Overview of Habakkuk: In Wrath Remember Mercy – The Just Shall Live by Faith

bookofzephaniahMost of the prophets have been called to deliver a very specific message to a targeted group of people. They have a burden from the Lord and they are very confident in the content of their proclamation. [Quick Review of the Minor Prophets] Habakkuk is very different:

How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and you will not hear?

Not bringing answers to the people; he is like a brother to Job – we follow him through the process of trying to figure out why bad things are happening to God’s people.

Here the prophet is faced with some very confusing circumstances. Things don’t add up for this godly man of discernment. He is scratching his head. How can God use the wicked Chaldeans to punish His own people of Judah – the southern kingdom? What is going on?

Why doesn’t God establish righteousness in the land? How can he use the Chaldeans as his instrument. Why doesn’t God just fix what is wrong? OK, God promises He will ultimately judge the Chaldeans as well … but that doesn’t satisfy Habakkuk. He must learn to live by faith and not put his hope in temporal blessings but in God’s eternal character. He will remain faithful to His covenant promises.

Sometimes in the church that is our experience as well. What is going on? We cry out for answers. We can’t sort everything out. God does not always show us His reasons for doing what He is doing. Crying out against the apparent inactivity of God.

THE LONG TERM CONVICTION OF FAITH EXULTS IN THE GOD OF OUR SALVATION DESPITE THE PERPLEXING QUESTIONS OF THE PAIN AND APPARENT INJUSTICE OF OUR PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES

9 STEP PROGRAM FOR CONFUSED PROPHETS (MEN OF DISCERNMENT)

1) (1:2) STEP #1 – WEEP, WAIL – VENT, LAMENT

Guard against: Bitterness; Accusing God of sin

Chapter 1 – PERPLEXING PARADOX – PERVERTED JUSTICE??

THE PROPHET WRESTLES WITH THE APPROPRIATENESS OF GOD USING THE WICKED CHALDEANS TO JUDGE HIS OWN PEOPLE — DIVINE DISCIPLINE CAN BE PACKAGED IN STRANGE WAYS

2) (1:3-4) STEP #2 – WEIGH CAREFULLY THE REALITY YOU SEE AROUND YOU

Guard Against Giving Up, Quitting, Despairing

3) (1:5-17) STEP #3 – WONDER ABOUT ALL THE TOUGH QUESTIONS

Guard Against judging God to be Unfair in His Judgments or Inconsistent in His Character or Unfaithful to His Promises

4) (2:1) STEP #4 – WATCH FOR GOD’S REVELATION

Guard Against Presumption or Human Wisdom or Pride

Chapter 2 – PERMANENT PRINCIPLE: GOD IS A RIGHTEOUS JUDGE

PERPLEXITY REGARDING GOD’S WAYS AND GOD’S TIMING SHOULD NEVER SHAKE OUR FAITH IN GOD’S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS OR FAITHFULNESS TO HIS PROMISES

5) (2:2-20) STEP #5 – WALK HUMBLY BY FAITH… IN CONTRAST TO THE WICKED

Guard Against thinking that godliness doesn’t matter

6) (3:1-2a) STEP #6 – WISE UP / WORSHIP GOD – FEAR GOD

Guard Against shaking our fist in the face of God; we must submit and worship

Chapter 3 – PERSEVERING PERSPECTIVE: GOD WILL DELIVER HIS PEOPLE

THE PERSEVERING PERSPECTIVE COMBINES THE SHORT TERM PAIN OF DISCIPLINE WITH THE TRIUMPHANT RESOLVE TO REJOICE IN GOD’S LONG TERM DELIVERANCE

7) (3:2b-15) STEP #7 – WELCOME THE RENEWAL OF GOD’S WORKING

Guard Against low expectations of God’s intervention and deliverance

8) (3:16) STEP #8 – WAIT QUIETLY FOR GOD’S PROVIDENTIAL TIMING

Guard Against trying to substitute your timetable for God’s

9) (3:17-19) STEP #9 – WAVE THE BANNER OF REJOICING IN GOD’S STRENGTH

Guard Against allowing your circumstances to rob you of the Lord’s intended strength and joy for appreciating Him today


I. PERPLEXING PARADOX — PERVERTED JUSTICE?? (CHAP. 1)

THE PROPHET WRESTLES WITH THE APPROPRIATENESS OF GOD USING THE WICKED CHALDEANS TO JUDGE HIS OWN PEOPLE — DIVINE DISCIPLINE CAN BE PACKAGED IN STRANGE WAYS

(:1) INTRODUCTION:

  • The Message – Description of the Content
  • The Messenger — Identification of the Prophet
  • The Medium of Revelation

A. (:2-4) COMPLAINT OF THE PROPHET — DELAY OF THE LORD IN RESTORING JUSTICE TO THE LAND – THE LAMENT OF A DISTURBED SOUL

  1. (:2) Delay in Deliverance Disturbs the Soul
  2. (:3) Culture of Corruption Disturbs the Soul
  3. (:4) Perversion of Justice Disturbs the Soul

B. (:5-11) CONSTERNATION OF THE PROPHET — DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD BY USING CRUEL CHALDEANS AS INSTRUMENT OF JUDGMENT – THE ASTONISHMENT OF A SHOCKED PROPHET

  1. (:5) Unexpected Discipline Strategy
  2. (:6-10) Unrestrained Cruelty of the Chaldeans
  3. (:11) Ultimate Accountability – the Chaldeans Will Be Judged Themselves

C. (:12-17) COMFORT/CONFUSION OF THE PROPHET – DEPENDENCE ON THE LORD DESPITE PERPLEXITY OF INCOMPREHENSIBLE TACTICS — THE HOPE OF A PERPLEXED PROPHET

  1. (:12)Perspective Based on Eternity
  2. (:13)Perspective Based on Holiness — Paradox
  3. (:14-17) Perspective Clouded by Unrestrained Cruelty of the Chaldeans
  4. (2:1) Waiting for a More Definitive Answer

II. PERMANENT PRINCIPLE – GOD IS A RIGHTEOUS JUDGE (CHAP. 2)

(MAKE NO MISTAKE: THE WICKED WILL BE PUNISHED)

PERPLEXITY REGARDING GOD’S WAYS AND GOD’S TIMING SHOULD NEVER SHAKE OUR FAITH IN GOD’S RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS OR FAITHFULNESS TO HIS PROMISES

(:1) INTRODUCTION: THE PROPHET WAITS FOR A RESPONSE

A. (:2-3) DON’T BE SHORT-SIGHTED OR IMPATIENT REGARDING THE LORD’S LONG TERM PROGRAM – PROPHETIC REVELATION PROMISES THE CERTAINTY OF FULFILLMENT ACCORDING TO GOD’S TIMETABLE

  1. (:2) The Lord Goes on Record
  2. (:3) The Prophecies Will Not Fail

B. (:4-5) KEY PRINCIPLE: GOD WILL ALWAYS MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE PROUD AND THE RIGHTEOUS

  1. (:4a)The Unbelieving Proud – Needs a Soul Adjustment
  2. (:4b)The Believing Righteous – Needs to Stick to His Guns

III. PERSEVERING PERSPECTIVE – GOD WILL DELIVER HIS PEOPLE (CHAP. 3)

THE PERSEVERING PERSPECTIVE COMBINES THE SHORT TERM PAIN OF DISCIPLINE WITH THE TRIUMPHANT RESOLVE TO REJOICE IN GOD’S LONG TERM DELIVERANCE

A. (:1-2) CHANGED PERSPECTIVE OF THE PROPHET – COMBINES ACCEPTANCE OF DISCIPLINE WITH HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

  1. (:1) Posture of Prayer
  2. (:2) Plea for Revival and Mercy

B. (:3-15) HISTORICAL REMEMBRANCES OF GOD IN HIS MAJESTIC GLORY AND SOVEREIGN POWER – COMBINES THE OUTPOURING OF GOD’S WRATH WITH THE REPEATED DELIVERANCE OF HIS PEOPLE

  1. (:3-5) Vision of the Glory and Power of the God of Wrath
  2. (:6-11) The Outpouring of God’s Wrath
  3. (:12-15) God’s Wrath Set in the Context of God’s Mercy and Deliverance

C. (:16-19) TRIUMPHANT RESOLVE OF THE PROPHET – COMBINES THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD WITH THE UPLIFTING RESOURCES OF THE JOY AND STRENGTH OF THE LORD

  1. (:16A) Foundational Attitude of Fear of the Lord = the Beginning of Wisdom
  2. (:16B-17) Persevering Acceptance of the Discipline of the Lord
  3. (:18-19) Abiding Confidence in the Sufficiency of the Joy and Strength of the Lord