Habakkuk: Complaint

“Complaint”

Habakkuk 1:1-4

Alec Wallis

16 October 2016


  • Introduction

Prophecy was God speaking to His people

Prophecy is not prediction, it is the proclamation of God’s plan

Walton and Hill

Here is a timeline of the prophets

The prophets can be separated into major and minor prophets

The minor prophets were minor in length not minor in importance

Because Habakkuk is only 3 chapters he is a minor prophet

Almost nothing is known about him. Every other prophet has more information than him

The only details we know are the important ones that he was a prophet in Judah before going into exile

Also, scholars therefore see the book of Habakkuk predating the battle of Carchemish were the Babylonians defeat the Assyrians to become a world superpower

The raising up of the Babylonian army is seen in Habakkuk as the will of God

I am raising up the Babylonians,

that ruthless and impetuous people,

who sweep across the whole earth

to seize dwellings not their own.

Habakkuk 1:6

King Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylon’s not only defeats the Assyrians but then sends Judah into exile.

The book therefore has some interesting themes such as God using an evil nation to bring judgement on the evil of Judah

  • Lament

Earlier this year we looked at lament in the psalms

A lament is a repeated cry of pain, rage, sorrow, and grief that emerges in the midst of suffering and alienation

John Swinton

The Psalms are full of lament but the prophets also experienced lament

This is a picture of Jeremiah, often known as the weeping prophet, who is lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem

Unlike most prophets, Habakkuk is the one who begins the conversation

Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah

Isaiah 38:4

Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah

Jeremiah 32:36

 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel

1 Samuel 15:10

What we have instead are these words to begin

How long, Lord, must I call for help,

but you do not listen?

Habakkuk 1:2

This chapter has two complaints from Habakkuk

The first asks God to respond

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.

Habakkuk 1:3

God responds with the plan to bring justice with the Babylonians

I am raising up the Babylonians,

that ruthless and impetuous people,

who sweep across the whole earth

to seize dwellings not their own.

Habakkuk 1:6

Lament at the end of this book gives way to praise

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 yet I will rejoice in the Lord

Habakkuk 3:17,18

Habakkuk acknowledges the suffering that awaits him

In spite of what is to come, he will still follow God

This is at the heart of lament – we know what is wrong in the world but we still belong to God not matter how bad things are

  • God answers

One of the important points of this book is that God responds to Habakkuk

This is a key difference to the psalms where it is only the people speaking and not God

Because God responds and has a message for Habakkuk, it becomes prophecy

Maybe the next time you take your issues to God, you should have a pen and paper because God may respond to you like He did to Habakkuk

Habakkuk is to be commended for his faith

I will climb my watchtower and wait to see what the LORD will tell me to say and what answer He will give to my complaint.

Habakkuk 2:1 GNB

Habakkuk is expecting God to answer him

God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them

Matthew Henry

My Grandad was not healed of his stroke, even though many people prayed that he would be. There was a sense that God answered the prayers by allowing Grandad to continue living and praying for us and being a blessing to us.

Challenge: To take our complaints to God and wait for His response