We don’t know anything personal about the author other that his name means embracer. He was one of those unique individuals that God chose the use for a specific message at a specific time. The place in history in which he lived was much like ours violent, sinful, filled with civil unrest and injustice, fearful, oppression form the government. Judah’s last four kings were men who rejected God and oppressed their own people. It seemed that God was distant or indifferent to the plight of the common man. Habakkuk asked God why he allowed Judah to continue in its wicked ways. Why a just and righteous God would allow His own people to continue ignoring His ways. He was given prophesy of the coming Babylonian captivity, where God would judge the southern kingdom of Judah through the cruelty of king Nebuchadnezzar.
Habakkuk could not understand why a just God would use such an evil people such as the Babylonians to rein judgment on Judah. God told him that the Babylonians were an instrument for His purposes and that once they had fulfilled His purpose they also would be punished.
This book should give us hope that God is, and always has been, in control. He does not forget His people. He will chasten them in Love but He is sovereign. Nothing escapes His watchful eye concerning His own. It’s important to remember that at this point in history God dealt with the nations and only exceptional individuals had direct access to God unlike today where each who are members of His family have direct and immediate access to Him.
The message for today is what will it take for America to turn around; for the Church to get off the pew and get on our knees and humble ourselves before our God giving Him His rightful place in our hearts and in our society. 2 Chronicles 7:14. Will we do it? Judah didn’t and it cost them 70 years of slavery to Babylon and a destroyed Jerusalem. What will it cost us?
VS 1 Habakkuk was burdened over the sin of his nation. He begged God for help and when He did not answer he wrote this verse.
How long? They were in desperate times and in his understanding God was not paying attention. God knows exactly what is going on but He is letting them “stew in their own juices”.
VS 2 I cry out to You but you do not save. LORD: YAHWEH self-existent, eternal one.
Vs 3-4 Habakkuk is crying out to God because all he sees is sin, death and lawlessness. The wicked surround the righteous. Do we see this today?
VS 5-6 God replies and tells His plan
VS 7-11 God describes the Chaldeans. The dominant sect in Babylon. They came from what is now southern Iraq and their homeland was the ancient homeland of Abram. Ur of Chaldees which is approximately where Kuwait is now, just north of the Persian Gulf. They will be held guilty whose strength is in their god. Their god was themselves. What did king Nebuchadnezzar do? He built a huge idol on the plains of Dura and required all to worship it. This was to centralize or have state controlled religion in order to control the minds and hearts of the people.
Vs 12-17. Listen to the heart of the man of God as he pleads to understand how a Holy God can use such an evil people to judge His own. “Did it ever even occur to you that God’s sense of justice may be more developed than ours?” Francis Chan What a seemingly obvious, yet profound statement that is hauntingly true! We take our God so for granted sometimes, instead of being humbled by Him we can be so casual. Isaiah 55. Exodus 32:26-28. Joshua 7:24-26
Habakkuk was perplexed by what he was seeing; first that God would let it go on and second that He would use a wicked people to bring His judgment.