The theme of Habakkuk centers around one dilemma. How does God’s patience with sinners harmonize with His demand for justice? This Judean prophet seeks to understand why evil men prevail without fear of divine intervention. The dialogues between the prophet and God provide the answers to his perplexing questions.
Habakkuk complained that wickedness was rampant and God allowed it to go unpunished. This alleged inconsistency burdened the prophet. God tells Habakkuk He was well aware of the evil and will soon act. History verifies God only allowed Babylon to prevail for awhile in order to become the instrument of His judgment upon Judah. But Habakkuk was still perplexed and wondered why God would use a nation even more wicked than Judah to deliver this punishment. The prophet asks God direct questions and He responds with direct answers.
The book of Habakkuk divides itself into three sections of one chapter each. The first two chapters contain two conversations with God. The last chapter is a psalm of praise for God’s wise solution to Habakkuk’s consternation. As the book concludes, Habakkuk is granted a vision of God’s power and glory. In the end, the prophet is satisfied God can be trusted because of His unrivaled power and wisdom. Although God may appear slow to manifest justice, in the meantime “the righteous must live by faith” (2:4).
1. How does God react to Habakkuk’s complaint about the righteous suffering while the wicked prosper? Summarize God’s reply to Habakkuk’s questions.
2. Summarize God’s reply to Habakkuk regarding using a totally corrupt nation like Babylon to punish Judah.
3. What does Paul say in Romans chapter one regarding the ultimate fate of the wicked?
4. List and summarize the five “woes” God lists as part of His answer. To whom are these “woes” directed (2:5-20)?
5. Read Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11-12 and Hebrews 10:37-38. What verse in Habakkuk is quoted? Why is this verse so important to daily Christian living?
6. At the end of the book, does Habakkuk understand God’s explanation or does he simply trust Him despite his lack of understanding?
7. Why does God allow Himself to be questioned by Believers? What does this teach us about God’s nature?