Habakkuk Chapter One
The scripture does not tell us
anything about the personal life of Habakkuk.
In the writings of the Jewish Rabbi’s they contend that he was of the
tribe of Levi, the priestly tribe of
Thus far we have studied Jonah and
Nahum who both prophesied to
While Habakkuk is similar to the other minor prophets it is also different as much of it is written as a discourse between the prophet and God.
Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 – Iniquity Is In The Land
v.1-2 “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 2O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!”
Habakkuk begins his prophecy with a lament, a cry out unto God much like David when he seemed to be beset by enemies on every side and abandoned by God.
Psalms 13:1-2 “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? 2How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
v.3 “Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.”
asks God why he is showing him all of the iniquity that surrounds him. He is deeply troubled, hates the wickedness
that has become the way of
Psalms 55:9-11 “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city. 10Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it. 11Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.”
We can be sure that Habakkuk is influenced by the prophesies of Jeremiah who also brings a very similar cry to the throne of God. Jeremiah even asks God “Was this the purpose for which I was born?” Was it that I should witness the degradation and destruction of God’s chosen people; that I should bear the shame being part of them?”
Jeremiah “Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?”
v.4 “Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.”
Even after the reigns of the good kings, such as Hezekiah and Josiah the land has once again degenerated into something like or even worse than Isaiah describes some 200 years earlier.
Isaiah 1:21-23 “How is the
Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
This is but one of the six woes that Isaiah spoke against Judah and one that parallels much of what we see in our own country today. Evil has become good in the minds of too many people, and that which is good is reviled and treated as evil. Likewise we see the darkness of sin, separation from the only source of true light, God; and that which is darkness, sin, called light or good. In like manner bitter for sweet, etc. Wrong judgment reigns, not only in the courts of the land but in the minds of men as well.
Read Habakkuk 1:5-12
v.5 “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.”
saith the LORD God of
This work that God will do will be so astonishing, so great in the sight of men that they will not believe it even though they are told it by a messenger, or ambassador of God. We find almost identical language used by Paul in his sermon to the Jewish synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia regarding their acceptance of Christ:
Acts “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.”
There are those in every age who have despised the commandments of God. There are those who will wonder and perish because God will indeed work a work whether literally in the days while they are on earth or at the judgment. There are those who will not believe, even though it is declared to them.
v.6. “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not their's.”
going to raise up the Chaldeans, a nation that He
calls a “BITTER AND HASTY NATION”.
II Kings 24:1-2 “In his days
Nebuchadnezzar king of
Jehoiakim was king of
v.7-8 “They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.”
here the prophecy of Habakkuk but in Jeremiah we have a description of the
actual events by an eye witness. When
the armies of Nebuchadnezzar came against
Jeremiah 39:5-9 “But the Chaldeans'
army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of
Zedekiah at Jericho, fleeing toward Egypt, brought him back up to
Nebuchadnezzar who had made his headquarters for this campaign in Hamath, a city of Syria, and there God’s final judgment was
brought against Judah. Their king was
blinded, their princes and nobles that had remained in
v.9-10 “They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. 10And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it.”
continues with his prophecy regarding the end of
they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of
v.11 “Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.”
still speaking here of
Habakkuk “Then shall he sweep by as a wind, and shall pass over, and be guilty, even he whose might is his god.”
He swept over the lands of
Read Habakkuk 1:12-17 – Habakkuk’s Complaint Against God
v.12 “Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.”
The prophet begins voicing his complaint in a manner that most of us would probably use when addressing someone who was much higher than we or whom we realized had unlimited power. He acknowledges first of all that God is everlasting much the same as Moses did in his prayer psalm:
Psalms 90:2 “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
This is a good pattern for us to use today as we frame the words
of a prayer to God, whatever the reason.
He acknowledges also that God is holy, that in spite of the punishment
that God will bring they will not die from it and that God is in charge. He has established
v.13 “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”
Habakkuk continues in the same vein, calling attention to the fact the God cannot bear evil, or iniquity or tolerate sin. David makes a similar declaration in:
Psalms 5:4-5 “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 5The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”
Then the prophet asks God a question. How do you look on, or not since God cannot
look upon sin; when wicked people devour, destroy those that are far more
righteous that they?
v.14-15 “And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? 15They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag: therefore they rejoice and are glad.”
uses a very similar analogy here that both Jeremiah and the prophet Amos
employed. God had said through Jeremiah
that he would treat
Jeremiah “Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.”
He said you make men, speaking of those being conquered by those more wicked than they, as the fish of the sea to be caught with hooks, snared in nets, gathered in drag and allowing the wicked to boast and rejoice in their success.
v.16-17 “Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. 17Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?
closing verses of this chapter the prophet explains to God, as though he needed
that advice, that this causes these wicked men to sacrifice to and worship
their own abilities and successes.
Deuteronomy “And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.”
And as the prophet Isaiah had recorded so many years before
the king of
Isaiah 10:12-14 ”Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. 13For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: 14And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped.
William L. Schwegler, Sunset