The prayer is in chapter 3, but some background is required to appreciate his strong faith.
1. “Habakkuk” a dialogue between Habakkuk and God about 609 BC!
History: The Assyrian’s conquered the ten northern tribes- Israel in 730 BC. The Babylonian army overthrew Nineveh in 612 BC, forcing the Assyrian nobility to take refuge and defeating them in 609-605 BC.
As a result of discovering the Book of the Law in the temple (622 BC), King Josiah had instituted significant spiritual reforms in the two southern tribes-Judah, abolishing many of the idolatrous practices of his father Amon and grandfather Manasseh. The Egyptian king Neco, traveling through Judah in 609 BC to assist the fleeing Assyrian king, was opposed by King Josiah of Judah at Megiddo.
King Josiah was killed in the ensuing battle, leaving his throne to a succession of three sons and a grandson. Upon his death, however, the nation quickly reverted to her evil ways, causing Habakkuk to question God’s silence and apparent lack of action to purge his covenant people.
2. Habakkuk said “God when are you going to do something about evil in Judah?” Habakkuk 1:1-4
1The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. 2 How long, O LORD, will I call for help, And You will not hear? I cry out to You, “Violence!” Yet You do not save. 3 Why do You make me see iniquity, And cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me; Strife exists and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out perverted.
3. God says “I am in control and you are not going to like what I plan to do, because I am going to use the evil Chaldeans/Babylonians to punish Judah” Habakkuk 1:5-11
4. Habakkuk said “But God, Why, Why, Why, never the less I will wait for you to speak to me?” Habakkuk 1:12-2:1
5. God responds:
A. God said “Trust Me! The righteous will live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:2-4
B. God pronounced 5 woes on those who reject or disobey Him. Habakkuk 2:5-19
6 “…Woe to him who increases what is not his— For how long—And makes himself rich with loans?’
9 “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house To put his nest on high,
12 “Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed And founds a town with violence!
15 “Woe to you who make your neighbors drink, Who mix in your venom even to make them drunk
So as to look on their nakedness!
18 “What profit is the idol when its maker has carved it, Or an image, a teacher of falsehood? For its maker trusts in his own handiwork When he fashions speechless idols. [today–money, power, pleasure, materialism, sports, worship of creation instead of Creator, etc]
19 “Woe to him who says to a piece of wood, ‘Awake!’ To a mute stone, ‘Arise!’ And that is your teacher? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, And there is no breath at all inside it.
C. God ends with a promise! Habakkuk 2: 20 “But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.”
6. Habakkuk’s responds with a prayer of faith! Habakkuk 3
A. Stand in Awe 1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, [set to wild, enthusiastic and triumphal music–AMP] 2 LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.
Habakkuk 3 is comprised of a prayer—a highly emotional prayer— that the prophet dedicated for public worship. As Habakkuk pondered God’s plan that he heard for Judah’s future, he stood in awe. He confessed his fears concerning the coming Babylonian invasion, and asked God to show mercy as He judged Judah.
aa. Compare these verses with Habakkuk 1:1-4. What caused the difference in Habakkuk’s life? Which end of the spectrum do I feel I am on during this season of my life?
B. Tremble in His splendor and Power 3 God…the Holy One … His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise. 4 His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power. 5 Before Him goes pestilence, And plague comes after Him. 6 He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered, The ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting.
Habakkuk then trembled as he reflected on God’s splendor. The Lord would again do a great work among His people, as He had done in giving the law and in leading the people of Israel through the wilderness. Certainly Habakkuk knew the prophecies of the coming Messiah. About 600 years later God would send His Son to be the Savior for all who believed in Him.
bb. When I reflect on how God has worked in the past, what events from my life come to mind?
C. Celebrate His victory 11 Sun and moon stood in their places; 12 In indignation You marched through the earth; In anger You trampled the nations. 13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people, For the salvation of Your anointed. You struck the head of the house of the evil To lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah. 14 You pierced with his own spears The head of his throngs. They stormed in to scatter us; Their exultation was like those Who devour the oppressed in secret.
Habakkuk celebrated and anticipated the Lord’s awe-inspiring victory. He knew that one day God would conquer all His enemies, including the enemies that had plagued God’s people for generations. The day was coming when God would make everything right and would vindicate His people.
cc. What about the gospel makes it easier to endure life’s trials?
D. Rejoice in faith 16 I heard and my inward parts trembled, At the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, And in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, For the people to arise who will invade us.
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.
For the Chief Musician; with my stringed instruments.
Finally, Habakkuk rejoiced in faith as he committed himself to God’s purposes.
Habakkuk waited quietly for the day of distress. He lived in an agricultural economy and understood that he was saying that in the worst case Judah would have no food to eat (v.17). I grew up on a farm and understood what it meant be without rain. In 1952-54 there was a severe drought and times were very hard. You may have noticed a drought that is now devastating California.
Yet he said he would exult in the Lord and rejoice because his strength is from his Lord God. The feet of the hind or deer are stable, swift and agile to allow walking and running on rugged mountain trails. God has empowered believers in Him to negotiate the hard times in life with rejoicing.
dd. What steps will I take to establish a mind-set of always trusting God before circumstances tempt me to waver and doubt?
7. The result. Nebuchadnezzar first invaded Judah in 605 BC (and took Daniel and others as captives to Babylon), he destroyed Jerusalem and the temple 586 BC. However, Persia defeated Babylon and King Cyrus allowed the people of God to return to Judah in 536 BC. Then the Messiah came for the first time. He was crucified, buried, arose and ascended to heaven. He will return!
Henry Luke May 3, 2015
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