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Introduction to Habakkuk

10/02/2016

Introduction to Habakkuk

Text: 2 Chronicles 36:1-21

One of the hardest things about the book of Habakkuk is just to find it! It is one of the ‘Minor Prophets.’ So if Habakkuk is a minor prophet, is there a major prophet? Yes there is, in fact there are four of them. Do you know their names? Isaiah, Jeremiah, (Lamentations) Ezekiel and Daniel. These are the larger prophetic books in the OT.


Then there are the MINOR PROPHETS – there are 12 minor prophets. Let’s see if we can put them in order. There’s Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Sometimes they were just known as ‘the Twelve.’ They were the smaller books, more narrowly focussed than the wider ranging prophecies of the four major prophets.
Habakkuk was a prophet – Some people link prophecy with foretelling the future, and there is no doubt that there is certainly an element of that in the OT prophecies. After all most of them spoke messages that pointed forward to Christ and found their fulfilment in Him. But the primary function of the prophet was to declare the will of God in their own time, their own situation.
Having said that, once found, Habakkuk is an easy read. It’s an interesting, fascinating book, just three chapters, the story of a man who looks at his times and wonders where God is I the middle of all the chaos, sickness sin and death, who takes his troubles to the Lord. And finds an answer to his prayers; an answer that builds his faith, and gives him reason to rejoice in adversity. So, let’s try to summarise the book before we examine it in greater detail…

1. In Times Like These
Habakkuk was prophesying around the same time as Isaiah and Jeremiah. It was a time of great turmoil and upheaval in Israel, dreadful days. King Josiah, had died in 609BC. Josiah had been a good King, and during his reign he had started to rebuild the broken and neglected temple in Jerusalem. During the renovations, the workmen found something, it was a book, the Law of God, and they brought it to Josiah, he read the book, and repented of his sins, and began a series of major reforms, which saw Judah come under godly influence. It was the very last time before the end of the nation, for when he died there were a series of short reigns, and all of those kings did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Our passage from 2 Chronicles gives an overview of the times, and the upheaval involved. Internally, Israel had departed from God, and was utterly apostate and backslidden, while externally, God’s people were being threatened by two great world powers, both equally ruthless, Egypt and Babylon.

2. The Gospel in Habakkuk.
Habakkuk points us to the Saviour! Consider his story, as outlined in the book. It is the story of saving grace through faith in the Messiah (who at that time was still to come).
Habakkuk is overwhelmed by the sin and iniquity that he sees around him.
Habakkuk recognises his own inability to change his own situation.
Habakkuk turns to God in prayer, and lays out his burden before the Lord.
Confronted now with God’s sovereignty, holiness and power, Habakkuk realises that his only hope is to cast himself fully upon the Lord for mercy, and so he declares, ‘The just shall live by faith!’ 2:4 It was a theme that was to be re-echoed in Paul’s letters, in Hebrews, and worked out in the words and works of the Saviour Himself. Matthew 8:5
That faith is in God alone, and so the prophet, in response to his spiritual awakening by God he sings God’s praise.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.

Next study – we begin to examine the text of Habakkuk, looking at chapter one, verses one to four, as Habakkuk begins his prayer. Please read it in advance, and see if you can discover what Habakkuk was saying about the spiritual condition of God’s people.

From → Bible Study

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