What does an obscure Old Testament prophet who lived and died over 2600 years ago have to do with you and me? I’m thinking specifically one with a name like “Habakkuk?”
The book of Habakkuk is the only place in Scripture where we see this character mentioned. We don’t know his age, his family status, where he came from, or those he associated with. In fact, we don’t know anything about his relationship with another human being. All we see is his relationship with God. He talks to God and hears from God.
The structure of this little book breaks down into two complaints and a prayer.
Here is the breakdown:
1:1-4: Complaint #1
1:5-11: Response from God #1
1:12-2:1: Compliant #2
2:2-20: Response from God #2
If you’ve been around other Christians for any length of time, Habakkuk is also popular for a few individual verses that you’ve likely heard before. Most of these you’ve probably heard used in the right ways, but the first one listed is undoubtedly one of the top 5 “out of context” favorites of all time.
Habakkuk 1:5 5 “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
Habakkuk 2:4 4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
Habakkuk 2:14 14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:20 20 But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
So what does Habakkuk have to do with you and me? I think the structure of “two complaints and a prayer” probably speaks for itself. Have you ever wondered why God does things the way He does? Have you ever questioned His character? Have you ever stacked up your experience in the world with what you thought to be true about God and they didn’t add up? Two complaints and prayer…it’s going to be a great journey, line by line, through this little book.