Habakkuk Series Starts Sunday
This Sunday we’ll begin a series of sermons on Habakkuk, a short book recording the words of the “minor” prophet (so-called not for his relevance but for the brevity of his book!). Naturally, you might wonder what his 2600-year-old message to Israel has to do with us, but this often disregarded Old Testament book relays truths immediately accessible in today’s culture.
We’ll explore themes like God’s sovereignty and faithfulness, but we’ll also look at these things in light of injustice and evil (a very prevalent reality not just in the world at large, but certainly in our own lives). Is God in charge of history? Is he in control of evil? Will his faithfulness prevail? Perhaps these questions seem a little brash, but we can admire Habakkuk’s raw honesty for asking them because they are based on the certainty (not doubtfulness) of God’s love for his people and his glory.
Until we gather on Sunday, I encourage you to go ahead and read Habakkuk 1:1-11 as well as a helpful introduction from the ESV Study Bible, excerpted below:
“Habakkuk is unusual as a prophetic book in that it never addresses the people of Judah directly but rather is a dialogue between the prophet and God. The first two chapters are organized around Habakkuk’s prayers (or, more correctly, complaints) and the Lord’s replies. Habakkuk saw the rapid progress of Judah’s moral and spiritual deterioration and this deeply troubled him. Yet God’s response puzzled him even more, for “how could a good and just God use a more wicked nation to punish a less wicked one?” God makes it clear that both nations are to be judged and appropriately punished for their evil acts. Although Habakkuk may not fully understand, he has learned to rely totally on the wisdom and justice of God to bring about the proper resolution in ways he could never have imagined. This God is certainly worthy of Habakkuk’s praise and worship, which is how the book ends.
The words of this prophet would surely have resonated with many of the righteous in Judah, who wondered what God was doing and struggled with the same issues that Habakkuk struggled with. God’s words reassured them that he was in control and would take appropriate measures to deal with the nations. This book continued to have relevance to its readers, as evidenced by a commentary on the first two chapters discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
“By the end of the book, Habakkuk is a changed person—he has learned to wait and trust in God, who works out all things for his glory. Habakkuk, like Job, questions God’s justice, but in the end both realize that God is sovereign and his justice is far beyond their comprehension. Habakkuk’s message of judgment on Judah would not have been well accepted, for the nation had been blinded by sin while false prophets were declaring that God would not punish his chosen people. But God’s justice demands that wickedness be punished, whether found in pagan nations or in his own people.”
“God’s ways of preserving and purifying his people are mysterious to the believer; and yet God calls his suffering people to show faith that God’s purposes for the world will at last prevail (2:4, 14; 3:17–19)—a faith that NT authors develop and commend.” (ESV Study Bible, pp. 1719–1720)
Finally, pray with me as we begin this new series, that the Lord would open our eyes to the wonderful, sometimes difficult, truths of his Word.
Grace & Peace,