AWAIT GOD’S TIMING
Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 June 24 2007
Habakkuk looked at Judan under Jehoiakim’s evil
reign and saw His people had fallen into the
practice of many sins. He complained to the Lord,
asking Him how long He was going to permit those
evil conditions to exist. God answered by saying
He was about to do an unbelievable thing. He was
preparing the Chaldeans [kal DEE uhns](Babylonians)
to come against Judah and bring judgment on them
God answered by declaring righteous people will
live by their faith and evil aggressors will suffer
the consequences pronounced in five messages of
Woe (Heb. 1:12-2:20)
Habakkuk 3:1-19 is a prayer of Habakkuk with
musical notations for use as a praise to the Lord.
1. Will God Ever Act?
Hab. 1:2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you
do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do
not save? 1:3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are
before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 1:5 “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. 1:6 I am raising up the
Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who
sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places
not their own.
(Hab.1:2-2:20) A dialogue between the prophet and
God. The basic theme is age-old: Why does evil seem
to go unpunished? Why does God not respond to prayer?
(Hab.1:2) Violence! At this time Judah was probably
under King Jehoiakim, who was ambitious, cruel and
corrupt. Habakkuk describes the social corruption
and spiritual apostasy of Judah in the late seventh
century B.C. You tolerate. (Hab.1:13). The prophet
was amazed that God seemed to condone cruelty
Law is paralyzed. . . Justice is perverted. Because
wealthy landowners controlled the courts through
Would not believe. To the people of Judah it was
incredible that God would give them over to the
The apostate nation of Judah is to be punished by
an invasion of the Babylonians, a powerful people
who regained their independence from Assyria in
626 B.C., destroyed Assyrian power completely in
612-605, and flourished until 539. In this context,
the Chaldeans are synonymous with the newly
resurgent Babylonians. Seize dwelling places.
2. Does God Always Do Right?
Hab. 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you
cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the
treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
2:2 Then the LORD replied: “Write down the
revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a
herald may run with it. 2:3 For the revelation
awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and
will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it
will certainly come and will not delay. 2:4 “See, he
is puffed up; his desires are not upright — but the
righteous will live by his faith —
A classic statement of the problem of evil within
the context of Israel’s faith: Why does evil appear
to flourish unchecked by a just and holy God?
Treacherous. . . Wicked. The Babylonians. Those more
I will stand at my watch. The figure of a guard looking
out from a tower and expecting a response to his
challenge. Any rebuke would be for questioning God’s
justice. Ramparts. The walls of Jerusalem.
(Hab.2:2-3) Revelation. (1Ch 17:15; Pr 29:18). The
Hebrew for this word refers specifically to a prophet’s
vision (Isa 1:1). (Hab.2:2) So that a harald may run with
it. Lit. “so that he who reads it may run,” i.e., so that
a messenger may run to deliver the message and read
it to those to whom he has been sent.
Wait for it. The following message deals with the fall
of Babylon in 539 B.C., about 66 years after Habakkuk’s
prophecy. The Lord tells Habakkuk (and Judah) that
fulfillment of the prophecy may “linger,” but that he
and the people are to expect it (Hab.3:16).
He. Collective for the Babylonians, but with special
reference to their king. But, In contrast to the
Babylonians, whose desires are not upright. The
righteous will live by his faith. ( Isa 26, especially
Hab.1-6). In light of God’s revelation about how (and
when) he is working, his people are to wait patiently
and live by faith —trusting in their sovereign God. The
clause is quoted frequently in the NT to support the
teaching that people are saved by grace through faith
(Rom. 1:17; Gal 3:11; Eph 2:8) and should live by faith
(Heb 10:38-39). It became the rallying cry of the
Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The same
principle that was applicable in the realm of national
deliverance is applicable in the area of spiritual
3. How Will I Respond?
Hab. 3:16 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered
at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs
trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us. 3:17 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, 3:18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be
joyful in God my Savior. 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my
strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he
enables me to go on the heights. For the director of
music. On my stringed instruments.
Hearing the hymnic recollection of God’s mighty
deeds of old in Israel’s behalf (Hab. 3-15) fills
the prophet with an awe so profound that he feels
physically weak. Alternatively, it is possible that
the message from the Lord that Babylon would be
sent against Judah (1:5-11) had so devastated him
that he felt ill —until he heard the Lord’s further
word. Wait patiently . (Hab.2:3). Nation invading us.
Probably anticipates the awful results of the
imminent Babylonian invasion and devastation.
(Hab3:18-19) Habakkuk has learned the lesson of
faith (Hab.2:4 )—to trust in God’s providence
regardless of circumstances. He declares that even
if God should send suffering and loss, he would still
rejoice in his Savior-God —one of the strongest
affirmations of faith in all Scripture.
Makes my feet like the feel of a deer. Gives me sure-
footed confidence. Director. Probably the conductor
of the temple musicians. This chapter may have
formed part of the temple prayers that were chanted
with the accompaniment of instruments (1Ch 16:4-7).
Stringed instruments. Including harp and lyre (Ps 33:2;
The lesson in this first unit of study have focused
on knowing God and responding appropriately to Him. He
is a God of mercy; we should appropriate His mercy
regularly. He is Lord of all; we should submit to His
lordship eagerly. He is a just God; we should work with
Him for justice for all. This lesson declares He is
a prayer-answering God; we should be confident and
patient as we wait for His answers.
God caused Habakkuk to recognize those evil
conditions and gave the message found in the Book
of Habakkuk to the prophet.