Lesson 7 Summer Quarter
Lesson Text: Habakkuk 2:1-5, 3:17-19
Golden Text: Habakkuk 3:18
Our lesson this week is the third lesson within the second unit of lesson for this month which is titled – Faithful to Prophesy. In our lesson this week, we are going to take a look at a few questions that Habakkuk had of the Lord and we are going to see God’s response. Our lesson this week is going to be taught from Habakkuk 2:1-5, 3:17-19.
Habakkuk’s Questions God
In the first chapter of his book, Habakkuk is seen questioning the Lord. He asked, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear (Hab. 1:2).” He questioned why the Lord was allowing the people to be wicked with nothing being done about it. This, Habakkuk spoke of, was of the wickedness of the Jews.
Now, to this initial question, the Lord replied to Habakkuk’s question by speaking to the judgment that was indeed going to come upon Judah because of their wickedness. The answer from God, however, did not really satisfy Habakkuk as He pondered why God was not acting swiftly to judge those who were treating the righteous so harshly (Hab. 1:13).
These questions are what led to the opening verse of our lesson today where Habakkuk states that he would stand watch (he would wait) to see what the Lord would say in response (v.1). We will see that Habakkuk even says in the opening verse that if he happens to be wrong about his questions of God that he would be open to hearing and accepting God’s correction.
Is God faithful and just?
So, before we get into the Lord’s response, let us take a moment to evaluate what Habakkuk is questioning of God. Habakkuk was questioning whether or not the Lord was truly faithful and just as He had said He was. We have seen, read, and studied scripture that speaks of God being both faithful and just. As John wrote in his first epistle, “[God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).”
A scripture that I referenced recently was what the Lord testified of Himself to Moses when He passed before Him. The Lord said of Himself that He is merciful and gracious to those who love Him while also visiting the iniquities upon those who are wicked (Ex. 34:6-7). So, to question whether or not the Lord is truly faithful and just is to question the Lord’s word.
Now, I don’t want you to think badly of Habakkuk as he was asking questions that many people ask today, right? We look at the violence of today and we wonder why the Lord allows it to happen. We look around at starvation and other sufferings in the world today and we, again, wonder why does the Lord allow such evil to happen in our world. When we are doing this, understand that we are questioning the Lord’s faithfulness in upholding His word.
The Lord answers
So, the Lord responded to Habakkuk’s questions. One thing I do want to point out about God’s response is that His response was not harsh. We believers get into the habit of being afraid of God responding to our questions because we may feel His response will be harsh. The Lord, when He responds to us, He responds with certainty. So, don’t ever take God’s responses as harsh responses but responses of certainty.
The Lord told Habakkuk to “write the vision and make it plain on tablets (v.2).” God wanted the answer to Habakkuk’s questions to be easily understood by whoever would read them. Whether the vision would come to pass immediately or whether it tarried, it will come to pass because God has said so. God’s word has an appointed time to be realized and that time is appointed by Him (v.3).
The Lord told Habakkuk to behold the proud, their soul is not upright but the just however, shall live by faith (v.4). So, the Lord was making it plain and simple as to who He considers to be just and unjust. Now, I would suggest to you that Habakkuk certainly had some idea as to who was just and unjust as his initial questions was about the unjust not being punished for their iniquity.
I believe God was simply making it clear to those who would question who is just and unjust. Of the proud, the Lord speaks of the greed of the proud to, again, make it clear what the proud is all about (v.5). Too often we like to come up with our own rules as to who is just and who is not just. Our history is littered with so-called believers misjudging who was just or unjust because they were being guided by their own self-righteousness or by worldly logic.
At this point, our lesson skips over the rest of the Lord’s response but I do want to mention the rest of God’s response to Habakkuk. The Lord would go on to say woe to those who opposed Him and His way.
God said woe to him who increases what is not his (Hab. 2:6); woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, that he may set his nest on high (Hab. 2:9); woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed (Hab. 2:12); Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor (Hab. 2:15); Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’ (Hab. 2:19).
The Lord then said that He is in His holy temple and that all the earth should keep silent before Him (Hab. 2:20). So, in other words, the Lord is going to judge all – that is both the just and unjust. As we know, both are going to be rewarded with their proper reward by the Lord.
After hearing these words from the Lord, Habakkuk rejoiced in a hymn of faith (Hab. 3:17-19). Habakkuk spoke to how fig trees may not blossom, fruit may not grow on the vines, and the flock may be cut off from the fold (v.17). Essentially, he was speaking about what would be lost – those of Judah – due to their iniquity.
Habakkuk is not necessarily rejoicing at the loss of his brothers and sisters; he simply understood that the wicked would reap their rewards. Habakkuk was simply looking for the Lord to be faithful and keep His word. Because God was saying that He was going to keep His word, we will see Habakkuk state that he would still rejoice because he was one who was just and would be delivered from the evil of his people (v.18).
Because he had seen so much wickedness and would now be delivered from it, Habakkuk says, “God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills (v.19). Habakkuk realized that the Lord truly is faithful to those that are righteous and this was his rejoice – his praise.