Introduction to Habakkuk – Habakkuk was a prophet who lived before the big exile. He lived in the 7th century BC and was a contemporary of Jeremiah, Nahum, and Zephaniah. At this time, Israel was looking for help in the wrong places – Egypt and Assyria. They needed protection from the growing power of Babylon but were not trusting in God. Habakkuk’s frustration was that God’s people were suffering while the evil people were not. Moreover, God used a more wicked nation, Babylon, to punish Israel, a lesser evil nation.

Habakkuk 1 – He starts with venting his frustration over seeing much evil and God seemingly doing nothing. Then God proclaims that Habakkuk wouldn’t believe what He is doing, namely, raising up the Chaldeans (neo-Babylonians) who were fierce and impetuous, and they would destroy many of God’s people. Their god is their own physical strength and God would hold them accountable for their iniquities later. Still, Habakkuk has a rough time seeing a people more evil than the Jews destroying the Jews. Rather than doubting God’s existence, however, Habakkuk was just perplexed and frustrated.

Application for Today: We all need Habakkuk’s faith in God. There have been and will be events and situations in which we will not understand. There will be times when we cannot give a “definite Biblical answer.” If our hearts are right, however, God’s mercy and grace will see to it that our faith in Him remains. It is easy to believe when things all make sense and are going well. Anyone can do that. But to maintain unwavering faith no matter what the circumstance is something worth more than all the treasures of this world. Personally, when I have moments of doubt about Christianity, I always go back to His Word in the New Testament and think, “No one could make this up…no one else has ever spoken words like Jesus.” Though at times I’ve tried to disbelieve those words, I have failed each time to do so.

Habakkuk 2 – This World vs. God’s Kingdom

This prophet primed and readied himself to hear from God, and he did. God revealed that a proud person’s heart is not right and that a righteous man will live by his faith. In contrast, Babylon lived by their sight and worldly might. Therefore God would bring it down. This concept is key to eternal life. Whether a person lived under the Old Covenant or the New Covenant, he/she had to believe and trust the true God for their righteousness. Many years later, Paul writing Galatians 3:24 proclaims that the purpose of The OT Law was to prove to us we cannot obey it and therefore need some “outside source” to give eternal life to us. God knew that no one could keep His Law, but I think we needed to have an idea of what He demands so we could come to the conclusion that our pride needs to be put to death.

Verse 14 contrasts the will of this fallen world (represented by “Babylon”) with the will of God. Fortunately for us and the angels, it will be God’s glory that fills the earth and not Babylon’s glory (pride, might makes right, reliance on self, trust in man’s wisdom and intellectual ability, etc.). The spirit of Babylon, however, will continue to live on until Christ returns and puts an end to it forever. I see this spirit of Babylon in many things today – science, public education, college institutions, politics, business, sports, and movies. It permeates all societies of this world. Babylon’s judgment would include being treated like they treated other nations along with shameful nakedness as their evil becomes revealed.

Application for Today: People are dominated by spirits, that is, they will have a certain bent within them. The old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together” somewhat illustrates this concept. Either people are open to the Word of God or they are closed. It is the ones that are open that we need to find and share our faith with. We need to allow God’s Spirit to “call them out of Babylon” (John 6:44).

Habakkuk 3 – The prophet offers a prayer of faith in God despite knowing an invasion by the Babylonians would take place. He confesses that his strength is knowing and trusting in God who has the power to raise him up over his problems of this life. Habakkuk, in ending his Book, actually produces a model prayer containing humiliation, adoration, and petition.

Application for Today: One great thing about being a child of God is that we can still rejoice when things look grim (John 16:22). This, the world does not have. Practicing this can help us take “holy pauses” when we get churned up inside about something. It will prevent us from doing or saying something to make the situation worse. Sometimes speaking from emotion is beneficial, but not always. We need to have the Holy Spirit in charge of our mind and tongue because He can always discern this difference.