joke to them.They laugh at every fortress and build siege ramps to capture it.11Then they sweep by like the wind and pass through. They are guilty;their strength is their god.
Habakkuk’s Second Complaint (1:12-14)
12Are You not from eternity, Yahweh my God? My Holy One, Youwill not die.Lord, You appointed them to execute judgment; my Rock, You destined them to punish us.13Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do You tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are You silent while onewho is wicked swallows up onewho is more righteous than himself?14You have made mankind like the fish of the sea, like marine creatures that have no ruler.
15The Chaldeans pull them all up with a hook, catch them in their dragnet, and gather them in their fishing net; that is why they are glad and rejoice.16That is why they sacrifice to their dragnet and burn incense to their fishing net, for by these things their portion is rich and their food plentiful.17Will they therefore empty their net and continually slaughter nations without mercy?
Habakkuk Waits for God’s Response (2:1)
I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower. I will watch to see what He will say to me and what I shouldreply about my complaint.
God’s Second Answer (2:2-5)
2TheLordanswered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it.3For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.4Look, his ego is inflated;he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith.5Moreover, winebetrays; an arrogant man is never at rest.He enlarges his appetite likeSheol, and like Death he is never satisfied. He gathers all the nations to himself; he collects all the peoples for himself.
Five Woe Oracles – God’s Judgments Against Evil Rules (2:5-20)
6Won’t all of these take up a taunt against him, with mockery and riddles about him? They will say: Woe to him who amasses what is not his—how much longer?—and loads himself with goods taken in pledge.7Won’t your creditors suddenly arise, and those who disturb you wake up? Then you will become spoil for them.8Since you have plundered many nations, all the peoples who remain will plunder you—because of human bloodshed and violence against lands, cities, and all who live in them.
Second Woe (2:9-11)
9Woe to him who dishonestly makes wealth for his houseto place his nest on high, to escape from the reach of disaster!10You have planned shame for your house by wiping out many peoples and sinning against your own self.11For the stones will cry out from the wall, and the rafters will answer them from the woodwork.
Third Woe (2:12-14)
12Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and founds a town with injustice!13Is it not from theLordof Hosts that the peoples labor only to fuel the fire and countries exhaust themselves for nothing?14For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of theLord’s glory, as the waters cover the sea.
Fourth Woe (2:15-18)
15Woe to him who gives his neighbors drink, pouring out your wrathand even making them drunk, in order to look at their nakedness!16You will be filled with disgrace instead of glory. You also—drink, and expose your uncircumcision!The cup in theLord’s right hand will come around to you, and utter disgrace will cover your glory.
Fourth Woe continued (2:17-18)
17For your violence against Lebanon will overwhelm you; the destruction of animals will terrify youbecause of your human bloodshed and violence against lands, cities, and all who live in them.18What use is a carved idol after its craftsman carves it? It is only a cast image, a teacher of lies. For the one who crafts its shape trusts in it and makes idols that cannot speak.
Fifth Woe (2:19-20)
19Woe to him who says to wood: Wake up! or to mute stone: Come alive! Can it teach? Look! It may be plated with gold and silver, yet there is no breath in it at all.20But theLordis in His holy temple; let everyone on earth be silent in His presence.
Habakkuk’s Prayer of Faith and Trust (3:1-16)
1A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. According toShigionoth.2Lord, I have heard the report about You;Lord, I stand in awe of Your deeds. Revive Your work in these years; make it known in these years. In Your wrath remember mercy!
3God comes fromTeman, the Holy One from MountParan.SelahHis splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise.4His brilliance is like light;rays are flashing from His hand. This is where His power is hidden.5Plague goes before Him, and pestilence follows in His steps.6He stands and shakes the earth; He looks and startles the nations. The age-old mountains break apart; the ancient hills sink down. His pathways are ancient.
7I see the tents ofCushanin distress; the tent curtains of the land of Midian tremble.8Are You angry at the rivers,Lord? Is Your wrath against the rivers? Or is Your rage against the sea when You ride on Your horses, Your victorious chariot?9You took the sheath from Your bow; the arrows are ready to be used with an oath.SelahYou split the earth with rivers.10The mountains see You and shudder; a downpour of water sweeps by. The deep roars with its voice and lifts its waves high.
11Sun and moon stand still in their lofty residence, at the flash of Your flying arrows, at the brightness of Your shining spear.12You march across the earth with indignation; You trample down the nations in wrath.13You come out to save Your people, to save Your anointed. You crush the leader of the house of the wicked and strip him from footto neck.Selah14You pierce his head with his own spears; his warriors storm out to scatter us, gloating as if ready to secretly devour the weak.15You tread the sea with Your horses, stirring up the great waters.
Habakkuk’s Confidence in God Expressed (3:16-19)For the choir director: on stringed instruments.
16I heard, and I trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound. Rottenness entered my bones; I trembled where I stood. Now I must quietly wait for the day of distress to come against the people invading us.17Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,18yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!19Yahweh my Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!
Main Event – December 4thRead Zephaniah – December 11th& 18thDecember 25th– Only one service – No Sunday School