Habakkuk: Bible Book of Questions
The Book of Habakkuk is known as "a book of questions" because the minor prophet asked God a series of questions in the short book of only three chapters. Habakkuk could not understand what was going on around him. Therefore, he had questions about his nation just as people today in 2020 have questions about the things that are going on.
Habakkuk couldn't help but notice that the nation was in chaos, with riots, laws not being followed, corrupt government officials, and worst of all there was no justice. Habakkuk didn't just complain. He asked God why these things were happening. He even went a step further and accused Him of doing nothing about it (Habakkuk 1:1-4).
When God finally responded to Habakkuk's questions, the answers were nothing that Habakkuk expected to hear. What God told Habakkuk might be the same as what He is telling us today about the evil and mystifying things that are going on around us.
Habakkuk's Questions and God's Responses
Habakkuk complained that God wasn't doing anything about the injustice in the nation. Habakkuk and God's dialogues are recorded in Chapters 1 and 2. In fact, the book opens with Habakkuk's complaint and his list of questions.
"How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted" (Habakkuk 1:1-4).
God did not ignore the prophet's accusations and questions. God responded to Habakkuk by saying what He intended to do.
“Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told" (Habakkuk 1:5-6).
Habakkuk responded with a second complaint and more questions.
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? (Habakkuk 1:13)
The conversation continues in Chapter 2. God tells Habakkuk what he should do as a prophet as well as wanting God to act.
“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay (Habakkuk 2:1-3).
God explains that He will judge when He is ready to do so. Besides, He reminds Habakkuk that his own nation had done the same to other nations. In other words, Habakkuk's nation has brought this situation on itself.
"Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples will plunder you, because of men’s blood, and for the violence done to the land, to the city and to all who dwell in it (Habakkuk 2:8).
God's Assurance to Habakkuk
God assured Habakkuk that He was working on the corruption in the land. Instead of telling the prophet what He was doing, God wanted Habakkuk to be patient, walk by faith, and do what he could do as a man of God.
Habakkuk Is Satisfied with God's Answers
Habakkuk complained and questioned God in Chapters 1 and 2. We see in Chapter 3 that Habakkuk expressed his ultimate confidence in God even before God acted.
"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).
According to Habakkuk's list, everything that could go wrong would not make him waver in his faith. The list begins with having no figs and olives to eat. Then the list continues with the prophet saying even if no animals were available, he would still rejoice in the Lord. In other words, Habakkuk admitted that if all essential things were taken away, He would rejoice in God his savior.
Habakkuk rejoiced before any changes took place. He did not wait until God acted on his complaints and questions. Habakkuk took God at His word and acted on his faith.
Can we do the same when our own nation is in chaos and confusion? Can we rejoice at times like these where public health is at risk and the economy is failing? God's answers to Habakkuk are His answers to us as well.
- Continue to stay focused on God.
- Keep the faith.
- Don't waver.
- Let God do what He does in His time.
- Just be patient and wait.