The Just Shall Live by Faith
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: Habakkuk is a prophet of a different sort. Instead of speaking to Israel on behalf of God, he speaks to God on behalf of Israel. He cries out to God, asking why He allows the wicked to take advantage of the righteous, and he calls upon the Lord to rise up and bring forth justice. The Lord replies to Habakkuk with the startling news that He is raising up the Chaldeans, a ruthless nation, to bring judgment upon His people for their own lawlessness. Habakkuk is bewildered, knowing that the Chaldeans are far worse morally and far superior militarily. The Lord responds again to Habakkuk with two important insights. First, the Chaldeans are merely instruments in the hand of God for this appointed purpose and this appointed time. Afterward, they, too, will be judged for their evil deeds. Second, God’s people will be known by their trust in the Lord even through times of great difficulty. Habakkuk then responds appropriately, confessing that the Lord is always faithful to His promises and quietly resigning himself to the perfect will of God.
01. It is not wrong for us to have questions for God, but our questions should be rooted in God’s Word, and our questioning should be consistent with God’s character.
02. It is not easy for us to understand the ways of God, but our understanding should be shaped by God’s work in history and God’s promises for eternity.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. At what point in the book does it become clear that Habakkuk is a prophet of a different sort? What other prophets voice their complaints to the Lord? Is it wrong to question what the Lord is doing? Can you think of other people in the Bible who question what God is doing? See Psalm 73 for further insight.
2. Consider Habakkuk’s complaint about the law being paralyzed and the wicked surrounding the righteous (1:4). Do these words resonate today with the increase of lawlessness and failure of public officials to prosecute crime? How does Habakkuk encourage us to pray for revival in such situations?
3. What is the significance of Habakkuk’s confession in 1:12? What does he assert about the character of God? What does he know about the future of God’s people in light of the coming judgment? How does his confession help us to trust the Lord even when we are being persecuted as Christians? See Matthew 5:10-11 for further insight.
4. Why does the Lord tell Habakkuk in 2:2 to “write the vision: make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it?” How does the written Word of God enable us to return to it again and again so that we, too, may have faith in difficult times? Think of how difficult our lives would be without having the Word of God at our fingertips. See 1 Timothy 4 for encouragement from God’s Word in difficult times.
5. How does Habakkuk resign himself to the will of God in light of coming judgment? Note how he prays for revival still (3:2) and how he continues to confess God’s goodness even in dark times (3:17-19). Pray that the Lord will continue to work among us today as we face uncertain times and that we will be faithful to confess His goodness and believe His promises.
For Further Reading: D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Faith Tried and Triumphant (Baker, 1988)