Posts belonging to Category Habakkuk



Some Links to the Minor Prophets

Chad Knudson at The Road to Emmaus blog has posted a helpful summary for each of the twelve minor prophets, including how their message points towards Christ and the New Testament.

I think some difficulty people have when learning the message of the prophets is the key themes and ways in which each book points to Christ. Thus, I would like to focus on the twelve minor prophets and provide a summary statement along with Scriptures of how each book points to and finds its fulfillment in Christ.

Chad runs an excellent blog with articles focused around the theme of Biblical Theology, or as Chad describes it: “the unfolding revelation of Scripture as it finds its fulfillment and consummation in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Luke 24:1ff).”

Related articles:

International Sunday School Lessons – Habakkuk

I noticed earlier this week a sudden jump in people arriving at this site after running Google or other searches for the book of Habakkuk, especially Habakkuk chapter 2. So, I poked around on the web a little and found that the schedule put out by International Sunday School Lessons for this coming Sunday, July 15, 2007, focuses on Habakkuk 2:1-14.

I am not familiar with International Sunday School Lessons and could not find a home page for it anywhere on the web. I am assuming it is similar to a lectionary, except for Sunday School lessons instead of for Sunday morning preaching. Is anyone else familiar with this organization? Is it related to the Standard Lesson Commentary series? If you have any information, please feel free to share it with us in the comments section. Thanks!

Resources on the book of Habakkuk:

And, if you happen to be looking for Habakkuk resources, you can either check out the Blogging with Habakkuk series from earlier this year, or you can access the following messages on Habakkuk found on the Sermons page.

Message series: Habakkuk – The Journey from Doubt to Faith

Blogging with Habakkuk (25) – One Final Post

(Part 25 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

We have reached the end of our journey together through the book of Habakkuk. In many ways Habakkuk’s journey mirrors our own journey through life. We saw that Habakkuk began his journey with a lot of questions. “Does God care? Is God fair? Is God there?” But instead of running away from God with his questions, Habakkuk kept bringing his questions to God, and finding the answers that he needed. Habakkuk began his journey in the valley of doubt and fear, and ended his journey scaling the heights with God in freedom and faith.

It is a beautiful journey, and one that is open to all who will come honestly to God with their questions, and seek him with all of their heart. God promises in Jeremiah 29:13: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” So wherever you may be in your own personal journey from doubt to faith, let me encourage you, keep seeking God. Keep coming to him with your doubts and with your questions.

And I pray that God will also lead you to a place where you will learn to trust him no matter what, where you may run along the heights in God’s presence with the feet of a deer. May God help us to learn the beautiful lessons that he has recorded for us in the book of Habakkuk.

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I hope you have enjoyed this blogging series through the book of Habakkuk. I have posted the accompanying sermon series under the Sermons page if you would like access to the complete messages.

I would also be interested in your feedback on this series. What have you learned from the book of Habakkuk, and how has studying this book helped you in your life? Was it helpful to blog through the book a little bit at a time? Would it have been more helpful just to have the sermons posted and to read through them? Which would you have been more likely to read – the sermons off the sermons page or the daily blog installments? Did you read the posts regularly, or did you find that these were ones you tended to skip over? Thanks for your comments in advance! It will help me as I plan future series for the blog.

Here are the links to the whole Blogging with Habakkuk series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

Blogging with Habakkuk (24) – Trusting God No Matter What

(Part 24 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3:19

How do you exercise faith in God even in the worst of times?

1) Wait patiently for God even when you are afraid. (verse 16)

2) Choose to rejoice in God even when everything in life goes wrong. (verses 17-18)

3) Find strength in God to scale the heights even when you are down. (verse 19)

Look at verse 19: “The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk had learned to find his strength in God, not in his own resources or ability. Habakkuk was about to go through some rough times. The thought of it scared him so much that his heart pounded and his legs trembled beneath him. Yet as he rejoiced in God in the midst of difficult circumstances, he found new strength from God to deal with the trial ahead.

What is this strength like that God gives you? Habakkuk said, “God makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk paints the picture of a female deer running on the heights of the mountains, steady and surefooted, uninhibited and unafraid, full of freedom and confidence as she scales the heights. Do you long to enter the higher places with God? Then find your strength in him alone. Trust God to lift you up when you are down.

There is an old devotional book based on this final verse in Habakkuk written by Hannah Hurnard called Hinds’ Feet on High Places. The word “hind” is an old English word for a female deer, so it refers to the feet of the deer on the heights. Hinds’ Feet on High Places is written as an allegory, similar to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progess. It tells the story of a girl named Much-Afraid and her own journey from doubt to faith. Her story begins as she leaves the Valley of Fear. It is all she has ever known, but in faith she embarks on a new journey. Her path is marked by much sorrow and suffering along the way, but through it all she learns to depend on God and to find her strength in him alone. And as she learns to trust God no matter what, he leads her to the higher places of fellowship with him that she has always longed for.

How do you exercise faith during the worst of times? Wait patiently for the Lord even when you are afraid. Choose to rejoice in God even when everything in life goes wrong. Find strength in God to scale the heights even when you are down.

(Looking ahead: Tomorrow we will wrap up the Blogging with Habakkuk series with one final post.)

Here are the links to the whole Blogging with Habakkuk series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

Blogging with Habakkuk (23) – Trusting God No Matter What

(Part 23 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3:17-18

How do you exercise faith in God even during the worst of times? The first thing you can do is wait patiently for God even when you are afraid. (verse 16) Secondly, you can choose to rejoice in God even when everything in life goes wrong. Look at verses 17-18:

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

These verses represent one of the strongest expressions of faith you will find in the whole Bible, as Habakkuk determines to rejoice in God even when everything else in life goes wrong. Habakkuk paints three scenarios here. Each scenario contains a matching couplet of images.

The first scenario is this: (more…)

Blogging with Habakkuk (22) – Trusting God No Matter What

(Part 22 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3:16

Yesterday we asked the question: how do you exercise faith in God even during the worst of times? The first thing you can do is wait patiently for God even when you are afraid. Look at verse 16. Habakkuk writes: “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.” (Habakkuk 3:16a)

God had told Habakkuk about the coming invasion by the Babylonians. God had described the arrogance, violence, and cruelty of these invaders in chilling detail. God also told Habakkuk about the great and awesome judgments he would bring upon Babylon and indeed upon all the nations of the earth that refuse to submit to God. Habakkuk may even have seen all this in a vision. And Habakkuk is terrified at what will soon take place. He is afraid. His heart pounds in his chest, his lips quiver, he feels physically weak and hardly able to stand. This is Fear Factor multiplied by a hundred and ten.

How do you react when you see pictures of the terrorist attacks that took place on 9/11/2001? Sometimes I just need to hear the words, and that horrible mixture of emotions that hit me on that first 9/11 starts to rise again to the surface. The purpose of terrorism is not just to cause damage and harm but to cause fear. And sadly it works. In the weeks following 9/11, every time I turned on the news I braced myself just in case there had been another attack on our country. Five and half years later, I still brace myself sometimes before turning on the news.

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Blogging with Habakkuk (21) – Trusting God No Matter What

(Part 21 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3:16-19

This is the final week in our Blogging with Habakkuk series. Throughout this series of posts, we have been tracing Habakkuk’s journey from doubt to faith. In these final verses Habakkuk makes one of the strongest statements of faith you will find in all of Scripture. This statement makes a fitting climax to the whole book, and in many ways we have saved the best for last with these verses.

When we started this series back in April, we began by first looking at the prophetic books in general, and we asked the question, “Why are the prophetic books important for us to read and study today?” One of the reasons we gave was this:

The prophets deal with the weighty issues of life – things like God’s character, God’s uniqueness, God’s sovereignty over the nations, God’s requirements for his people, the importance of justice and righteousness. Without the prophets our faith can grow shallow and weak, unable to stand up to the rigors and challenges of life. (Reading the Prophets 3)

This is certainly true with the book of Habakkuk. The book of Habakkuk is all about faith in God. In fact we saw that the key verse of the whole book was Habakkuk 2:4: “The righteous will live by faith.”

We live in a day and age where the best-selling Christian books seem to be the ones that tell you how to prosper, succeed and live the good life. And I would guess that most of us would probably find it easy to exercise faith in God when we are prospering, when life is going well and according to our plans.

But the book of Habakkuk challenges us to put our faith in God even during the worst of times. When Habakkuk reached the end of his journey, he had moved from a place of doubting God to a place of trusting God no matter what. And that “no matter what” was a serious issue for Habakkuk, far more serious than most of the issues we deal with on a daily basis.

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Blogging with Habakkuk (20) – Is God There?

(Part 20 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3:2b

When you are wondering, “Is God there?” how can you be assured of God’s presence? First, approach God in an attitude of worship (Habakkuk 3:1-2a). Secondly, remember God’s mighty deeds of the past, when he defeated his enemies and delivered his people (Habakkuk 3:3-15). And then, thirdly, ask God to renew his deeds in the present. Look back at verse 2 once again.

LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2)

“O Lord, renew your deeds in our day.” I believe this means praying for both personal and corporate revival. Pray for revival in your own heart first. Pray that God would give you an ever increasing faith in him and love for him. Pray that God would give you a burning desire for holiness and to see God glorified in all areas of your life. Pray for revival in the church and in the community. I pray every week for revival to come to the town of Agawam where I live and to the surrounding communities. One of our nation’s greatest revivals began not far from here in the city of Northhampton. God has brought revival in the past. God can bring revival again. Pray that God would renew his deeds in the present.

And as you pray for revival, along with Habakkuk, also pray for God in his wrath to remember mercy. Because when you ask God to renew his deeds in the present, you are also asking him to bring judgment on the world for its sins. God cannot be active in a world of sin without judging that sin. And so as you ask God to renew his deeds, as you pray for personal and corporate revival, also ask God in his wrath to remember mercy.

Realize that you don’t have to convince God to do this. You don’t have to somehow persuade God against his will to be merciful. It is God’s nature to show mercy, and so when you pray this prayer, you are praying according to God’s will. The greatest example of God in wrath remembering mercy took place at the cross. There God poured out his wrath against sin upon his own Son in order that he might show mercy to sinners who would put their faith in Christ.

Once again, some of you may be struggling with the same questions as Habakkuk did in this book. “Does God care? Is God fair? Is God there?” If so, you need to capture Habakkuk’s vision of a God who has done great things for his people in the past and will do them again in the present. Yes, God is there. He is the famous one! Approach him in an attitude of worship. Know that God will defeat his enemies and deliver his people. Ask God to renew his deeds in our time.

(Looking ahead: Next week we will finish blogging with Habakkuk. But you can go ahead and read the final four verses now if you like: Habakkuk 3:16-19)

Here are the links to the whole Blogging with Habakkuk series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

Blogging with Habakkuk (19) – Is God There?

(Part 19 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3:3-15

Habakkuk’s third big question was, “Is God there?” How can you be assured of God’s presence? First, approach God in an attitude of worship (verses 1-2a). Secondly, remember God’s mighty deeds of the past (verses 3-15). This is what takes up the bulk of Habakkuk’s prayer in chapter 3. At its heart Habakkuk’s psalm is a song that describes God’s awesome presence and deeds.

As Habakkuk reflects on God’s deeds in the past, he emphasizes two points in particular. First of all, a word of warning: God conquers all enemies in his path. Let’s walk through these verses together and unpack some of the imagery that Habakkuk uses here.

Verses 3-4 say: “God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.” Teman was in the region to the south of Israel in the country of Edom. Mount Paran was located in the wilderness area between Edom and Mount Sinai. God’s coming is compared to a thunderstorm approaching Israel from the south. His brightness lights up the sky. Rays of lightning flash from his hands as from the deep thunderclouds, yet the full extent of God’s power remains hidden.

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Blogging with Habakkuk (18) – Is God There?

(Part 18 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3:1-2a

1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On [shigionoth].
2 LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. (NIV)

How can you be assured of God’s presence? The first thing you need to do is approach God in an attitude of worship. And that’s exactly what Habakkuk does here in chapter 3. Verse 1 provides a title for the whole chapter: “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.”

Chapter three is a prayer from Habakkuk to God. Now when I talk to God in prayer, I usually just talk to him. I don’t craft my words or plan out any long speeches any more than I do when I am talking with a friend or a neighbor. But Habakkuk chapter three is a little different. We are not sure exactly what that word shigionoth means at the end of verse 1, but it seems to be some kind of musical term. The chapter closes with instructions for the director of music and speaks about using stringed instruments. And so Habakkuk 3 is not only a prayer; it is a psalm or a worship song. It is a musical prayer. And musical prayers are a little different from just our regular prayers when we talk to God on a day to day basis.

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Blogging with Habakkuk (17) – Is God There?

(Part 17 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

Habakkuk 3

Chapter 3 records Habakkuk’s closing prayer in his journey. The implied complaint behind this prayer is that God is not there, which relates to question number three. (Habakkuk’s three big questions – 1) Does God care? 2) Is God fair? 3) Is God there?) But this time, instead of asking God to answer his complaint as before, Habakkuk answers it himself, as he reflects on God’s works and wonders for Israel over the centuries. And through this time of prayer and reflection, Habakkuk finally comes to a place of hope and confidence in God that allows him to praise God with rejoicing even as he anticipates the most difficult of circumstances.

When our youngest son Timothy was just a preschooler, Rose and I passed by his bedroom one evening and heard him talking out loud. We peeked through the crack in his door and saw him standing on his bed with his head lifted up towards the ceiling. He was saying, “God, are you there? God? God, are you listening? God? God, are you there?” We went in and asked him what he was doing. He said he wanted to talk to God, but he couldn’t see God, and he was just wondering if God was there. We talked to him a little about prayer, and how although we cannot see God, God is there and he hears our prayers.

“Is God there?” This is perhaps the most basic of all questions that people ask about God. It is also the most basic level of faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

And yet there is another way we can ask the question, “Is God there?” that goes beyond the question of God’s existence. Habakkuk certainly didn’t doubt God’s existence. He wondered about God’s presence. “God, are you there? Do you know what I am going through? Are you there to help me through this time of difficulty? I desperately need your presence. God, are you there?” That’s what Habakkuk was struggling with. And in chapter three we find a remarkable prayer where Habakkuk basically answers this question for himself and finally emerges at a place of faith and confidence rather than doubt and fear.

How can you be assured of God’s presence? We will look at Habakkuk chapter three together this week to see what we can learn from Habakkuk’s prayer.

(Looking ahead: Next time we will look at Habakkuk 3:1-2)

Here are the links to the whole Blogging with Habakkuk series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

Blogging with Habakkuk (16) – How to Lose It All

(Part 16 in a series of posts on Habakkuk.)

We have been talking about how Babylon lost it all by following man’s way rather than God’s way. Man’s way is to gain the whole world and lose your soul. God’s way is to lose your life for Christ in order that you may find it. Lose it all for him, and God will restore your soul.

You lose your life for Christ by serving God instead of serving yourself. Let’s look at five specific ways to follow God’s way instead of man’s way. These five ways correspond to the five woes from the taunt song we just looked at in Habakkuk 2:6-20 – theft, injustice, violence, exploitation, and idolatry.

  1. You serve God instead of self by giving rather than stealing: Ephesians 4:28: “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”
  2. You serve God instead of self by practicing integrity rather than injustice: Proverbs 10:9: “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.”
  3. You serve God instead of self by acting with compassion rather than violence: Philippians 2:1-3: “If you have any . . . tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love . . . . Do nothing out of selfish ambition . . . but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
  4. You serve God instead of self by serving others rather than exploiting them: Matthew 20:25-28: Jesus . . . said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them . . . Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant . . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  5. You serve God instead of self by worshiping the living God rather than idols: 1 Thessalonians 1:9: “They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”

Habakkuk wondered if God would judge the Babylonians for their sin. He wondered, “Is God fair?” Here in chapter 2 God shared with Habakkuk the certain judgment that would fall upon the Babylonians for their sin. Babylon would lose it all, because Babylon was seeking to build an empire for itself rather than seeking to serve God.

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26)

The people of the world clamor and strive for wealth, security, power, and pleasure. They trust in idols of their own making rather than in God. But “their labor is only fuel for the fire … they exhaust themselves for nothing … The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:13,20)

(Looking ahead: Next week we will look at Habakkuk’s third and final question, “Is God there?” found in chapter 3.)

Here are the links to the whole Blogging with Habakkuk series: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.