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Book of Habakkuk: Summary

Updated on September 8, 2012
The picture is a Greek Catholic icon depicting the prophet Habakkuk with a rock in his hand. The icon was painted in the end of the 18th century as part of the iconostasis of the Greek Catholic Cathedral of Hajdúdorog, Hungary. Habakkuk's icon is pl
The picture is a Greek Catholic icon depicting the prophet Habakkuk with a rock in his hand. The icon was painted in the end of the 18th century as part of the iconostasis of the Greek Catholic Cathedral of Hajdúdorog, Hungary. Habakkuk's icon is pl | Source

The Book of Habakkuk contained the complaint that Habakkuk filed to God and God’s response to his prophet. It begins with Habakkuk calling and crying to God about the apostasy of Judah at that time, overrun with violence, injustice, wrong, etc. His heart is grieved to see the Torah is no longer obeyed and injustice prevailed in the land (Habakkuk 1:1-4). His complaint won’t go unanswered to a living God; God showed to him of what is to come, God is going to use Babylonians to advance judgment upon His own people. The Babylonians are people of their own law and honor and they take pride in their strength, with their power they conquer the nations (Habakkuk 1:5-11). In this 21st century, we could observe in our world the ubiquitousness of evil doings: human rights abuse, human trafficking, drug abuse, sex industries, same-sex marriage, corruption, ridicule and mockery in belief of God, etc. Many detestable things are now common and God’s people are deemed too conservative and outdated. We are like Habakkuk in this century that grieved to see these abominable things, and often we asked God why he allowed the widespread of injustice and violence. Through Habakkuk, we are assured that God’s eyes are full of tears seeing all this and he will bring justice to the land according to his wisdom and timing; he will not let his righteous people to be oppressed.

Bringing forth justice using an even more wicked nation? Unable to conceive of this idea, Habakkuk made his second complaint to God. God could not tolerate any wrongdoing, so how could God tolerate the wicked Babylonians when they capture and destroy Judah without mercy (Habakkuk 1:12-2:1)? The reply of the Lord came upon him that the end of Babylonian will also come to pass. In contrast to the Babylonians whose desire are not upright, the righteous will live by their faith. The captivated people will sound woe and condemnation against the wickedness of the Babylonians, the glory of Babylon will be covered with disgrace. God will also bring judgment upon the wickedness of Babylonians, he will not let evil doings go unpunished (Habakkuk 2:2-20). God is omniscient and omnipower, he could even use wicked people to bring judgment upon other wicked people. But one thing for sure, he will not let the wicked sit on the throne as he will bring judgment to them. Sometimes we complaint against God why such an evil person seems to have victories and successes, especially using a dirty way. God’s message in Habakkuk reminds us today that God’s will not compromise justice, and he will bring forth justice in time. The wicked will fall in time and the righteous will live.

Then Habakkuk writes a prayer expressing his strong faith in God, a prayer of awe and worship to the majestic God. God will come out to deliver and save his people and crush the wicked. He’s assured that the time of judgment upon the wicked will come and despite the time of difficulties during the Babylonian invasion he will rejoice in the Lord, for the Lord is his strength (Habakkuk 3:1-19). Habakkuk’s prayer is a beautiful prayer of faith even though he had not see the judgment coming. When we are in the state of difficulties and trouble because of the wicked, we know that God will act in time without delay. Let us wait patiently when God will bring justice in our life. Here we learn a lesson of faith from Habakkuk, to trust in God’s providence regardless of the circumstances. Should God send a time of suffering and devastation, we will still be joyful in God the Savior. In the meantime of distress, we will not fall because the Lord is our strength. Our sure confidence are on the Lord.

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    • profile image

      RMackeyusa 5 years ago

      Good exegetical work. God will always justify His elect.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Interesting comparison between the two times. I would need more convincing to think they are very comparable.