Habakkuk Commentaries

 

 

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< Zephaniah <> Nahum >

 

The Twelve Minor Prophets
Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum
 Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi

 

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Multiple Commentaries on Habakkuk
C H Spurgeon on Habakkuk

 

Resources
Commentaries, Sermons, Illustrations, Devotionals
See disclaimer
Updated 12/17/13

HABAKKUK
("Embrace" or "Wrestle")
THE RIGHTEOUS LIVE BY FAITH
"From Worry to Worship"

(Title from Dr Warren Wiersbe)

HABAKKUK 1-2
WORRY

HABAKKUK 3
WORSHIP

Problems of Habakkuk
Hab 1:1 -2:20

Praise of Habakkuk
Hab 3:1-19

Opens in Gloom:
Begins with an
Interrogation Mark?

Closes in Glory:
Ends with an
Exclamation Mark!
Faith Troubled:
A Wail
An Inquiry
Faith Triumphant:
A Song
An Affirmation
What is God Doing?
("Doubts")
Who God Is
("Shouts")
What is God Doing? Song of Salvation
Perplexity
of the Prophet
Hab 1:1-17
Perspicuity
of the Prophet
Hab 2:1-20
Pleasure
of the Prophet
Hab 3:1-19
Habakkuk Complains
Hab 1:1-17
God Replies
Hab 2:1-20
Habakkuk Sings
Hab 3:1-19
Watch and See Stand and See Kneel and See
Habakkuk
Troubled
Habakkuk
Taught
Habakkuk
Triumphant
The Prophet
Wondering &
Worrying
The Prophet
Watching &
Waiting
The Prophet
Worshiping &
Witnessing
Habakkuk's First
Question
Hab 1:1-4
God's First
Answer
Hab 1:5-11
Habakkuk's Second
Question
Hab 1:12-2:1
God's Second
Answer
Hab 2:2-2:20
Habakkuk's
Prayer
of Praise
Habakkuk Speaks:
Why Does God
not Punish
Wicked Judah?
God Speaks:
Judah
Will Be
Punished!
Habakkuk Speaks:
Why Will God use
Pagans to
Punish Judah?
God Speaks:
Yes
Pagans Will
Punish Judah!
Word of Praise 1-15
Words of fear & faith Hab 3:16-19
Prophet Speaks to Judah
ca 607BC

• Favorite Verses: Hab 2:4 - This verse was the heart of God's answer to the prophets questions and the foundation of the doctrine of justification by faith. As Martin Luther was crawling on his knees up the Scala Scanta in Rome, the Spirit used this passage to pierce this burdened monk's heart of stone and set in motion the Reformation! Contrary to what some teach, salvation in the Old Testament has always been by faith and never by good works, keeping the law or performing sacrifices. Hab 2:4 is quoted with different emphasis 3x in the NT: Ro 1:17-note, Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38-note.

 

Hab 2:14. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." (Maranatha! 1Cor 16:22)


Hab 2:20 "But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.” (Amen!)

 

Hab 3:2 "LORD, I have heard the report about Thee and I fear. O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy." (I like the NLT paraphrase "I have heard all about you, LORD, and I am filled with awe by the amazing things you have done. In this time of our deep need, begin again to help us, as you did in years gone by. Show us your power to save us. And in your anger, remember your mercy.")

 

• Key Words: Why? (4x/3v - Hab 1:3, 13, 14); Faith (1x - Hab 2:4) Save/Salvation (yesha root of Yeshua = Jehovah saves = Jesus) (5x - Hab 1:2, 3:8, 3:13 = 2x, Hab 3:18); Selah (a call to pause and be silent that the soul may “listen to the divine illuming” (3x - Hab 3:3, 9, 13 - elsewhere only in Psalms). Of course, LORD/God is always a key word (12x)! See related discussion - key words  and marking key words


• Quotations/Allusions in NT: Hab 1:5>Acts 13:41; Hab 2:3>2Pe 3:9-
note; Heb 10:37-38; Hab 2:4>Ro 1:17 (emphasis on "righteous"), Gal 3:11 (emphasis on "live"), Heb 10:37-38 (emphasis on "faith") - "It takes three books to explain and apply this one verse!" (Wiersbe); Hab 2:18-19>1Cor 12:2; Hab 3:17>Lk 13:6.


• Habakkuk - Means "embrace" or "one who strongly enfolds." He has been referred to by some as the "doubting Thomas" of the Old Testament, but in reality he is better called "the prophet of faith!" Yes, he had questions for God, but in the end, He trusted God and it caused him to worship God with one of the most magnificent descriptions of the glory of God in all the Bible (In reverential awe be still and know that He is God as you read - Hab 3:3-15)!

 

Martin Luther: “Habakkuk signifies an embracer, or one who embraces another, takes him into his arms. He embraces his people and takes them to his arms, i.e., he comforts them and holds them up, as one embraces a weeping child, to quiet it with the assurance that, if God wills, it shall soon be better.”


• Notable Contrasts:
 

(1) Hab 1:1 "How long shall I cry?" and Hab 3:18 "I will exult...I will rejoice!", which demonstrates the radical impact/transformation that can occur when one has a personal encounter with Living God and "live by faith" (Hab 2:4) trusting in Him no matter what might transpire.

 

(2) Observe also the striking contrast (and transformation) from the complaint "You do not save" (Hab 1:2) to "The God of my salvation" again reflecting Habakkuk's "close encounter of the God kind!" We can expect similar transformative effects as we seek His face in His Word and His Spirit uses those times to transform us from glory to glory. PTL! Amen! (2Cor 3:18-note)


• Habakkuk is the only OT book consisting entirely of a dialogue between God and a man. Other prophetic books consist mainly of a record of the prophets' message (preaching) to the people.


• Habakkuk and Jeremiah - These were God's last prophets to Judah before He brought about the invasion by Babylon = Judah's last warning & explanation of why God was using the idolatrous nation of Babylon. Habakkuk gave the "preview of coming attractions" while Jeremiah filled in the details of the "full feature."

 

G. Campbell Morgan says that when Habakkuk looked at his circumstances he was perplexed (Habakkuk 1:3), but when he waited for God and listened to Him, he sang one of the greatest praise songs in the Bible (Habakkuk 3:17-19).

 

J Vernon McGee: "Habakkuk is a big WHY? Why God permits evil is a question that every thoughtful mind has faced. The book is the answer to the question: Will God straighten out the injustice of the world? This book answers the question: Is God doing anything about the wrongs of the world? This book says that He is."

 

Ryrie describes Habakkuk as "a theodicy, a defense of God's goodness and power in view of the existence of evil."

 

Habakkuk moves from burden to blessing, from wonder/worry to worship, from restlessness to rest, from a focus on the problem with God to a focus on the Person of God, and from a complaint to consolation. God turns sighing into singing if we (like Habakkuk) take time to wait before Him in prayer and listen to His Word.

 

Habakkuk goes from worrying to watching and waiting to worshiping! Habakkuk is a changed man! Instead of complaining, he is praising the Lord.

Christ in All the Scriptures (A M Hodgkin) - Habakkuk is the prophet of faith. His name means “Embrace,” or “one who strongly enfolds.” Through all the mystery of sin and its apparent success, through the mystery of suffering and of God’s judgments, he lays hold of God’s promises, and clings to Him with faith triumphant.


He tells us nothing about himself except that he was a prophet, and we may infer from Habakkuk 3, which is evidently a Psalm for the Temple, that he had to do with arranging its services, and was probably a Levite, as he speaks of “my stringed instruments.”


Habakkuk opens his prophecy with the cry, “O Lord, how long shall I cry and Thou wilt not hear?” as he looks round upon the iniquity which prevailed in Judah.


The Lord’s answer is that He is about to bring a punishment upon this sinful nation in the form of the terrible Chaldean invasion.
The Chaldeans were noted for their cavalry (Habakkuk 1:8); they were noted also for scoffing at their captive kings (Habakkuk 1:10). Jeremiah’s prophecy was fulfilled that Jehoiakim should be “buried with the burial of an ass,” that is, “cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem,” as food for the vultures (Jeremiah 22:19).


Having seen in vision the destruction of his people, Habakkuk again brings his questionings in confidence to God (Habakkuk 1:12): “Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord, my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die.”


“The Just shall live by Faith.” Habakkuk’s next question is, How is it that He who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity will execute His vengeance upon Judah by a people even worse than themselves? He then resolves to wait for God’s answer to his complaint.


As he waits upon God on his watch-tower God speaks again, and tells him to make plain, so that he that runs may read it, this glorious message for all time, “The just shall live by faith.” “This motto became the center of Paul’s teaching (Roman 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrew 10:38). In Romans just is the emphatic word; in Galatians faith; in Hebrews live” (Dr. Pierson). Habakkuk speaks of an immediate vision, but he looks on to the end. “At the end it shall speak ... though it tarry wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” In Hebrews the quotation, “The just shall live by faith,” is preceded by the words, “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” “Surely I come quickly” are our Savior’s last words in the Bible.


Then God shows Habakkuk that the Chaldeans will be destroyed themselves for their iniquity. God had used Babylon as His hammer to punish the nations, and He was about to break the hammer itself in pieces (Jeremiah 50:23). And He points forward to the Day of Christ when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).


Habakkuk’s Prayer. Then follows the prayer of Habakkuk. His description of the majesty of God is as fine as any in the whole Bible. He describes the wonderful history of God’s dealings with His people in bringing them into Canaan. Here again there are foreshadowings of a greater salvation yet to come, as we catch glimpses of the working of Him who is the brightness of His Father’s glory.


Three times in this prayer he uses the exclamation Selah, found elsewhere only in the Psalms. It is a call to pause and be silent that the soul may “listen to the divine illuming,” as in Habakkuk 2:20, “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him,” and the words of Habakkuk 2:1, “I will watch to see what He will say unto me.” How much we need this silence of soul before the Lord in these days, that we may give Him time to speak to us, that we may “listen to the divine illuming.” As we saw in studying the book of Job, the rays of light are vocal, but it needs a finely-tuned ear indeed to hear them.


Though the prophet trembles at the revelations of the Lord, yet he stays himself upon Him in quiet confidence, knowing that he can rest in the day of trouble. He sums up in the finest poetical language the failure of everything of earth, and when all nature and every seeming hope is dead, he adds, “Yet will I rejoice, as with exulting joy, in the God of my salvation.” It is almost the name of Jesus, for Jesus is ‘Jehovah—Salvation,” or “Jehovah is Salvation,” whence the words are here rendered, even by a Jew, “in God the Author of my redemption,” and by Augustine, “In God my Jesus.”

The Old Testament Presents...Reflections of Christ by Paul R. Van Gorder Excerpt: THE PROPHET'S QUESTION--The keynote of faith rings throughout the entire prophecy. That resounding theme is introduced as follows: ''...the just shall live by his faith'' (Hab 2:4). This follows a dialog between Habakkuk and God, in which the prophet complained that God had permitted him to see only the iniquity of Israel (Hab 1:3). When Habakkuk learned that God was going to send the Chaldeans upon Judah as punishment for their sins, he challenged God. He asked why the Lord would use the heathen nation, when they were so much more wicked than God's covenant people. In fact, Habakkuk raised one of the common questions of the ages, ''Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity; why lookest Thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest Thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?'' (Hab 1:13). Much the same attitude was expressed by the psalmist when he wrote, ''For I was envious of the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked'' (Psalm 73:3). You and I must admit that the earth is filled with glaring inequity. The wicked do seem to prosper while the righteous suffer. And I'm sure you've asked the same question, perhaps in a different way. (Read more)

Timeline of Habakkuk

BC
722: Northern Kingdom of Israel (10 tribes) falls & is exiled to Assyria
627
: Jeremiah begins his prophetic ministry
621
: Rediscovery of Book of Law which had been lost in House of God! Josiah's reformation (but not lasting revival)

612: Fall of Nineveh, capital of Assyria

609: Death of godly King Josiah

607: Habakkuk begins his prophetic ministry

605: Nebuchadnezzar defeats Pharaoh Necho of Egypt at Battle of Carchemish = "the turning point of world history"

605: First invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon; Daniel taken captive
597: Second invasion of Judah by Babylon; Ezekiel and 10,000 taken captive
592: Ezekiel begins his prophetic ministry to Babylonian exiles
586: Fall of Jerusalem, Destruction of Temple
538: Exiles return from Babylon to Judah (relatively small number return)

Habakkuk Commentary
Verse by Verse Commentary
Literal, conservative in depth interpretation
Written September, 2012
On Site

Habakkuk 1:1 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:2 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:3 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:4 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:5 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:6 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:7 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:8 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:9 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:10 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:11 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:12 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:13 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:14 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:15 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:16 Commentary
Habakkuk 1:17 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:2 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:3 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:4 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:5 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:6 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:7 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:8 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:9 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:10 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:11 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:12 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:13 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:14 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:15 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:16 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:17 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:18 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:19 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:20 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:1 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:3 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:4 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:5 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:6 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:7 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:8 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:9 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:10 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:11 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:12 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:13 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:14 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:15 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:16 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:17 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:18 Commentary
Habakkuk 3:19 Commentary

Paul Apple
Commentary on Habakkuk
Well done commentary
Recommended

In Wrath Remember Mercy...
The Just Shall Live by Faith (Pdf)

Barnes Notes on the Bible
Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note) - Not always literal
Introduction

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Joseph Benson
Habakkuk Commentary
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note) - Not always literal
Introduction

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Bible.org Resources
Resources that Reference Habakkuk
on the largest Bible Study Resource on the Web
Hint: Do a "control + find" when you open a "hit" and search Hab as well as the full name.
This may take some practice but is guaranteed to yield some "gems"!
Recommended Resource
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Habakkuk 1 Resources

Habakkuk 2 Resources

Habakkuk 3 Resources

Verse

 

Biblical Art
Related to Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1-3
Habakkuk Thumbnail Pictures

Biblical Illustrator
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note) - Not always literal
Especially in prophetic passages
Anecdotes, illustrations, etc

Introduction

Habakkuk 1 Sermons, Illustrations, Outlines, Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Sermons, Illustrations, Outlines, Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Sermons, Illustrations, Outlines, Commentary

John Calvin
Habakkuk Commentary
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Adam Clarke
Habakkuk Commentary
critique

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Thomas Constable
Expository Commentary Notes on Habakkuk
Literal, conservative

HINT: Click here to Scroll Bible text synchronized with Constable's notes. Very useful feature! 

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

W A Criswell
Sermon Notes
Habakkuk
Literal, conservative

Habakkuk 1-2 Seeking an Answer from God
Habakkuk 3:1-2 This is Revival
Habakkuk 3:1-2 The Day of Revival
Habakkuk 3:2 A Revival of the Word of God

Cambridge Commentary
Commentary on Nahum
by A B Davidson, LLD, DD
Professor of Hebrew, Edinburgh
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Introduction
Habakkuk 1:1-2
Habakkuk 1:3-4
Habakkuk 1:5-7
Habakkuk 1:6-9
Habakkuk 1:10-11
Habakkuk 1:12
Habakkuk 1:13
Habakkuk 1:14-16
Habakkuk 1:17
Habakkuk 2:1
Habakkuk 2:2-4
Habakkuk 2:5
Habakkuk 2:6
Habakkuk 2:7-8
Habakkuk 2:9-11
Habakkuk 2:12-15
Habakkuk 2:16-17
Habakkuk 2:18-19

Habakkuk 2:20
Habakkuk 3 Overview
Habakkuk 3:1-2
Habakkuk 3:3
Habakkuk 3:4-6
Habakkuk 3:7
Habakkuk 3:8-9
Habakkuk 3:10-11
Habakkuk 3:12-13
Habakkuk 3:14-15
Habakkuk 3:16
Habakkuk 3:17-18
Habakkuk 3:19

Don Fortner
Sermons on Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 Habakkuk - The Wonder of Divine Providence

Habakkuk 1:1-2:1 Light for Times of Great Darkness

Habakkuk 1:3 The Sight of Sin

Habakkuk 1:5 In Wrath Mercy Remembered
Habakkuk 1:5 A Work You will not Believe
Habakkuk 1:5 Behold
Habakkuk 1:11-3:6 Five Stark Contrasts
Habakkuk 1:12-17 Doesn't God Care

Habakkuk 1:12-13 Eternality, Sovereignty and Holiness
Habakkuk 1:13 The Only Explanation
Habakkuk 1:13 Facts, Questions, and Conclusions

Habakkuk 2:1-4 Faith Is
Habakkuk 2:1-4 From Fear to Faith
Habakkuk 2:1-4 Watching to See
Habakkuk 2:2-4 Watch, Write, Wait, Believe
Habakkuk 2:3 When Its Time
Habakkuk 2:3-4 What is Faith
Habakkuk 2:4 The Just Shall Live by Faith
Habakkuk 2:4 The Greatest Evil and the Greatest Gift
Habakkuk 2:4-20 The Mystery of Babylon

Habakkuk 2:4-20 Babylon's Woes

Habakkuk 2:4-20 Five Woes or False Prophets Exposed and Condemned

Habakkuk 2:5-20 Out of Tragedy Triumph
Habakkuk 2:8 What's Wrong with My Religion

Habakkuk 2:12-14 The Knowledge of the Glory

Habakkuk 2:18-20 The Solitariness of God

Habakkuk 2:18-19 Useless Religion
Habakkuk 3:1-19 Revive Remember Rejoice
Habakkuk 3:1-2 A Terrified Prophet

Habakkuk 3:3-16 Three Great Wonders of Grace

David Fairchild
Sermons on Habakkuk
Kaleo Church

Introduction to Habakkuk
Habakkuk 1:1-12 - Habakkuk's Burden - How Long? Why?
Habakkuk 1:12-2:4 Habakkuk's Second Complaint
Habakkuk 2:5-20  Pride and Greed (Self Worship)
Habakkuk 3:1-19 Habakkuk's Cry for Revival

Arnold Fruchtenbaum
Israelology - Commentary on Israel
Note: This resource is listed because it has numerous
commentary notes that relate to the OT Prophetic Books

Israelology: Part 1 of 6  Introduction: Definition of Terms
Israelology: Part 2 of 6  Israel Present (Note: Article begins on Page 2)
Israelology: Part 3 of 6  Israel Present (Continued)
Israelology: Part 4 of 6 - Israel Future (Part One)
Israelology: Part 5 of 6 - Israel Future (Part Two)

Sample Excerpt from Part 5/6: "Israel, in the period of the Messianic Kingdom, is a major theme of the Old Testament prophets and the high point of their prophecy....Every writing prophet (other than Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Malachi) had something to say about it."

Israelology: Part 6 of 6 Other Relevant Topics - Illustrations of Israel (including marriage)

Arno C Gaebelein
Commentary on Habakkuk
The Annotated Bible
Conservative, Literal Interpretation, Recommended
The Following Titles also serve as an Excellent "Outline" of Habakkuk

Introduction
The Message

The Judgment of Judah Through the Chaldeans Announced

Habakkuk 1:1-4 The Prophet's Cry to Jehovah
Habakkuk 1:5-11 The Answer
Habakkuk 1:12-17 The Prophet's Plea

Ungodliness of the Chaldeans and Their Destruction

Habakkuk 2:1-4 The Waiting Prophet and the Message He Received
Habakkuk 2:5-20 The Five-Fold Woe Upon the Chaldeans

The Vision of the Coming of the Lord

Habakkuk 3:1-2 The Prophet's Prayer
Habakkuk 3:3-15 The Coming of the Lord for Judgment and Redemption
Habakkuk 3:16-19 The Effect Upon the Prophet

 

Sample Comment from Gaebelein on Habakkuk 3:3-15-see also related in depth notes: It has been said, “The poet describes a great storm, advancing from the south, the region of Paran and Sinai. In the dark storm clouds he conceives Jehovah to be concealed; the lightning flashes which illumine heaven and earth disclose glimpses of the dazzling brightness immediately about him; the earth quakes, the hills sink, and the neighboring desert tribes look on in dismay” (Canon Driver). Thus higher criticism, reduces one of the sublimest inspired prophecies, concerning the future appearing of the Lord, to the level of poetry. The great description of His coming must be linked with similar prophecies Deut 33:22; Ps 18:8-50; Ps 18:33-50; Ps 68:8; Ps 68:34; Ps 77:17-20. The great ode, cast in the form of a Psalm, begins with the statement that God cometh from Teman and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Moses in his prophetic blessing also begins with a similar declaration. “The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined from Mount Paran, and He came with the thousands of His saints (angels); from His right hand went a fiery law for them.” Just as He was manifested when He had redeemed them out of Egypt, and constituted them His Kingdom people at Sinai Ex 19:1-25, so will He appear again to deliver the remnant of His people from the dominion of the world-power, and judge them as He judged Egypt. He comes from the direction of Edom, for Teman is the southern district of Idumea, while Paran is more southward. Isaiah also beheld him advancing from the same direction. “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah (See discussion on Bozrah as it relates to the Second Coming of the Messiah- scroll down for map)?” Isaiah 63:1-19. It is unfortunate that the Authorized Version has “God came from Teman,” when it is “God cometh,” not a past but a future event. After this opening statement the first Sela is put. This means to pause and to lift up. We are to pause and meditate, and then to lift up our hearts and voices in praise and thanksgiving. It is found seventy-one times in the Psalms and three times in this chapter of Habakkuk.

 

John Gill
Commentary on Habakkuk
Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note):
Does not always interpret the Scripture
literally (
see example)

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

David Guzik
Commentary on Habakkuk
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Robert Hawker
Commentary on Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk  Introduction

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Ebenezer Henderson
Commentary on Habakkuk
from "The Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets"
(originally published 1845)
General Preface

James Rosscup writes "This 1858 work supplies much help on matters of the text, word meaning, resolving some problems, etc. Some have found it one of the most contributive sources in getting at what a text means." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

Introduction
Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Matthew Henry
Commentary on Habakkuk
Be cautious (Acts 17:11-note): Does not always interpret the Scripture literally
and sometimes replaces
Israel with the Church (note)
(Click example of his interpretative approach which is often allegorical) (Or another example)

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Homiletical Commentary
on the Minor prophets
Commentary on Habakkuk
Multiple Contributors (Spurgeon, Luther, Gurnall, Trapp, etc)
Homiletics , Illustrations
Interesting Resource
Be a Berean - Not Always Literal
Introduction

Habakkuk 1 Commentary - Critical Notes
Habakkuk 1:2 The Importunate Prayer
Habakkuk 1:2-4 The Lamentable Sight
Habakkuk 1:5 The Wonderful Work
Habakkuk 1:5-10 The Wonderful Work Accomplished
Habakkuk 1:8 Evening Wolves
Habakkuk 1:11, 16 Success Abused
Habakkuk 1:13 God's Character A Ground of Consolation in Distress
Habakkuk 1:13 God Does Not Approve of Sin
Habakkuk 1:13-17 The Enigmas of Life
Habakkuk 1 Illustrations to Chapter 1

 

Habakkuk 2 Commentary - Critical Notes
Habakkuk 2:1, 2 The Waiting Servant
Habakkuk 2:2, 3 The Appointed Vision
Habakkuk 2:4 The Great Contrast or the Believer and the Unbeliever
Habakkuk 2:5 Wine A Deceiver
Habakkuk 2:6-8 The Sin of the Avaricious
Habakkuk 2:9-11 The Evil Covetousness
Habakkuk 2:12-14 The City of Blood
Habakkuk 2:14 A Glorious Day
Habakkuk 2:15-17 The Three Cups
Habakkuk 2:18, 19 The Unprofitableness of Idolatry
Habakkuk 2:20 The Divine Court

Habakkuk 2 Illustrations to Chapter 2

 

Habakkuk 3 Commentary - Critical Notes
Habakkuk 3:2 God's Voice and Human Fear
Habakkuk 3:2 The Revival of God's Work
Habakkuk 3:3-6 God's Glory in Days of Old
Habakkuk 3:4 The Hidings of Divine Power
Habakkuk 3:6, 7 The Measured Inheritance
Habakkuk 3:8-11 The Chariots of Salvation
Habakkuk 3:12-15 The Royal March
Habakkuk 3:16-18 A Song of Triumph
Habakkuk 3:19 God All-Sufficiency in Trouble
Habakkuk 3 Illustrations to Chapter 3

Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Habakkuk
1871

 

Note: JFB is one of the more literal, conservative older commentaries (prior to 1900). Sample excerpt of eschatological (prophetic, apocalyptic) passage Zechariah 14:2 - "gather all nations, etc. — The prophecy seems literal (compare Joel 3:2). If Antichrist be the leader of the nations, it seems inconsistent with the statement that he will at this time be sitting in the temple as God at Jerusalem (2Thessalonians 2:4); thus Antichrist outside would be made to besiege Antichrist within the city. But difficulties do not set aside revelations: the event will clear up seeming difficulties (Ed: Interesting statement!). Compare the complicated movements, Daniel 11:1-45-note." Comment on Zech 14:11 - "no more utter destruction — (Jer 31:40). Literally, “no more curse” (Rev 22:3-note; compare Malachi 4:6-note), for there will be no more sin. Temporal blessings and spiritual prosperity shall go together in the millennium: long life (Isaiah 65:20-22), peace (Isaiah 2:4-note), honor (Isaiah 60:14-16), righteous government (Isaiah 54:14; Isaiah 60:18). (Zechariah 14 - Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible)

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

H A Ironside
Commentary on Habakkuk
Conservative, Literal Interpretation
Best "devotional flavor" commentary on the Minor Prophets

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

S Lewis Johnson
Sermon/Commentary Notes on Habakkuk
Mp3, Pdf, MS Word, HTML
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Habakkuk 1:1-11 The Unconcern of God

Habakkuk 1:12-2:1 A Holy God and His Unholy Instrument

Habakkuk 2:2-30 The Just Shall Live by Faith

Habakkuk 3 God's Providence for the Fearful

Keil & Delitzsch
Commentary on the Old Testament
Habakkuk
See caveat regarding this commentary

Rosscup - This is the best older, overall treatment of a critical nature on the Old Testament Hebrew text verse by verse and is a good standard work to buy. The student can buy parts or the whole of this series. Sometimes it is evangelical, at other times liberal ideas enter...In prophecy it is amillennial. (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works).

Habakkuk - Intro
Habakkuk 1 - Chastisement of Judah Through the Chaldeans
Habakkuk 2 - Destruction of the Ungodly World Power
Habakkuk 3 - Prayer for Compassion in the Midst of Judgment

S R Driver
Commentary on Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Introduction
Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Paul Kretzmann
Commentary on Habakkuk
Lutheran Perspective
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Introduction
Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

David Legge
 Sermons on Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1:1-4 The God Bound Man of Burden
Habakkuk 1:5-11 Answer, Yes! But That One? No!"
Habakkuk 1:12-2:1 Watching and Waiting

Habakkuk 2:2-4 Doing it God's Way
Habakkuk 2:5-20 The Welcome Woes

Habakkuk 3:1-2 Revive Thy Work
Habakkuk 3:3-19 When God Works

Lange Commentary
 Habakkuk|
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Alexander Maclaren
Sermon on Habakkuk

Habakkuk 3:19 The Ideal Devout Life

John MacArthur
Sermons on Habakkuk
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Habakkuk 1:1-11 The Strangeness of God's Ways
Habakkuk 1:12-2:20 The Prophet's Perplexity 

Habakkuk 3:1-19 Praise the Lord Anyhow

Alan A. MacRae
Commentary on Habakkuk
Transcript of MacRae's Message on Habakkuk

Habakkuk, Lecture 1 Commentary
Habakkuk, Lecture 2 Commentary

J Vernon McGee
Thru the Bible
Commentary on Habakkuk

Mp3 Audio
Click to listen or
Right click and select "Save Target as"
Literal, futuristic interpretation
Recommended
Complete Commentary of Habakkuk on one zip file

Habakkuk - Introduction 
Habakkuk - The Writer

Habakkuk 1:1 Commentary
 
Habakkuk 1:2-4  Commentary

Habakkuk 1:5 Commentary
 
Habakkuk 1:6-8  Commentary

Habakkuk 1:9-11 Commentary

Habakkuk 1:12 Commentary

Habakkuk 1:13 Commentary

Habakkuk 1:14-17 Commentary

Habakkuk - Review
 
Habakkuk 2:1 Commentary
 
Habakkuk 2:2-3 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:4 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:5 Commentary 
Habakkuk 2:6-12 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:13-15 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:16-17 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:18-18 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:20 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:1-2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:3-6 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:7-10 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:11-15 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:16-17 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:18-19 Commentary

Miscellaneous Resources
Commentaries, Sermons, Devotionals
on Habakkuk

Enter Query below to search articles >30  conservative Theological Journals - An annual $50 fee (click here - lower monthly charge also available) is required to view the entire article but will give you access to literally thousands of conservative articles. Search by book You can also search by chapter like: John 1 or Gen. 2 You can also search by simple or complex references like: James 1:2 or Hebrews 1:1-3,6; 5:4

 

Grow your Faith with Habakkuk -- By Robert Spender

 

The Song of Habakkuk Part I -- By J. Ellwood Evans

The Song of Habakkuk Part II -- By J. Ellwood Evans

The Song of Habakkuk Part III -- By J. Ellwood Evans

 

“The Just Shall Live By Faith” Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:16-17 - Robert P. Martin

 

The Function of LXX Habakkuk 1:5 in the Book of Acts - Robert W. Wall

A Literary Look at Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah -- Richard Patterson

 

The Psalm of Habakkuk -- Richard D. Patterson

 

Habakkuk -- H. L. Ellison, Men Spake from God,  Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1958

 

Interpretive Challenges Relating to Habakkuk 24b -- George J. Zemek, Jr.

 

Prayer, Oracle And Theophany The Book Of Habakkuk - Michael E.W. Thompson

 

The Dead Sea Habakkuk Scroll - F F Bruce

 

Ugaritic Poetry And Habakkuk 3 - David Toshio Tsumura

 

The Laments of Habakkuk's Prophecy - J G Harris

 

'Trust in the Lord': Hezekiah, Kings and Isaiah, John W. Olley Tyndale Bulletin 50.1 (1999): 59-77.

 

The Function of LXX Habakkuk 1:5 in the Book of Acts, Robert W. Wall Bulletin for Biblical Research 10.2 (2000): 247-258.

 

Habakkuk: Challenger and Champion of Yahweh -- Nicole Ream

 

Hearing the Children’s Cries Commentary, Deconstruction, Ethics, and the Book of Habakkuk, R. Christopher Heard Semeia (1997) 75-89.

 

“The Righteous Live By Their Faith” In A Holy God Complementary Compositional Forces And Habakkuk’s Dialogue With The Lord - Ernst R. Wendland

 

The Translation of Romans 1:17 - A Basic Motif in Paulism - Wilber B Wallis - Habakkuk 2:4

 

Revival: A Solution or A Problem? The Definition of Revival in the Old Testament - Robert H. Lescelius

Online Journal Articles
The Prophets and the Promise - 433 Page Book W J Beecher
Habakkuk J G Bellet

Walter Kaiser-Preacher's Commentary (Micah through Malachi) - conservative, literal, futuristic- excellent for preaching - Rosscup on Kaiser: A careful evangelical gives contemporary outlines usable to pastors. He has occasional illustrations and serious explanation of the text. He is premillennial, as on Zechariah 14, and packs in much expositional help, relating it strategically to life. (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

James Montgomery Boice - conservative, literal, futuristic - excellent for preaching Rosscup comments: The large, two-column pages contain much good material on the relevance of the words for then and for now, dealing with such topics as love, repentance, and sincerity (Hosea 6). A prolonged contemplation of these pages and an application of their principles will produce substantial Christian growth. The author could improve the work by being more definite sometimes in specifying in what framework God will bless Israel in the future (e.g., Hosea 14).  Vagueness such as in Joel 2:1-11, where he says the invader is neither locusts nor a human army, is a drawback. Wordiness and wandering in his discussions is another shortcoming, as in using Joel 2:28 to take off into a long discussion of clericalism. He finds fulfillment of Joel 2:28 at Pentecost, yet it would help to point out some aspects that were (Rosscup)

Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah- Exegetical and Theological Exposition-New American Commentary- Kenneth L Barker and Waylon Bailey - conservative, literal, futuristic Review - In his review of this work, Hebrew scholar, Dr William Barrick, writes "“Based on my experience as a Bible translator . . . , I have often said, ‘If you want to discover how little you really know, become involved in translating all the books of the Bible from Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek into English or any other language.’ The same applies to writing a commentary (7).” With these words Barker introduces his masterfully written and eminently readable commentary on the Book of Micah (21-136). Every page drips with exegetical insights drawn from the original Hebrew text. Every section includes clear and practical applications for the modern Christian reader (69, 81-82, 115). The breadth of information is impressive: everything from hymns (134, 135) and historical anecdotes (82, 113, 131) to detailed grammatical and textual analyses of the Hebrew. Bailey’s more extensive contribution (commentaries on Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, 137-500) is equally impressive, informative, and readable. Barker and Bailey direct the reader to a wealth of resources by means of extensive footnotes. When pertinent to the reader’s understanding of the text, the commentators identify significant views and related arguments. Anyone studying these four minor prophets will benefit from this volume. (Click to read this excellent, lengthy review)

Exploring the Minor Prophets John Phillips - Rosscup on John Phillips - A respected popular expositor on a number of biblical books here has two introductory chapters, then a chapter of about 20–30 pp. on each prophet (50 on Zech.). Several charts aid readers, and a detailed outline runs before each exposition. The exposition is in general surveys of sections, at times taking a view on a main problem. In Hosea 1:2, he feels that God had Hosea marry an immoral woman but Phillips offers no help on the moral issue. Phillips is premillennial, seeing Israel’s future kingdom blessings as in the Millennium after Christ’s Second Coming (Hosea 3:5; Joel 3:14ff; Amos 9:15; Zeph. 3:9ff; Zech 2:10–13; 14:1–21). In Mal. 2:15 he has “one” refer to God making husband and wife into one, and in Mal 4:5 he thinks the Elijah will be fulfilled in one of the two witnesses in Rev 11:3-13-note. The work helps on broad coverage, and is quite readable for preachers, church teachers, students and lay people wanting a general devotional sweep. (Ibid)

Zephaniah (Nahum, Habakkuk) Commentary - Richard Patterson - essentially verse by verse (free online!) - Recommended - Rosscup says "This is an outstanding conservative, detailed work backed by scholarly awareness and expertise. Comments reflect fine-tuned ability in the Hebrew text, philology, exegesis, history, and literature. Patterson has premillennial convictions in the final verses of Zephaniah. He shows the shaky reasoning of critical arguments against the unity of Nahum, and defends unity of Nahum and Habakkuk. In a long Excursus he defends New Testament uses of Habakkuk 2:4-note (pp. 21–23), But some will doubt that he captures the significance of the picture of a hind in Habakkuk 3:19-note when he sees only swiftness ascending and gracefully gliding (262–63). But in most details he is excellent, and the work is well worth the cost and time. (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works)

Ligonier's Top 5 - Caveat Emptor! some are amillennial and not literal/futuristic

Book Review - Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah. Vol. 20 of The New American Commentary

Book Review - The Books of Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah - O Palmer Robertson

Book Review - The Message of Joel, Micah, and Habakkuk- Listening to the Voice of God David Prior

Old Testament Commentaries for Bible Expositors 1987-92 -James Rosscup

Rosscup Ranks Commentaries on Minor Prophets
Minor Prophets Overall Ranking by Rosscup

EXEGETICAL COMMENTARIES

1. T. Laetsch (Amill)
2. R.
Chisholm (Premill)
3. C. Bullock (Premill)
4. C. F. Keil/ F. Delitzsch (Amill)

 

EXPOSITIONAL COMMENTARIES

1. Bible Knowledge Commentary entries
2. C. Feinberg
3. J. Boice (Premill)
4. P. Fink (Premill)

 

DEVOTIONAL COMMENTARIES

1. H. A. Ironside
2. J. Phillips

 

HABAKKUK Overall Ranking by Rosscup

EXEGETICAL COMMENTARIES

1. R. Patterson
2. O. P. Robertson
3. W. Bailey

 

EXPOSITIONAL COMMENTARIES

1. J. N., Heflin
2. C. Feinberg
3. J. R. Blue (BKC)
4. C. Barber
5. R. Chisholm

 

DEVOTIONAL COMMENTARIES

1. D. M. Lloyd-Jones
2. J. M. Boice
3. J. Phillips
4. H. A. Ironside

Best Commentaries

Habakkuk Articles

Habakkuk in Holman Bible Dictionary
Habakkuk in Jewish Encyclopedia

Habakkuk, Theology of - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

Dictionary Articles
The Commanding Importance of the Prophetic Scriptures Charles Feinberg
Habakkuk, Theology of Paul Ferguson

Dr Gene Getz gives brief (5-15') pithy, practical videos by  which present powerful principles for life application! Instructions: Click Holman Christian Standard Bible Study Bible. Type in the Scripture and click Video Player Tool in right column for Dr Getz's practical points related to that Scripture. Here are the titles of the available videos...

Habakkuk 1:1-17 - Unanswered Questions - 11 minutes, 33 seconds
Habakkuk 2:1-20 - Saved by Faith - 13 minutes, 22 seconds
Habakkuk 3:1-19 - Living by Faith - 7 minutes, 23 seconds

Gene Getz

Holman Christian Standard Bible -Study Bible (HCSB Study Bible) - Enter Scripture. Study notes synch with Scripture. Mouse over underlined words pops up the Greek or Hebrew word. Activate this feature by selecting the "Alpha & Omega" Icon on bar above the Scripture. The HCSB is a very well done, literal translation.

Note: This excellent resource is free as of 12/18/13

Holman Publishing
Habakkuk - An Overview Grace Institute

The Minor Prophets
Excerpt: THEME AND PURPOSE: The theme of this prophecy flows out of Habakkuk’s perplexity over the coming invasion of the wicked Babylonians. It concerns the problems of his faith in the face of two apparent difficulties: (1) Why did God permit the increasing evil in Judah to go unpunished (Hab 1:2-4)? And how could a Holy God (Hab 1:13) use sinful nations like Babylon as His source of judgment (Hab 1:12-2:1)? Habakkuk grapples with these difficulties which are solved in the light of God’s continuing revelation, and the prophet closes in a psalm of joyous trust. The book is thus a theodicy, a defense of God’s goodness and power in view of the problem of evil.
KEY WORD: Two words are key not because of their repetition but because of the content of the book. One is “why” as Habakkuk struggled with the issues here and the other is “faith” as declared in 2:4, “the just shall live by faith.” (
Read full discussion)

J. Hampton Keathley, III

Precept Helps on Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk Lessons 1-6

Louisiana Precept

Habakkuk - Introduction
Excerpt: Interpretive Challenges - The queries of the prophet represent some of the most fundamental questions in all of life, with the answers providing crucial foundation stones on which to build a proper understanding of God’s character and His sovereign ways in history. The core of his message lies in the call to trust God (Hab 2:4-note), “the just shall live by his faith.” The NT references ascribe unusual importance theologically to Habakkuk. The writer of Hebrews quotes Hab. 2:4 to amplify the believer’s need to remain strong and faithful in the midst of affliction and trials (Heb. 10:38-note). The apostle Paul, on the other hand, employs the verse twice (Ro. 1:17-note; Gal. 3:11) to accentuate the doctrine of justification by faith. There need not be any interpretive conflict, however, for the emphasis in both Habakkuk and the NT references goes beyond the act of faith to include the continuity of faith. Faith is not a one-time act, but a way of life. The true believer, declared righteous by God, will habitually persevere in faith throughout all his life (cf. Col 1:22,23-note; Heb 3:12–14-note). He will trust the sovereign God who only does what is right.

Separate Article Addresses the Question: When were the Bible books written?

John MacArthur

Nahum and Habakkuk
Nahum and Habakkuk - Introductory Notes, Outlines
Excerpt: The book opens in gloom and closes in glory. It begins with an interrogation mark and closes with an exclamation point. Habakkuk is a big "WHY?" Why God permits evil is a question that every thoughtful mind has faced. The book is the answer to the question: Will God straighten out the injustice of the world? The book answers the question: Is God doing anything about the wrongs in the world? This book says that He is!

J Vernon McGee

An Argument of the Book of Habakkuk

Excerpt: Habakkuk’s Statement of Confidence--Trust in Yahweh Regardless: Even though Habakkuk was frightened when he heard of the Lord’s work, and knew that God’s time of ultimate victory might be long in coming, he vowed to wait for the judgment to come and rejoice and exalt in the Lord even without visible signs of His blessing because He will enable him to endure hardship Hab 3:16-19a

1. Fear of the Lord’s Coming Judgment: Hab 3:16a

2. One Must Wait for the Lord’s Time of Judgment: Hab 3:16b

3. Vow of Unwavering Confidence--to Wait and Rejoice in the Lord Who Will Enable him to Endure Hardship: Hab 3:17-19

E. Concluding Musical Notation: Hab 3:19b

 

An Introduction to the Book of Habakkuk

Excerpt PURPOSES:

A. To proclaim that Yahweh, Judah’s sovereign warrior, will appropriately judge the evil of Judah by bringing the Babylonians against them
B. To proclaim that Yahweh, as the protector of His people, will sustain those who trust in Him
C. To proclaim that Yahweh, as the protector of His people, will deliver Israel from the Babylonians some day
D. To proclaim that Yahweh, as Judah’s sovereign warrior, will one day judge the unjust Babylonians

David Malick
Habakkuk 1:16 Worship of Weapons
Habakkuk 2:11 The Use of Wood in Walls
Habakkuk 2:20 Silence
Habakkuk 3:9 The Naked Bow
Manners and Customs
James Freeman
The Prophet's Watchword: Day of the LORD Richard Mayhue

Outline Studies in the Books of the Old Testament

William Moorehead

Living Messages of Habakkuk - devotional/practical thoughts make good fodder for sermon preparation!

G Campbell Morgan
The Prophet Habakkuk (Overview) Arend Remmers

Habakkuk Overview (See also excellent summary chart of Habakkuk)
Excerpt: What's the big idea? As the prophet Habakkuk stood in Jerusalem and pondered the state of his nation, Judah, he must have been dumbfounded. So much evil thrived, completely in the open, but God remained strangely silent. Where was He? How long would He allow this mess to continue? Not long, according to the Lord (Habakkuk 2:2–3-
note). Another nation, the Babylonians, would come and execute justice on the Lord’s behalf. The wicked in Judah, those who thought they would get away with their evil deeds forever, were soon to be punished. The book of Habakkuk offers us a picture of a prideful people being humbled, while the righteous live by faith in God (Hab 2:4-note). It reminds us that while God may seem silent and uninvolved in our world, He always has a plan to deal with evil and always works out justice . . . eventually. The example of the prophet Habakkuk encourages believers to wait on the Lord, expecting that He will indeed work out all things for our good (Romans 8:28). How do I apply this? Habakkuk asked God the kind of question that so many of us have pondered, “Why do You make me see iniquity, and cause me to look on wickedness? Yes, destruction and violence are before me. Strife exists and contention arises.” (Habakkuk 1:3-note). We have all seen the evidence of evil in our lives. We’ve all been touched by it. And we bear scars at various stages of healing. Surrounded by evil as if we are trapped in a dark prison cell of our own making, we are often downtrodden by our poor choices and our fallen world. However, the book of Habakkuk reminds us that no place is too dark and no wall too thick for God’s grace to penetrate in a powerful and life-affirming way.

Charles R Swindoll

Analysis of Habakkuk - Well Done

James Van Dine

SERMONS AND COMMENTARIES
ON HABAKKUK

Minor Prophets Study Guide - Questions/Lessons Learned
Excerpt: Lessons from Habakkuk...

1: How many times have we complained to the Lord that He is not hurrying fast enough to accomplish what we think must be done now?
2: “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
3: Many times God is much at work and we are just not aware of what He is doing.
4: “Habakkuk, you have been so busy doing what you thought was My work that you have forgotten to be checking in for signals.”
5: Waiting and trusting reflect my submission and obedience.
6: Looking at circumstances alone can often cause us to form a wrong opinion.

Don Anderson

Habakkuk Sermon Notes
Excerpt: What do you do when life takes a turn for the worse? What do you do when it seems like God is silent? What do you do when life doesn’t make sense?

Rich Cathers
Habakkuk - The Man Who Rejoiced In Spite Of An Invasion Steven Cole
2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Lamentations (Consequences of Rebellion) - Jack Colburn
Habakkuk Series (Part I) - Mp3
Habakkuk Series (Part II) - Mp3
David Dean
Habakkuk: The Just Shall Live By Faith Bob Deffinbaugh
Be a Berean - Not always a literal interpretation. Caveat Emptor!
Habakkuk - Commentary for English Readers

Habakkuk 1 Commentary for English Readers
Habakkuk 2 Commentary for English Readers
Habakkuk 3 Commentary for English Readers
C J Ellicott
Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 Await God's Timing Explore the Bible
Habakkuk - 4 Part Audio Sermon Series Jack Fish
Habakkuk Sermon - In Wrath Remember Mercy Don Fortner
Habakkuk: When Life Leaves You Confused Bruce Goettsche
Habakkuk Sermons - Most are Mp3 Gospel Coalition
Concise Bible Commentary on Habakkuk James Gray
Sermon- The Just Live By Faith - Habakkuk Kirk Greenfield
Habakkuk Study  Notes Joe Guglielmo
Habakkuk Sermons - select "Minor Prophets" for sermons below...
Habakkuk 1:2-4; 3:17-19 Where Was God?
Habakkuk 2:4 The Just Shall Live by Faith
Habakkuk 3:17-18 Why I Believe God Is Good (Theodicy)
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Rejoice in the Lord Anyway
Habakkuk 3:17-19 When God Fails
David Holwick
Habakkuk The Perspective of Faith Danny Hall
Notes on the Prophecy of Habakkuk H A Ironside
Habakkuk: Critical and Exegetical Commentary

Excerpt: Warren Wiersbe entitles his book on Habakkuk as From Worry to Worship. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls his, “From Fear to Faith.” While Habakkuk begins by wondering or worrying about the world around him and God’s seeming indifference, he ends by worshipping God.1 When he heard who was coming 3:16 says he trembled, but he certainly ends up expressing faith by the end of the book. What they are trying to capture in the titles of their books is the progression Habakkuk makes from questioning God to trusting God.

Hampton Keathley IV
Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on Habakkuk Keil and Delitzsch

When were the Bible books written?

John MacArthur
Preface to Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah
Habakkuk: Verse by Verse Commentary - Highly Recommended
Richard D. Patterson
The Messianic Hope of Israel - See his discussion "The Witness of Habakkuk" (page 7) Max I Reich
Habakkuk The Just Shall Live by Faith John Piper
Habakkuk: Lord How Long? - Background Introduction
Habakkuk: Pattern For Prayer
Habakkuk: The Lord God is My Strength
Prayer and the Prophet Habakkuk
Wil Pounds

Micah; Nahum; Habakkuk - Understanding the Anger of God - download lesson 1 of inductive study on these 3 OT books - see page 44 for MAP locating the cities of Habakkuk's time
See Related Resources: Inductive Bible study, Observation, Interpretation, Application

Precept Ministries
The Prophet Habakkuk Commentary Henri Rossier
Habakkuk Commentary Hamilton Smith
Habakkuk: Critical & Exegetical Commentary J M P Smith, et al
Zephaniah, Joel, Obadiah, and Habakkuk - Well Done John Stevenson

Habakkuk - Who wrote the book? Where are we in history? What's the big idea? How do we apply this book to our life?

Excerpt: How do I apply this? Habakkuk asked God the kind of question that so many of us have pondered, “Why do you force me to look at evil, / stare trouble in the face day after day?” (Habakkuk 1:3 MSG). We have all seen the evidence of evil in our lives. We’ve all been touched by it. And we bear scars at various stages of healing. Surrounded by evil as if we are trapped in a dark prison cell of our own making, we are often downtrodden by our poor choices and our fallen world. However, the book of Habakkuk reminds us that no place is too dark and no wall too thick for God’s grace to penetrate in a powerful and life-affirming way.

Charles R Swindoll

HABAKKUK
BY CHAPTER

Habakkuk 1 Commentary - in depth, verse by verse On Site
Habakkuk John Kitto
Habakkuk - Talking To God When Life Makes No Sense J Mike Minnix
Habakkuk 1:1-12 The Burden of Habakkuk Joseph Parker
Habakkuk 1:1-4 The Heart of a Godly Leader Jerry Watts
Habakkuk 1:1-2:4 Brian Bell
Habakkuk 1:1-5 When God Becomes Irrational Michael Catt
Habakkuk 1:3 Life's Biggest Question and God's Answer J Vernon McGee
Habakkuk 1:2 The Silence of God - Select Sermon Notes, then "Habakkuk" Chuck Smith
Habakkuk 1-2 When God Balances His Books John Stevenson
Habakkuk 1:12 Perseverance John MacDuff
Habakkuk 1:1-11 The Strangeness of God's Ways
Habakkuk 1:12-2:20 The Prophet's Perplexity 
John MacArthur
Habakkuk 1:1-11 An Earnest Heart Richard Bray
Habakkuk 1:12-17 A Perplexed and Puzzled Prophet Michael Catt
Habakkuk 1-2 Seeking an Answer from God W A Criswell

HABAKKUK
CHAPTER 2

Habakkuk 2 Commentary - in depth, verse by verse On Site
Habakkuk 2 Expositional Notes C H Spurgeon
Habakkuk 2:1 Habakkuk on His Watchtower (from Teach Us to Pray) Alexander Whyte
Habakkuk 2:1 The Place of Victory - Select Sermon Notes, then "Habakkuk" Chuck Smith
Habakkuk 2:1-4 Faith's Answer to Divine Reproofs John Owen
Habakkuk 2:1-4 The Vision and the Appointment George H Warnock
Habakkuk 2:1-4 The Problem with Good Advice is a Short Memory Michael Catt
Habakkuk 2:1-9 On the Look Out Joseph Parker
Habakkuk 2:3 The Passion of Patience Oswald Chambers
Habakkuk 2:4 Life by Faith James Hastings
Habakkuk 2:4 Interpretative Challenges George Zemek
Habakkuk 2:4 Living By Faith Wil Pounds
Habakkuk 2:4 Faith Charles Kingsley
Habakkuk 2:4 The Life of Faith Andrew Murray
Habakkuk 2:5-3:19 Brian Bell
Habakkuk 2:17-19 A Testimony of God's Trustworthiness Rick Lance

HABAKKUK
CHAPTER
3

Habakkuk 3 Commentary - in depth, verse by verse On Site
Habakkuk 3:1-2 This is Revival
Habakkuk 3:1-2 The Day of Revival
Habakkuk 3:2 A Revival of the Word of God

Revival: A Solution or A Problem? The Definition of Revival in the OT - R H Lescelius

W A Criswell
Habakkuk 3:1-16 An Attitude of Praise Richard Bray
Habakkuk 3:1-19 Praise the Lord Anyhow John MacArthur
Habakkuk 3:3-15 The Psalm of Habakkuk Richard Patterson
Habakkuk 3:17 Let's Suppose Wil Pounds
Habakkuk 3:17-18 Jubilation in Desolation G Campbell Morgan
Habakkuk 3:17-19 The Choice to Rejoice Richard Bray
Habakkuk 3:17 Dancing Faith - Select Sermon Notes, then "Habakkuk"
Habakkuk 3:17b Intro

Habakkuk 3:17c Intro
Habakkuk 3:17c Jumping for Joy
Chuck Smith
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Walk by Faith! Joe Guglielmo
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Thanksgiving Resolve! Greg Allen
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Thank God Anyhow Alan Carr

F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily
Devotional Commentary
on Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1:12 Devotional
Habakkuk 2:1 Devotional
Habakkuk 3:2 Devotional

Jeff Miller
Habakkuk -Finding Stability in an Unstable World
Audio and Powerpoint
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Habakkuk 1:1-4 When God Ignores Our Circumstances)

Habakkuk 1:5-11 When God Blesses Those Who Curse Us)

Habakkuk 1:12 – 2:1 When God’s Answer Raises Questions

Habakkuk 2:2-20 When God Comes to Our Rescue

Habakkuk 3:1-15 When Will We Ever Learn

Habakkuk 3:16-19 When God Alone Is Sufficient

Henry Morris
Defender's Study Bible Notes
Conservative, Literal Interpretation
Recommended

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Sample Comment - Habakkuk 3:18 "Yet I will rejoice" - The scene here returns to the desolate years just ahead, during the coming exile. In view of God’s glorious promises for the future, however, there is always cause for rejoicing in the Lord.

Net Bible Notes
Habakkuk Commentary Notes
Recommended

Recommended: NETBible notes are in the right panel. You can also select the tab for "Constable's Notes." As you scroll the Bible text in the left panel, the notes are synchronized and will scroll to the same passage. Also has a nice parallel Bible feature (see Tab = "Parallel"). Select a different Bible translation (see Tab = "Bible"). Open Greek/Hebrew tab. Mouse over shows corresponding English word and has short definition at bottom of right panel.

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

 

Sample Comment - Habakkuk 3:13 "Your anointed one" - Heb “anointed one.” In light of the parallelism with “your people” in the preceding line this could refer to Israel, but elsewhere the Lord’s anointed one is always an individual. The Davidic king (Ed: The future "Davidic King" is the Messiah - cf Rev 19:16-note) is the more likely referent here. (Ed: Anointed = mashiach 04899 = see interesting discussion from an orthodox Jewish perspective concerning Mashiach- The Messiah "Belief in the eventual coming of the mashiach is a basic and fundamental part of traditional Judaism.")

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary
Commentary on Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Our Daily Bread
Devotionals on Habakkuk

Excellent Sermon and teaching illustrations
Radio Bible Class

Habakkuk 1:1-4 The Bible's School of Prayer
Habakkuk 1:1-4 The Secret Of Joy
Habakkuk 1:12-2:4 Waiting For God
Habakkuk 1:12-2:3 - God’s Delays
Habakkuk 1:13 Hiding My Face
Habakkuk 2:1-8 Begin With God
Habakkuk 2:1-14  God Still Rules
Habakkuk 2:3 Obedience to the Heavenly Vision
Habakkuk 2:4 Only One Option
Habakkuk 2:14 Our Only Hope
Habakkuk 2:15-20 Quiet Time
Habakkuk 2:20 The Beauty Of Silence
Habakkuk 2:20 Our God Is Marching On
Habakkuk 3:18-19 Faith That Works
Habakkuk 3:18 The Choice To Rejoice
Habakkuk 3:14-19 Joy—Even In Poverty
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Can We Rejoice?
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Undeserved Blessings
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Always Thankful
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Above The Circumstances
Habakkuk 3:17-19 The Smile Of Joy
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Undeserved Blessings
Habakkuk 3:17-19 God is Good
Habakkuk 3:17-18 The Secret Of Joy
Habakkuk 3:17-18 Counterfeit Happiness
Habakkuk 3:18 Yet I Will Rejoice
Habakkuk 3:19 Fast Feet

Joseph Parker
Peoples Commentary
Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1:1-12 The Burden of Habakkuk
Habakkuk 2:1-9 On the Look Out

Richard Patterson
 An Exegetical Commentary on Habakkuk
Conservative, Literal Interpretation
Highly Recommended!

Preface to Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah
Habakkuk Exegetical Commentary

Peter Pett
Commentary on Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Matthew Poole
Commentary on Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1 Commentary

Habakkuk 2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Pulpit Commentary
Habakkuk Commentary
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Introduction
Index to Homilies
Habakkuk 1 Commentary (scroll down for Homilies)
Habakkuk 2 Commentary (scroll down for Homilies)
Habakkuk 3 Commentary (scroll down for Homilies)

Edward B Pusey
Commentary on Habakkuk
The Minor Prophets
(originally published 1860)
General Introduction

James Rosscup writes "This work originally appeared in 1860. The present publication is set up in two columns to the page with the text of the Authorized Version reproduced at the top. Scripture references, Hebrew words, and other citations are relegated to the bottom of the page. The work is detailed and analytical in nature. Introduction, background and explanation of the Hebrew are quite helpful. Pusey holds to the grammatical-historical type of interpretation until he gets into sections dealing with the future of Israel, and here Israel becomes the church in the amillennial vein." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works or Logos Format)

Introduction
Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Don Robinson
Sermon Notes
on Habakkuk
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Habakkuk 1-2 Disappointment With God

Habakkuk 2:4 How to Live By Faith

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Unconditional Thanksgiving

Rob Salvato
Commentary Notes
on Habakkuk
Conservative, Literal Interpretation
Often has nice sermon illustrations

Habakkuk 1-1-16 Wrestling With God

Habakkuk 2-1-3 Lord Give Me A Vision

Habakkuk 2-4 The Just Shall Live By Faith

Habakkuk 2-4-20 Pride Goes Before Destruction

Habakkuk 3-1-19 Beholding His Glory

C I Scofield
Commentary Notes
on Habakkuk
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

Introduction
Habakkuk 1
Habakkuk 2
Habakkuk 3

Sermon Bible Commentary
Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Charles Simeon
Sermon on Habakkuk
Horae Homileticae
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

NOTE: If you are not familiar with the great saint Charles Simeon see Dr John Piper's discussion of Simeon's life - you will want to read Simeon's sermons after meeting him! - click Brothers We Must Not Mind a Little Suffering (Mp3 even better)

Habakkuk 1:13 The Holiness of God
Habakkuk 2:3 Our Duty in Reference to the Promises
Habakkuk 2:4 Faith and Unbelief Contrasted
Habakkuk 2:20 God Greatly to be Feared
Habakkuk 3:2 A Revival Desired

Habakkuk 3:17, 18 The Christian's Boast

Chuck Smith
Sermon Notes on Habakkuk
Calvary Chapel
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

NOTE: On each of the following click Sermon Notes, then click Habakkuk, then the specific title

Habakkuk 1:2 When God is Silent
Habakkuk 2:1-4 The Place of Victory
Habakkuk 3:17-19 Dancing Faith
Habakkuk 3:17-18
Habakkuk 3:17-18
Habakkuk 3:17-18 Jumping For Joy

George A Smith
Commentary on Habakkuk
The Expositor's Bible
1903
Preface
The Book of the Twelve
The Prophet in Early Israel
The Eighth Century in Israel
Influence of Assyria Upon Prophecy
The Seventh Century in Israel
The Early Years of Josiah (639-625): Jeremiah and Zephaniah
The Rest of the Century (625-586): The Fall of Nineveh; Nahum and Habakkuk

James Rosscup writes "Though old this is well-written and often cited, with many good statements on spiritual truths. Users will find much that is worthwhile, and sometimes may disagree, as when he sees the Jonah account as allegorical (Ed: See Tony Garland's article on the Rise of Allegorical Interpretation)." (Commentaries for Biblical Expositors: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Works or Logos Format)

Introduction
Habakkuk 1:1-2:4 The Prophet As Skeptic
Habakkuk 2:5-20 Tyranny is Suicide
Habakkuk 3 In the Midst of the Years

Speaker's Commentary
Commentary on Habakkuk
Indexed by Chapter and Verse
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note) - Not always literal

Habakkuk - Introduction 
Habakkuk 1:1-3 Commentary 

Habakkuk 1:4-5  Commentary
Habakkuk 1:5 Explanatory Note

Habakkuk 1:6-8  Commentary
Habakkuk 1:9 Explanatory Note

Habakkuk 1:9-11 Commentary

Habakkuk 1:12-14 Commentary

Habakkuk 1:15-16 Commentary

Habakkuk 1:11 Explanatory Note

Habakkuk 2:1-3 Commentary 

Habakkuk 2:4-5 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:4 Explanatory Note

Habakkuk 2:6-9 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:6 Explanatory Note

Habakkuk 2:10-13 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:14-17 Commentary

Habakkuk 2:18-20 Commentary
Habakkuk 2:17 Explanatory Note

Habakkuk 3:1-2 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:3-4 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:5-8 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:9-11 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:9 Explanatory Note

Habakkuk 3:12-15 Commentary

Habakkuk 3:18-19 Commentary

C H Spurgeon
Devotionals from
Morning and Evening
Faith's Checkbook

Habakkuk 1:8 (Morning and Evening)
Habakkuk 2:3 In God's Time (Faith's Checkbook)
Habakkuk 3:6 (Morning and Evening)
Habakkuk 3:17-18 (Daily Help)
Habakkuk 3:19 Surefootedness (Faith's Checkbook)

C H Spurgeon
All of His Sermons on Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1:3 The Sight of Iniquity
Habakkuk 2:1-4 Watching to See
Habakkuk 2:1-4 Sermon Notes - Watching, Waiting, Writing
Habakkuk 2:1-11 Expository Notes
Habakkuk 2:4  Luther Sermon at the Tabernacle
Habakkuk 2:4 Pride the Destroyer
Habakkuk 2:4 Sermon Notes - Pride the Destroyer
Habakkuk 2:4 Faith: Life
Habakkuk 2:4 Sermon Notes - Faith: Life
Habakkuk 3:2 Revival Work
Habakkuk 3:2 Message from God to His Church & People
Habakkuk 3:2 Spiritual Revival, the Need of the Church
Habakkuk 3:2 The Middle Passage

Ray Stedman
Conservative, Literal Interpretation

God Answers: Nahum, Habakkuk
Habakkuk: History in God's Hands

Joseph Sutcliffe
Habakkuk Commentary
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note) - Not always literal

Introduction
Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Geoff Thomas
Habakkuk

Habakkuk 1:1-11 God's ways, mysterious, misunderstood yet sure
Habakkuk 1:12-2:1 I will stand at my watch
Habakkuk 2:2-4 The just shall live by faith
Habakkuk 2:4-17 God taunts His enemies and fills the Earth with His Glory
Habakkuk 2:18-20 Can men's idols give them guidance?

Habakkuk 3:1-16 In wrath remember mercy
Habakkuk 3:17-19 The sovereign Lord is my strength

Today in the Word
Moody Bible Institute

Habakkuk 1:2 Devotional
Habakkuk 1:13 Devotional

Habakkuk 2:4-5 Devotional
Habakkuk 3:1-19 Devotional

John Trapp Commentary
Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Daniel Whedon Commentary
Habakkuk
Caveat: Be an Acts 17:11 Berean (note):
Not always literal, especially on prophetic passages

Habakkuk 1 Commentary
Habakkuk 2 Commentary
Habakkuk 3 Commentary

Valley Bible Church

Habakkuk 1:1-11 Q & A With God - Part 1
Habakkuk 1:12-2:20 Q & A with God - Part 2

Habakkuk 3:1-19 Q & A with God - Part 3 - A Prayer of Praise

 

Habakkuk Devotionals
Our Daily Bread
Today in the Word

Habakkuk 1:1-4
The Secret Of Joy
Read: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 3:17-19

Though the fig tree may not blossom...yet I will rejoice in the Lord -- Habakkuk 3:17-18

One of the shortest books in the Old Testament is the book of Habakkuk. In its three brief chapters we see an amazing transformation in the prophet's outlook on life. His opening words express depths of despair, but at the close of the book he has risen to heights of joy.

What caused this remarkable change? Why did Habakkuk begin with a complaint and end with a song of praise? The answer lies in three verses in chapter 2. In addition to God's message of judgment on the wicked, the Almighty told the troubled prophet, "The just shall live by his faith" (Hab 2:4). He also promised that someday the earth would "be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab 2:14). Finally, He assured him that "the Lord is in His holy temple" (Hab 2:20). These wonderful truths were just what Habakkuk needed to lift him out of his deep depression. By fixing his eyes on God, he rose above his discouraging circumstances and found a source of lasting joy in the Lord.

Like the prophet, we too must walk by faith and look forward to that glorious time when Jesus will return to earth to set up His kingdom of peace and righteousness. Maintaining our confidence in Him is the secret of true joy! --R W De Haan (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Rejoice in Christ the Lord, again
The Spirit speaks the word;
And faith takes up the happy strain:
Our joy is in the Lord. --Anon.

To improve your outlook, keep looking up

Habakkuk 1:1-4
The Bible's School of Prayer

To call God and us unequal partners is a laughable understatement. And yet by inviting us to do kingdom work on earth, God has indeed set up a kind of odd-couple alliance. God delegates work to human beings so that we do history together, so to speak. Clearly, the partnership has one dominant partner—something like an alliance between Microsoft and a high school programmer.

We know well what happens when human beings form unequal alliances: the dominant partner tends to throw his weight around and the subordinate mostly keeps quiet. But God, who has no reason to be threatened by us, invites a steady and honest flow of communication.

I sometimes wonder why God places such a high value on honesty in our prayers, even to the extent of enduring unjust outbursts. I am startled to see how many biblical prayers seem ill-tempered. Jeremiah griped about unfairness (Jer 20:7, 8, 9, 10); Habakkuk accused God of deafness (Hab 1:2); Job conceded, “What profit do we have if we pray to Him?” (Job 21:15). The Bible teaches us to pray with blistering honesty.

God wants us to come to Him with our complaints. If we march through life pretending to smile while inside we bleed, we dishonor the relationship. — Philip Yancey
(Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Give Him each perplexing problem,
All your needs to Him make known;
Bring to Him your daily burdens—
Never carry them alone! —Adams

The best thermometer of your spiritual temperature
is the intensity of your prayer. —Spurgeon

Habakkuk 1:1-2:4
Only One Option
If you were to ask several people to draw a crooked line on a piece of paper, no two lines would be identical. There is a lesson in this: There are many ways to be crooked, but only one way to be straight.

The Lord tells us that the righteous person has only one option—to “live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). In the chapter prior to this declaration from the Lord, the prophet Habakkuk had complained about the violence and injustice around him. It seemed as if the wicked were swallowing up the righteous (1:13).

God responded to Habakkuk by saying that His people were to be “just” and were to live by faith. They were not to be like the one who is “proud” and “not upright” (2:4). A proud and self-sufficient person will rationalize his faults and imperfections. He doesn’t want to admit that he needs God. His ways are crooked.

Wickedness seems to prevail in our world. God urges us to live our lives in faith, taking to heart His assurance to Habakkuk that there will be a day of reckoning for the wicked.

The only way to please God now and to be ready for that day of reckoning is to live by faith.— by Albert Lee

Lord, grant me grace throughout this day
To walk the straight and narrow way,
To do whatever in Thy sight
Is good and perfect, just and right. —Huisman

The only right way is the straight and narrow way.

Habakkuk 1:2
Job 24:1-25

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? - Habakkuk 1:2

TODAY IN THE WORD
An old saying declares that “out of sight” is “out of mind”—people do not concern themselves with what they cannot see. In our case, however, it is the fact that we lose sight of God that sometimes causes us to think that He doesn't have us in mind. Our circumstances don't always immediately reveal God's purpose. This is especially true when these circumstances appear to favor the wicked. The prophet Habakkuk, who uttered the complaint in today's key verse, wrestled with this problem as he watched the ruthless Babylonians literally get away with murder.

The prophet's question was essentially the same as Job's query in today's reading. In essence, they both asked, “God, if you are as good and just as we know you are, why don't you do something?” Job wanted to know when God would finally set the time for judgment. In exasperation, he lists a variety of situations in which the “bad guys” appear to be winning. Job's question was not without ulterior motives. He wondered why such tragedies had befallen him, despite his righteous behavior, when others who blatantly ignored God's righteous standard seemed to go free. The prophet Habakkuk described the social and political climate of his day and wondered why God would tolerate such wrongs. The answer for both men was not a comfortable one.

In Job's case, the answer was silence. God does not respond to Job's questions until the end of the book. Even then, He does not explain Himself. For Habakkuk, God outlined His plan but warned: “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” (Hab. 1:5). Paul quoted this verse while preaching in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch as a caution against the danger of unbelief (see Acts 13:13-52). Faith recognizes that God is working out His plan according to His own timetable. We know that a day is coming when both the righteous and the unjust will be held accountable for their actions.

TODAY ALONG THE WAY- Today's passage and key verse remind us of the need to look at our circumstances through the lens of faith. Not only will those who lack faith have trouble seeing God's hand in the midst of their circumstances, they would fail to grasp His plan, even if He told them. We have an advantage that both Job and Habakkuk did not. We possess the completed Scriptures. The Old and New Testament both warn of a coming day of judgment. Learn more about it by looking up the term judgment using a concordance or Bible software. 
(Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Habakkuk 1:1-4
Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? - Habakkuk 1:3
TODAY IN THE WORD
The “problem of evil” is a philosophical dilemma that has troubled believers throughout history. It goes something like this: If God is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, how can evil, suffering, disaster, and death exist in the world? If He is all-loving, wouldn't He want to end these things? And if He is all-knowing, wouldn't He know how? And if He is all-powerful, wouldn't He be able to do so? If He really is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, how can we explain these things? But if He is not all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, how can He be God?

The problem of evil is not only an issue raised by unbelievers, for we find people wrestling with it in the pages of Scripture as well. The prophet Habakkuk was one of them. He was a contemporary of Jeremiah whose book seems to have been written just before 605 b.c., the date of Babylon's first invasion of Judah (see Jeremiah 46). This short book feels more like a psalm than a prophecy because it revolves around a dialogue with God rather than a message for the nation. Habakkuk's name means “embracer,” which various commentators have interpreted to indicate his love for God, his love for the people, or God's love for him (a man embraced by God).

Habakkuk poses his essential question early in this book: Why does evil go unpunished? (v. 3). From a human perspective, God appears to be not listening, not paying attention, or not doing anything (v. 2). The prophet feels forced to watch things that God should not be allowing or tolerating. The sin he sees is that of his own people, and like the psalmists his words reflect anger, grief, and a desire for justice. Yet justice is not being done and is even being perverted or twisted out of shape (v. 4). Is God paralyzed? How can people sow sin and not reap judgment? Morally and spiritually, things are the opposite of what they should be.
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
The perversion of justice deeply bothered the prophet Habakkuk, and it should bother us as well. One suggestion for making a difference against contemporary social injustice is to purchase a worship CD entitled CompassionArt: Creating Freedom from Poverty. Some of the biggest names in Christian songwriting participated in a spiritual retreat, during which they wrote the songs for this album, with 100 percent of the royalties going to help those in need.

Habakkuk 1:2–3
TODAY IN THE WORD

Medical experts warn that repressed anger can cause headaches, nausea, or other health problems. Perhaps because of this, there are many who encourage people to stop bottling up their anger and to let it all out. The problem with this approach, however, is that anger can be very destructive--both to the angry person and to those around. So what are we to do with our anger, especially as Christians? Job can help us out here Job 6:1-13; 7:11-21

Habakkuk 1:5-11
I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. - Habakkuk 1:5
TODAY IN THE WORD
Conrad Maier-Sogheg made a lot of money, enough to deposit $10,000 per day to his bank account in Georgia. How did an unemployed man manage this? It turns out he was literally making money, printing his own bills from inside a rented storage unit. He used laser templates, special paper, and a variety of chemicals, including baby powder, to create his counterfeits. Said one police officer: “It's the best counterfeit scheme I have seen in my law enforcement career. The bills look and feel real.” How was he caught? He failed to pay the rent on his storage unit, and when workers went to empty it out they discovered the scam.

“You may be sure that your sin will find you out,” the Bible warns (Num. 32:23). Justice is inevitable. That's exactly how God answered Habakkuk's first question. He told him that justice was about to be done, that the nation's punishment for sin and covenant-breaking was imminent. It would not be allowed to continue indefinitely. This was not a prophecy of the distant future, for God told the prophet it would happen “in your days” (v. 5).

What was He going to do? He planned to raise up the Babylonians and use them to conquer Judah. This is stunning in at least two ways—spiritually, in that a pagan nation would be used to judge God's people, and politically, in that the mighty Assyrians were about to be displaced as a world superpower. The imagery relates mostly to hunting and prey. Like a leopard or vulture, the Babylonians would descend upon their hapless victims. They would be as irresistible as a desert wind, defeating even those seemingly secure in fortified cities. But God was under no illusion about the Babylonians. He knew they were idolators. He knew they would be “ruthless” and portrayed them as typical conquerors (vv. 6-7), that is, as proud lovers of power and domination who would be dreaded by others and “whose own strength is their god” (v. 11).
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
When reading biblical prophecy, it is helpful to have handy a timeline or chronology of events. Otherwise, we can get lost in the various historical episodes that are presented as past, present, and future from the prophet's perspective. If your Bible has such a timeline among its resources, we encourage you to study it along with this month's devotionals. If not, or if you're looking for something more in-depth, you can obtain a reference such as The Chronology of the Old Testament (book and CD-ROM), by Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones.

Habakkuk 1:12-2:1
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? - Habakkuk 1:13
TODAY IN THE WORD
No doubt you have heard of the Swiss Army knife. But have you heard of a model called the Giant? It weighs two pounds, costs about $720, is assembled by hand in Switzerland, and contains 85 different devices, including such exotic tools as a cigar cutter, fish-hook disgorger, and golf-club face cleaner. The Giant incorporates every feature of every other model of Swiss Army knife and is mainly intended for collectors. Although rather impractical to carry daily, it is an impressive reminder of what a useful tool a Swiss Army knife can be.

Tools were on Habakkuk's mind in today's reading. God had just told him that Babylon would be His tool to straighten out the injustices described in the prophet's first question. But this answer created new problems, so Habakkuk had a second question: How can evil be an instrument of justice? Or more specifically, if the scales of justice for Judah were to be balanced by an arrogant and godless conqueror, how would those scales be balanced for Babylon? He believed firmly that God was eternal, sovereign, and absolutely holy (vv. 12-13a). How, then, could He do what He had just told him He would do? Wasn't it inconsistent with His divine nature? Wasn't the cure worse than the disease?

Our key verse today sums up the “problem of evil.” Habakkuk was reeling. Spiritually and morally, everything seemed out of order or distorted. It was as though he had asked a question about fish, and in response had been told justice would be done on the fish by means of a wicked fisherman (vv. 14-16). That made things even worse! Would such an evil and unjust state of affairs be allowed to endure? “Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?” (v. 17). Habakkuk vowed to watch and wait for God's answer to this urgent and difficult question (2:1).
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
The book of Habakkuk has already taught us at least one truth that might bring a sigh of relief—you can ask God any question. He's big enough for your toughest ones. He won't be stumped or baffled. The kind of answer you want isn't guaranteed, of course, but prophets and psalmists have provided many examples of crying out deep, honest, painful questions to God. If you've been holding back, write a spiritual journal entry or a letter to God that expresses your most perplexing questions.

Habakkuk 1:12
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

 Art not Thou from everlasting, O Lord my God? Thou diest not. Habakkuk 1:12

Note the attributes of God, which are enumerated in these words. His eternity—He is from everlasting; He is the Holy One—of purer eyes than to behold evil; the Almighty—the Rock. Is it not wonderful that mortals should be permitted to put the possessive pronoun before these wonderful words, and claim this glorious God for themselves! My God; mine Holy One.

But the most remarkable is the reading suggested above by the words, “Thou diest not”; “He only hath immortality.” Time cannot lay its hand upon his nature, or death dissolve it. His hair is white, but not with the whiteness of decay, but of unutterable purity. He need not tremble at the summons of man’s great last foe. Unchangeable! The same yesterday, today, and for ever! The death of death! The destruction of the grave! He dies not.

All this is true; but it is true also that in the person of his Eternal Son He died. He laid down his life, though none took it from Him. He bowed his glorious nature beneath the yoke of death. Because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, He took part in the same, that through death He might destroy death. Though He ever liveth, yet He became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.

There are many mysteries like those at which the prophet hints. He holds his peace whilst the wicked swallows up the man that is more righteous than himself. It is the problem of all ages why God should permit it; but whatever be the explanation, it cannot be because He has vacated the throne of the universe, or that his arm is weakened by disease. From everlasting to everlasting He is God.

Habakkuk 1:12-2:3
God's Delays
Waiting is hard for me. I want answers now. Postponements perplex me; deferrals daunt me. I’m baffled by God’s delays, wondering why and when. “How long, O Lord?”

The prophet Habakkuk wanted answers as well, but God chose to take His time. “I will stand my watch . . . to see what [God] will say to me,” Habakkuk wrote (2:1). “The vision is yet for an appointed time,” God replied. “Wait for it; because it will surely come” (v.3).

Faith never gives up. It knows that despite appearances, all is well. It can wait without signs or significant indications that God is at work, because it is sure of Him. “Each delay is perfectly fine, for we are within the safe hands of God,” said Madame Guyon (1648–1717).

We too must learn to view each delay as if it were “perfectly fine.” Postponements are reasons to pray rather than grow anxious, impatient, and annoyed. They’re opportunities for God to build those imperishable but hard-to-acquire qualities of humility, patience, serenity, and strength. God never says, “Wait awhile,” unless He is planning to do something in our situation—or in us. He waits to be gracious.

So take heart! If God’s answer tarries, “Wait for it; because it will surely come.”— by David H. Roper

Soon shall the morning gild
The dark horizon rim,
Thy heart’s desire shall be fulfilled—
“Wait patiently for Him.” —Havergal

God stretches our patience to enlarge our soul.

Habakkuk 1:12-2:4
Waiting For God

They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for His counsel (Psalm 106:13).

A friend found it difficult to be patient during a long hospital stay. She was a Christian, but she feared that some sins from her past were too bad to be forgiven. I assured her that when she confessed them to God He forgave her. And her doctors reassured her that her depression would lift and she would get better. Still she found it difficult to wait for the light to break through.

Habakkuk was perplexed and impatient too. First he complained to God about the evils of the Israelites (Hab 1:2, 3, 4). The Lord responded by saying that He would use the Babylonians to scourge them (Hab 1:5-11). Then the prophet raised a new problem—Babylon was more wicked than Israel (Hab 1:12-17). Though frustrated, Habakkuk didn't act rashly. Instead, he showed reverence for God by declaring that he would wait for Him to make things clear. When God spoke to Habakkuk again, He assured the prophet that He would give him the answer. He com­manded him to write it clearly so that he could proclaim it speedily. But He also told Habakkuk that he would have to wait awhile before seeing all the wrongs made right. This delay was a trying experience for Habakkuk, but the answer eventually came, and at just the right time.

When waiting for God to work, we must exercise patience and steadfast faith, leaving matters in His hands. God will reward us for our patience—but not too soon nor too late. —H. V. Lugt (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Patience is a virtue that carries a lot of wait.

Habakkuk 1:13

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. - Habakkuk 1:13

TODAY IN THE WORD - The story is told that during the Revolutionary War, a minister named Peter Miller had a neighbor who hated and ridiculed him. But when his unbelieving neighbor was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death, Miller walked to the camp of General George Washington to plead for the man’s life. Washington listened to the plea, but said he didn’t feel he should pardon Miller’s friend. “My friend!” answered Miller. “He’s not my friend. He’s my worst enemy.” Washington was so surprised by Miller’s actions on behalf of an enemy that he granted the pardon. Miller took the pardon to the condemned man, and his life was spared.

That’s a wonderful story of grace, and it applies to the life of Manasseh, the longest-serving and most evil king to rule over Judah. It’s hard to believe that Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah, about whom the Bible says there was no king before or after him who did so well at doing right.

It’s safe to say that no king before or after Manasseh did as much evil as he did. Not only was this man Hezekiah’s son, but he ruled with his father as co-regent for about ten years before taking the throne.

Manasseh ruled for a total of fifty-five years, and he did irreparable damage to the nation. God said that because of all the sins Manasseh committed against Him, He would punish Judah with the same standard He had used against Israel and the dynasty of Ahab. Judah would also be sent into exile (2Kings 21:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15).

The extent and variety of Manasseh’s sins are stunning. He undid Hezekiah’s reforms, and offered his own sons as sacrifices. If there was any form of idolatry to be practiced, or any evil person to be consulted, Manasseh did it. He even set up an idol in God’s temple in Jerusalem. It’s no wonder Manasseh and his people paid no attention when God tried to speak to them (v. 10).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY- It’s hard to imagine that it took as much of God’s grace to save “ordinary” people like us as it did to forgive Manasseh. 
(Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Habakkuk 1:13
Hiding My Face
I’m a news junkie. I like knowing what’s going on in the world. But sometimes the atrocities of life make me feel as if I’m a kid watching a scary movie. I don’t want to see what happens. I want to turn away to avoid watching.

God reacts to evil in a similar way. Years ago, He warned the Israelites that He would turn away from them if they turned toward evil (Deut. 31:18). They did, and He did (Ezek. 39:24).

The prophet Habakkuk had not forsaken God, but he suffered along with those who had. “Why do You show me iniquity,” he asked the Lord, “and cause me to see trouble?” (Hab. 1:3).

God’s response to His confused prophet indicates that even when evil obscures the face of God, our inability to see Him does not mean He is uninvolved. God said, “Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you” (Hab 1:5). God would judge Judah, but He would also judge the invading Babylonians for their evil (see Hab. 2). And through it all, “The just shall live by his faith” (2:4).

When world events cause you to despair, turn off the news and turn to Scripture. The end of the story has been written by our holy God. Evil will not prevail.— Julie Ackerman Link

Lord, we praise You for Your displays of power in the
past and Your promises of victory in the future,
for they replace our fear of the world
with confidence in You. Amen.

Don’t despair because of evil; God will have the last word.
 

Habakkuk 2:1
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

I will look forth to see what He will speak with me. Habakkuk 2:1

The prophet had made his complaint in the preceding chapter; and now he climbs the watch-tower, much as the watchman did who waited for tidings of the battle between Joab and Absalom. He looks forth for God’s answer. This, to say the least, is respectful in our dealings with the Almighty. Too often we ask questions, and do not wait for replies; shoot prayer-arrows into the air, without stopping to see where they alight, or what quarry they strike. We are in too great a hurry, to take time and trouble for climbing the watch-tower, and awaiting the Divine reply.

God still speaks to the waiting soul. Sometimes, there is a direct answer to its perplexity; at others, there is the assurance that the vision is yet for the appointed time, but that it is hastening towards the end. O long-waiting soul, dost thou hear those words? Thou hast been standing long upon the watch-tower. Hope has almost died; but the vision is panting in its haste to be fulfilled. If it tarry, wait for it; because it is already on the way. Every throb of the pendulum brings it nearer. The express train is hurrying towards thee, with its precious freight.

How often God’s answers come, and find us gone! We have waited for awhile, and, thinking there was no answer, we have gone our way; but as we have turned the first corner the post has come in. God’s ships touch at our wharves; but there is no one to unload them. His letters lie at the office; but no one calls for them. It is not enough to direct your prayer unto God; look up, and look out, until the blessing alights on your head. When we ask what is according to his will, we receive while we pray.

Habakkuk 2:1-8
Begin With God

"Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4).

Speaking to the graduating seniors of New Zealand Bible College, Brian Smith said, "How well I recall the remark of a senior missionary in India when he was reflecting on the phenomenon we call Hinduism. When you see its temples and hear the throb of its drums and smell the fragrance of its incense, and realize the tremendous hold it has upon the land, your heart sinks. And the consolation I have is this: This too, this mighty construction of religion and faith and worship, will disappear, like all those systems of the past. Where now are the ancient gods of the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and the Romans? Where now Artemis, "great goddess of the Ephesians, she whom Asia and the whole world worships"? These are no more.

As Habakkuk wrote about the powerful Chaldean armies (Hab 1:6), he no doubt despaired over their seeming invincibility. A similar feeling must have swept over European Christians in the 1940s when they saw their homelands overtaken by the Nazis. And today the same is surely true of believers in atheistic countries. But for those who trust God, there is always hope. That's why the prophet Habakkuk affirmed that the just shall live by faith. God's people have the assurance that they will triumph—if not here, then in eternity.

Ungodly philosophies and false religions seem overwhelming at times, but they will not last. God has promised that righteousness will prevail. —D. C. Egner (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

That which does not begin with God ends in failure.

Habakkuk 2:1-14
God Still Rules

As the year 1999 came to a close, great leaders of the century were remembered, including Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt. During World War II, they led Great Britain and the United States to defeat Nazism and Fascism.

Did you know that both men nearly lost their lives before the war began? In December 1931, Churchill was struck by a car as he crossed Fifth Avenue in New York City. In Miami in December 1933, an assassin’s bullet barely missed Roosevelt and killed the man standing beside him.

Both leaders could have died, but they survived. Why? I believe God wanted these two men alive to lead their respective nations to victory over the enemy.

The Bible teaches that God causes nations and their leaders to rise and fall (Daniel 2:21; 4:32-35; 5:21). When Habakkuk complained that it didn’t seem right for God to use wicked Babylon to discipline Israel, the Lord assured the prophet that this did not mean evil would triumph. God was still in control and would one day bring about perfect justice (Habakkuk 2:13-14).

We too can be sure that our times are in God’s hands. No matter what may happen in this world, God still rules!— by David C. Egner

This is my Father's world—
Oh, let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet. —Babcock

God's sovereignty overrules any calamity.

Habakkuk 2:2-11
Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin! - Habakkuk 2:9
TODAY IN THE WORD
A skeptic once asked a minister if he really believed the Bible. Yes, he was told. “Is there anything you can't explain?” was the next question. Yes again—the minister even showed him the question marks in the margins of his Bible. Surprised, the skeptic asked, “What do you do with all the things you can't explain?” “Very simple,” the minister replied. “I do the same thing I'm doing with this fish I'm eating. I eat the meat and push all the bones to the side of the plate, and then let any fool that wants to choke over them.”

Our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the ways of our infinite God. Even so, He communicates and reveals Himself in ways that we can understand. So God answered Habakkuk's second question, at least as far as the prophet could understand the answer. As we see today and tomorrow, He assured him that the evil instrument of Judah's punishment would in turn be punished and that the scales of justice would balance in the end. Babylon would fall.

God certainly agreed with Habakkuk's moral estimate of the Babylonians (vv. 4-5). They were proud and lusted for power. “He is as greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied.” This didn't square with the principle that the righteous live by faith (or faithfulness), a truth quoted in the New Testament in several places (such as Rom. 1:17).

That's why God pronounced five woes on the Babylonians. The first (vv. 6-8) said that the plunderers would become the plundered—unjust gains must be paid for. The second (vv. 9-11) indicated that the plotters of ruin would themselves be ruined and that no one is beyond the reach of God's sovereign hand. These “woes” are statements of judgment as well as “taunt songs”—a literary form in which losers are mocked. The wicked will receive justice from the hand of God in His due time. The basic idea is, “They finally got their just desserts, they had it coming.”
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
Now that you've asked God your toughest questions (yesterday's “Today Along the Way”), the next step is another challenging assignment: Wait (v. 3). Wait patiently for His answer, whenever it comes, in whatever form it comes. Living by faith means waiting in hope for “that day” to arrive. As with the prophecies recorded by Habakkuk and others, it might be tomorrow, next year, next century, or even farther in the future. But God will answer, and our faith will be vindicated!

Habakkuk 2:4
TODAY IN THE WORD

Members of presidential administrations often publish “kiss-and-tell” books soon after they leave government. These memoirs typically present the author in a flattering light while reporting their angle on the “truth.” Some authors criticize the President under whom they served, including David Stockman (budget director for Ronald Reagan), George Stephanopoulos (advisor to Bill Clinton), and Scott McClellan (press secretary for George W. Bush).

What's the real story, we ask? We ask it when we study history or read today's paper, and we have to ask it along our faith journey. Sometimes the struggles of our lives seem to be telling a story from which God feels absent. We lose faith and hope, wondering, “Where is God?” Are we to believe that God has abandoned us when life gets hard?

Obedience to the “Heavenly Vision”
Habakkuk 2:3

I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision —Acts 26:19

If we lose “the heavenly vision” God has given us, we alone are responsible— not God. We lose the vision because of our own lack of spiritual growth. If we do not apply our beliefs about God to the issues of everyday life, the vision God has given us will never be fulfilled. The only way to be obedient to “the heavenly vision” is to give our utmost for His highest— our best for His glory. This can be accomplished only when we make a determination to continually remember God’s vision. But the acid test is obedience to the vision in the details of our everyday life— sixty seconds out of every minute, and sixty minutes out of every hour, not just during times of personal prayer or public meetings.

Though it tarries, wait for it . . .” (Habakkuk 2:3). We cannot bring the vision to fulfillment through our own efforts, but must live under its inspiration until it fulfills itself. We try to be so practical that we forget the vision. At the very beginning we saw the vision but did not wait for it. We rushed off to do our practical work, and once the vision was fulfilled we could no longer even see it. Waiting for a vision that “tarries” is the true test of our faithfulness to God. It is at the risk of our own soul’s welfare that we get caught up in practical busy-work, only to miss the fulfillment of the vision.

Watch for the storms of God. The only way God plants His saints is through the whirlwind of His storms. Will you be proven to be an empty pod with no seed inside? That will depend on whether or not you are actually living in the light of the vision you have seen. Let God send you out through His storm, and don’t go until He does. If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod. However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” (John 15:8).

It is essential that we live and “walk in the light” of God’s vision for us (1 John 1:7). - Oswald Chambers

Habakkuk 2:4-5
TODAY IN THE WORD

“Greed is good.” With those words, celebrated Wall Street whiz Ivan Boesky revealed his basic business philosophy to his class of undergraduate students.

Even to the “Me generation” of the 1980s, Boesky’s unapologetic endorsement of old-fashioned greed came as a shock. But the multi-millionaire got a little too greedy and wound up serving time in prison for using insider trading information to his advantage.

Greed ought to shock us. Its place on the list of the so-called Seven Deadly Sins reminds us that for many centuries greed has been considered one of the sins that have the greatest appeal to the human appetite. Given greed’s place of shame in the Bible, it’s hard to argue with that view.

Today’s text is not really a definition of greed, but gives us a fascinating and sobering look at the nature of greed. Habakkuk was given a hard prophetic message to deliver. God was going to judge sinful Judah by giving His people over to infinitely more wicked conquerors: the cruel Babylonians.

In the process of delivering his message, Habakkuk drew a word picture of the coming invaders. The Babylonians were “puffed up” and “arrogant.” We know what pride does to individuals or to a nation.

But Habakkuk also noted that the Babylonians were “as greedy as the grave.” They were like death, which is “never satisfied.” This is about the best illustration of greed you’ll find. Death won’t stop taking until everyone is in its grasp. We are told in Proverbs 30:15-16 that the grave is one of four things that never says “Enough!”

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - When do you say “Enough”? Most people don’t say it at all. Greed is easy to spot in others but tough to pinpoint in ourselves. Here’s a brief self-test that may help focus the issue. Jot down the three things you want most right now; then ask these questions about each item: 1. Is this a legitimate need or desire? 2. Is this something I want just because I want it? 3. Is the lack of this item standing between me and true contentment? 
(Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Habakkuk 2:4
Only One Option

If you were to ask several people to draw a crooked line on a piece of paper, no two lines would be identical. There is a lesson in this: There are many ways to be crooked, but only one way to be straight.

The Lord tells us that the righteous person has only one option—to "live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). In the chapter prior to this declaration from the Lord, the prophet Habakkuk had complained about the violence and injustice around him. It seemed as if the wicked were swallowing up the righteous (Hab 1:13).

God responded to Habakkuk by saying that His people were to be "just" and were to live by faith. They were not to be like the one who is "proud" and "not upright" (2:4). A proud and self-sufficient person will rationalize his faults and imperfections. He doesn't want to admit that he needs God. His ways are crooked.

Wickedness seems to prevail in our world. God urges us to live our lives in faith, taking to heart His assurance to Habakkuk that there will be a day of reckoning for the wicked.

The only way to please God now and to be ready for that day of reckoning is to live by faith.— Albert Lee
(Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, grant me grace throughout this day
To walk the straight and narrow way,
To do whatever in Thy sight
Is good and perfect, just and right. —Huisman

The only right way is the straight and narrow way.

Habakkuk 2:12-20
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. - Habakkuk 2:14
TODAY IN THE WORD
One of the best-known statues in the world, found at many courthouses, features Lady Justice, often wearing a blindfold and holding a sword in one hand and balances in the other. This statue dates back to Greek and Roman times. The balances or scales represent impartiality or objectivity; the double-edged sword symbolizes the power wielded by judges and juries; and the blindfold indicates that justice does not play favorites based on status, wealth, or any other factor.

The scales of justice are divinely guaranteed to balance in the end, God told Habakkuk in today's reading. This is part two of His response to the prophet's second question, as well as the third, fourth, and fifth woes pronounced against the Babylonians. The third woe (vv. 12-14) focuses on the rotten foundations of the coming Babylonian empire. A city built on bloodshed cannot stand. A kingdom built on violence and military conquest will not endure. It is the plans of the sovereign God that prevail, not human endeavors and especially not wicked ones. Such things are merely “fuel for the fire,” a chasing after the wind. In the end, history is about the earth being “filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.”

The fourth woe (vv. 15-17) addresses the issue of exploitation. Babylon will be like a person who gets someone else drunk in order to take advantage of them sexually. The picture here implies not just voyeurism but rape—a shameful, sinful, violent, and violating act. This is what it is like to conquer and plunder other nations, and this is why they'll reap what they sow. Just as they get others drunk, so to speak, so they themselves will drink the cup of God's wrath. The fifth and final woe (vv. 18-20) condemns idolatry. Instead of worshiping handmade “gods,” people are created to worship their Creator. Idols are silent and powerless, but one day the whole earth will be silent before the power and majesty of the one true God.
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
If the “problem of evil” is something you're interested in learning more about, several good books deal at length with this topic: How Long, O Lord? Reflections on Suffering and Evil, by D. A. Carson, which emphasizes theology; The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition: From the Book of Job to Modern Genetics, by Joseph F. Kelly, which has a more historical focus; and The Reality of God and the Problem of Evil, by Brian Davies, which deals with these issues from a philosophical standpoint.
 

Habakkuk 2:14
OUR ONLY HOPE


We should live...godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope.- Titus 2:12, 13

An unknown author wrote, "When I was first converted, and for some years afterward, the second coming of Christ was a thrilling idea, a blessed hope, a glorious promise, the theme of some of the most inspiring songs of the church.

"Later it became an accepted tenet of faith, a cardinal doctrine, a kind of invisible trademark of my ministry. It was the favorite arena of my theological discussions, in the pulpit and in print. Now suddenly the second coming means something more to me. Paul called it world."

From the human standpoint, there is no solution for the problems of the world. Leaders seem to be completely frustrated in trying to deal with the unrest and increasing violence in society. The only complete and permanent solution is found in the return of Christ. When He comes, He will set up His kingdom. He will rule the nations in righteousness, and "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14).

As we await our Savior's return, let us keep on praying, working, and watching, while "looking for the blessed hope" - our only hope for this world.  Richard W. De Haan (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

And for the hope of His return,
Dear Lord, Your name we praise;
With longing hearts we watch and wait
For that great day of days! - Sherwood

As this world grows darker,
the promised return of the Son grows brighter.

Habakkuk 2:15-20 
QUIET TIME


Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).

A group of British miners in Australia heard the sweet song of a thrush one evening as they worked. The lovely sound hushed these hardened men into absolute silence. In the stillness their hearts became tender as memories of their boyhood days in their beloved England swept over them. Similarly, when we are quiet, God speaks to us most clearly and effectively.

Stepping into the stillness of a cold winter morning and gazing upon fields and buildings coated with dazzling frost or covered with sparkling snow have been unforgettable experiences. During the night, the silvery frost had come silently, its unseen fingers deftly touching the landscape. Or feathery snowflakes had descended with-out awakening a single soul. The silence of such a moment brings to mind the words of Psalm 46:10:

"Be still, and know that I am God."

I would also think of Habakkuk 2:20

"The LORD is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him."

God speaks to us during other times of silence as well. Sooner or later we lie sleepless as a result of illness, grief, or anxiety. These can be precious moments of quiet solitude when we tell the Lord we love Him and want Him to speak to us. In the stillness we can learn lessons we'd learn in no other way. We experience a new peace—a fresh sense of His presence. But we need not wait for a sleepless night! —H. V. Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The quiet hour is the power hour.

Habakkuk 2:20
August 28, 2005
The Beauty Of Silence
READ: Psalm 62:1-8


Truly my soul silently waits for God. —Psalm 62:1

Written on the wall behind the pulpit of the church we attended in my teens were these words: "The Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him" (Habakkuk 2:20). And keep silence we did! All eight of us boys said nothing to one another as we sat waiting for the service to begin.

I loved this quiet time and often succeeded in pushing thoughts about girls and the Detroit Tigers out of my mind. The best I could, I tried to reflect on the wonder of God and His salvation. And in the silence I often sensed His presence.

Today we live in a noisy world. Many people can't even drive without music blaring from their car, or the beat of the bass vibrating their vehicle. Even many church services are marked more by noise than by quiet reflection.

In ancient times the pagans cried out in a noisy frenzy to their idols (1Kings 18:25, 26, 27, 28, 29). In sharp contrast, the psalmist saw the wisdom of silence, because in quiet reverence God can be heard. In the stillness of the night under a starry sky, in a hushed sanctuary, or in a quiet room at home, we can meet the living God and hear Him speak.

The psalmist's words are relevant today: "Wait silently for God alone" (Psalm 62:5). —Herbert Vander Lugt  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen
In expectancy. —Grimes

To hear God's voice,
turn down the world's volume.

Habakkuk 2:20
May 25, 2003
Our God Is Marching On
READ: Habakkuk 2:6-20


The Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence before Him. —Habakkuk 2:20

In 1861, during the US Civil War, author and lecturer Julia Ward Howe visited Washington, DC. One day she went outside the city and saw a large number of soldiers marching. Early the next morning she awoke with words for a song in her mind.

She was aware of all the ugliness of the war, but her faith led her to write: "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord." She saw, I believe, that in spite of and through all the ugliness, God was "marching on" toward the day when He will right the wrongs of the ages.

The prophet Habakkuk came to a similar conclusion. Chapter 1 of his book tells us how troubled he was when he learned that God was going to punish the people of Judah by letting them be conquered by the wicked Babylonians. In chapter 2, God assured His servant that—in spite of and through all the ugliness and wrongs of history—He is "marching on" toward the day when "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord" (Hab 2:14).

If we believe that God is "marching on," in spite of all the brutal conflicts that mark our day, we will not despair. We can quietly await the final verdict from our Lord, who rules the universe from "His holy temple" (Hab 2:20). —Herbert Vander Lugt  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God rules as Sovereign on His throne,
He judges great and small;
And those who would His earth destroy
Beneath His rod shall fall. —D. De Haan

Someday the scales of justice will be perfectly balance

Habakkuk 3:2
F B Meyer
Our Daily Homily

O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years. Habakkuk 3:2

When we are oppressed with the state of the Church and the world, as Habakkuk was, there is no resource but to turn to God. It is of no use to say to our brother, “What shall we do?” Better at once get into the presence of the Almighty. All conferences with flesh and blood are wasted breath, unless there has been a previous one with God.
Note also the unselfishness of the prayer which precedes revival. We must not pray “Revive my work,” lest the insidious temptation come in of using the stream of God’s blessing to turn our own tiny water-wheels for our own profit. Let us get beyond the narrow limits of our church or section, and ask for a revival of God’s work everywhere.

We do not need a new Gospel, but a revival—a revivifying of the old Gospel. If any preach another Gospel than that which the apostles preached, let him be accursed; he is selling bran for wheat; he is filling cartridges with sand. We want nothing but the Gospel of the Cross of Jesus Christ, proclaimed from lips which have received a new baptism of heavenly power.

Note the time. Not at the end of years, but in the midst. This is a prayer for those in middle life. They are apt to think that their power for service has passed its prime, and that the successes of their early days cannot be paralleled. But let them remember that in the midst of the years God can revive his work, and ask for it.

What an argument! “Remember mercy.” We cannot appeal to merit, but can lay great stress on mercy. Lord, have mercy on thy Church—revive her; and ere the dispensation close, may she arise for one great work of soul-salvation!

Habakkuk 3:1-7
I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. - Habakkuk 3:2
TODAY IN THE WORD
Keith and Kristyn Getty are a husband-and-wife team of Irish Christian songwriters who are committed to composing contemporary hymns. You may have sung some of their work in your church, including “How Deep the Father's Love for Us” and “In Christ Alone.” Keith recently told an interviewer, “A song has to be easy and inspirational to sing, and lyrically it has to teach the truth of God in a way that is emotionally engaging and poetic.” The Gettys also want their hymns to appeal to entire congregations: “We look for songs that bring all ages together because singing is an act of unity.” They see worship as “singing with the generations that have gone before us, and we're singing as a foretaste of what will come after us.”

The book of Habakkuk ends not with more questions, but with worship. The final chapter is a psalm of praise to the Lord! This is a helpful reminder: while we see the prophet can ask God tough questions, we also see that he knows when to stop. From a philosophical standpoint, the dialogue could continue, but theologically the time had come for a Job-like silence before the Lord (2:20). The key theme of this chapter, as one might expect, is justice, and the main point is that justice will be done, as guaranteed by the person and character of God. The opening invocation (v. 2) recalls His awesome deeds on Israel's behalf in history and pleads for a renewal of those inspiring days. Though wrath is coming, Habakkuk prayed and believed that mercy would win out.

Verses 3 through 7 present a poetic picture of God's coming. He is glorious, like the sunrise, with light flashing from His hand. He is powerful, as the earth shakes, the nations tremble, and the mountains crumble. If nature is brought low, fear and reverence by people is inevitable. “His ways are eternal”—nothing human, natural, or supernatural can stand against Him.
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
he glory of God's coming in today's poetic reading should fill our hearts with joy and anticipation. Think of a time when He entered your life with just such power and awesomeness, a time when He made His love and presence known in unmistakable ways. Have you shared this story with your friends or family? God's work in our lives is not solely for our benefit; He gives us a story to tell in order to encourage others and bring glory to His name. If you have a testimony of His work, share it and praise Him!
Habakkuk 3:8-15
Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear. -

Habakkuk 3:11
TODAY IN THE WORD

The children are restless. They bounce from toy to toy, occasionally running to the front window to look out at the empty street. They are full of questions: “When are they coming?” “Did they forget?” “What time is it now?” “Are they driving fast enough?” At last the moment arrives. The sun flashes off the windshield of a familiar green sedan as it turns into the driveway. “They're here, they're here!” the kids shout. Grandma and Grandpa smile and wave as they step out of the car.

Waiting impatiently for important people to show up makes their coming all the sweeter. That's the background feeling for today's reading, in which God Almighty arrives in power to save His people. Pictured as a Warrior, He fights on their behalf and wins the victory, just as He did during the conquest of the Promised Land. Some of the pictures are military, such as God riding in a chariot or shooting a bow and arrows. Others are supernatural, such as God splitting the earth with rivers and using other elements of nature as weapons. And some can only be called sovereign, such as God threshing the nations like a farmer harvesting wheat.

Many commentators see specific historical references in these verses. For example, the mention of rivers (v. Cool alludes to when God turned the Nile to blood and later parted the Jordan so the Israelites could cross. The sun standing still (v. 11) recalls the victory at Gibeon. The sea (v. 15) brings to mind the miraculous parting of the Red Sea in the escape from Egypt. The verbs in this passage are powerful: God “rages” in righteous wrath in order to “deliver” or “save” His chosen people. He used a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to protect and guide them during the Exodus, and Habakkuk's continuing prayer is that those days would come again. His faith was strong—he believed that God would bring future restoration as surely He brought past deliverance!
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
The book of Habakkuk, like many of the Psalms, uses the history of God's work with His people to inspire praise and worship. Do you ever review God's work in your own life as a source of praise? You could compose your own hymn of praise that acknowledges God's character and work. If writing words or music doesn't seem like your strong suit, you can at least approach the praise time during the next church service with a fresh perspective on reasons to give praise to the Lord.
 

Habakkuk 3:11-19
Yet I Will Rejoice

Life in our world can be difficult. At some point, most of us have wondered, Where is God in my trouble? And we may have thought, It seems like injustice is winning and God is silent. We have a choice as to how we respond to our troubles. The prophet Habakkuk had an attitude worth following: He made the choice to rejoice.

Habakkuk saw the rapid increase in Judah’s moral and spiritual failings, and this disturbed him deeply. But God’s response troubled him even more. God would use the wicked nation of Babylon to punish Judah. Habakkuk did not fully understand this, but he could rejoice because he had learned to rely on the wisdom, justice, and sovereignty of God. He concluded his book with a wonderful affirmation: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (3:18). Though it was not clear how Judah would survive, Habakkuk had learned to trust God amid injustice, suffering, and loss. He would live by his faith in God alone. With this kind of faith came joy in God, despite the circumstances surrounding him.

We too can rejoice in our trials, have surefooted confidence in God, and live on the heights of His sovereignty.— by Marvin Williams

Be this the purpose of my soul
My solemn, my determined choice:
To yield to God’s supreme control,
And in my every trial rejoice. —Anon.

Praising God in our trials turns burdens into blessings.

Habakkuk 3:16-19
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines . . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. - Habakkuk 3:17-18
TODAY IN THE WORD
Are you having trouble remembering things? Try some blueberries! Scientists at the University of Reading in England have found that adding blueberries to a regular diet helps improve memory. It increases memory capacity and can even reverse memory loss. The key is flavonoids, which are known to boost the part of the brain that controls learning and memory. The researchers are planning to investigate next whether these findings might help people with Alzheimer's disease.

The Israelites could have used some blueberries in their diet, at least to judge from how frequently they forgot about all the incredible things God had done for them. Habakkuk was so overcome by the memory that his heart pounded and his legs trembled (v. 16). This physical picture shows a combination of awe—God's deeds are amazing and overwhelming—and holy fear—God's power and wrath are about to punish Judah's sins in the same ways as described in this chapter—as well as eagerness for the day when the prophesied judgment would be past and God would gather and restore His people.

Verses 17 and 18 are perhaps the best-known and best-loved verses in the book, and seem more relevant than ever in these difficult economic times. They are an unequivocal statement of faith in God despite circumstances. Things are as bad as they can possibly be. The trees do not bud, the crops do not ripen, and the livestock are dead. A modern paraphrase might read: “Though the cupboard be bare, the bills coming due, my car repossessed, a pink slip in my hand, and no jobs in town, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” To be clear: this isn't “grit your teeth and hang on” mentality, nor does it ignore the reality of the situation. Instead, this is joy! The bottom line is not circumstances but God (v. 19). He is our source of confidence and strength, the only Rock on which we can rely.
TODAY ALONG THE WAY
This kind of hope and joy and faith is supernatural; we cannot bring it up out of ourselves on our own. Are you struggling to rejoice in the Lord because your situation seems overwhelming? God doesn't promise to sweep our problems under the rug, nor does He promise “health and wealth” to His followers. But He does promise to be faithful, and He promises to be with us (see John 14). He has given us His Holy Spirit, who comforts us and enables us to look at the very real trials of life and still be joyful in God our Savior.

Habakkuk 3:17-18
Faith the Works
I read about a family who lost three children to diphtheria in the same week. Only a 3-year-old girl escaped the disease. On the following Easter morning, the father, mother, and child attended church. Because the father was the Sunday school superintendent, he led the session when all the classes met together. As he read the Easter message from the Bible, many were weeping, but the father and mother remained calm and serene.

When Sunday school was over, a 15-year-old boy was walking home with his father. “The superintendent and his wife must really believe the Easter story,” said the boy. His father answered, “All Christians do.” “Not the way they do!” replied the young man.

How we react under trial demonstrates the depth of our convictions. This is not to say that a true Christian will not weep at the loss of a loved one. However, knowing that all believers who die go into Christ’s presence, we need not “sorrow as others who have no hope” (1Th 4:13-
note). We can say, “Thank You, Lord,” because we know He can be trusted to do what is best. The prophet said it well: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; . . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (Hab. 3:17-18). — by Richard De Haan

The sweetest fragrance often flows
From those who feel life’s pain;
They firmly trust in God’s great love
And in that love remain. —DJD

Faith in Christ knows that the best is yet to come.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Above the Circumstances

I remember a story about a woman who was very discouraged because of the many problems in her life. As she was walking down the street, she met a fellow believer who asked, “How are you doing today?”

With a sour look and a bitter shrug she replied, “Oh, not too bad—under the circumstances.”

The other person quickly countered, “Well, get above the circumstances! That’s where Jesus is.”

The prophet Habakkuk was of the same mind. He refused to let circumstances dampen his faith or crush his hope. He looked to the future not with pessimistic fears of what else could go wrong, but with faith in God no matter what would happen. Even if he lost all his possessions, Habakkuk proclaimed that he would continue to trust the Lord to meet his needs (vv.17-19).

Our eyes are to be focused on the Lord, not on our circumstances. We are to live above the shadows of fear and bask in the sunlight of faith. Even though we, like Habakkuk, may have a long list of troubles, faith’s answer to disappointment must always be: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (v.18). That type of attitude will enable us to live above the circumstances instead of under them.— by Henry G. Bosch

Although my trees are fruitless,
No grapes are on the vine,
Yet Christ is all my fullness,
And all His sweetness mine. —Anon.

As you go along life's weary road, let Jesus lift your heavy load.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Undeserved Blessings

Tennis superstar Arthur Ashe died of AIDS, which he contracted from a blood transfusion during heart surgery. More than a great athlete, Ashe was a gentleman who inspired and encouraged many with his exemplary behavior on and off the court.

Ashe could have become embittered and self-pitying in the face of his disease, but he maintained a grateful attitude. He explained, “If I asked, ‘Why me?’ about my troubles, I would have to ask, ‘Why me?’ about my blessings. Why my winning Wimbledon? Why my marrying a beautiful, gifted woman and having a wonderful child?”

Ashe’s attitude rebukes those of us who often grumble, “Why me? Why is God allowing this to happen?” Even if we’re suffering acutely, we must not forget the mercies God pours into our lives—such things as food, shelter, and friends—blessings that many are deprived of.

And what about spiritual blessings? We can hold the very Word of God in our hands and read it. We have the knowledge of His saving grace, the comfort of His Spirit, and the joyful assurance of life everlasting with Jesus.

Think about God’s blessings and ask, “Why me?” Then your grumbling will give way to praise.— by Vernon C. Grounds

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. —Oatman

With unwanted burdens come undeserved blessings.

Habakkuk 3:14-19
Joy-Even in Poverty

In the book 450 Stories for Life, Gust Anderson tells about visiting a church in a farming community of eastern Alberta, Canada, where there had been 8 years of drought. The farmers’ economic situation looked hopeless. But in spite of their poverty, many of them continued to meet together to worship and praise God.

Anderson was especially impressed by the testimony of a farmer who stood up and quoted Habakkuk 3:17-18. With deep feeling, he said, “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Anderson thought, That dear saint has found the secret of real joy!

It’s not wrong to find pleasure in the good things money can buy, but we should never rely on them for happiness. If our fulfillment depends on material possessions, we are crushed when we lose them. But if our joy is found in the Lord, nothing can disrupt it, not even economic distress.

Yes, those who know and trust the Lord can rejoice—even in poverty!— by Richard De Haan

Pleasures of earth, so seemingly sweet,
Fail at the last my longings to meet:
Only in Thee my bliss is complete;
Only, blest Lord, in Thee.
—Anon.

Happiness depends on happenings; joy depends on Jesus!

Habakkuk 3:17-19
God is Good

I have often joined in singing the chorus “God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me.” I could sing this with sincerity, thanking Him for my family, my fulfilling occupation, my many friends, and above all my salvation. But one day a feeling of guilt swept over me as I sang. Would I sing these words if I were living alone, felt unloved, and had little to eat?

I hope so. I am confident that the Lord, in whom I have placed my trust, would give me the same grace He’s given to millions who have nothing but Him. Imprisoned for their faith or undernourished or ostracized or painfully ill, they can rejoice in the Lord and declare His goodness.

A friend who has been working with Christians in India told me that hundreds of thousands of new converts reflect a joy and gladness that puts him to shame. Could it be that because they are desperately poor they focus more fully on Christ? This friend and I have Jesus Christ plus many earthly possessions and pleasures. They have Christ plus nothing. He’s all they need, and so they sing with greater fervor than I, “God is so good!”

Yes, God is good, no matter what our circumstances. It’s a lesson we all must learn sooner or later.— by Herbert Vander Lugt

O taste and see that God is good
To all who seek His face;
Yea, blest that one who trusts in Him,
Confiding in His grace. —Psalter

Even when everything looks bad, God is good.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (Read Hab 1:1-4)
The Secret of Joy

One of the shortest books in the Old Testament is the book of Habakkuk. In its three brief chapters we see an amazing transformation in the prophet’s outlook on life. His opening words express depths of despair, but at the close of the book he has risen to heights of joy.

What caused this remarkable change? Why did Habakkuk begin with a complaint and end with a song of praise? The answer lies in three verses in chapter 2. In addition to God’s message of judgment on the wicked, the Almighty told the troubled prophet, “The just shall live by his faith” (v.4). He also promised that someday the earth would “be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (v.14). Finally, He assured him that “the Lord is in His holy temple” (v.20). These wonderful truths were just what Habakkuk needed to lift him out of his deep depression. By fixing his eyes on God, he rose above his discouraging circumstances and found a source of lasting joy in the Lord.

Like the prophet, we too must walk by faith and look forward to that glorious time when Jesus will return to earth to set up His kingdom of peace and righteousness. Maintaining our confidence in Him is the secret of true joy!— by Richard De Haan

Rejoice in Christ the Lord, again
The Spirit speaks the word;
And faith takes up the happy strain:
Our joy is in the Lord. —Anon.

To improve your outlook, keep looking up.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
Counterfeit Happiness

It’s easy to fool people about how we really feel. Simply wear a deceptive smile or hum a cheerful song like this one that was very popular during World War I and many years afterward:

What’s the use of worrying?
It never was worthwhile,
So, pack up your troubles
In your old kit-bag
And smile, smile, smile.

Those words, written by British vaudeville actor George Powell, were set to a cheerful melody by his piano-playing brother Felix. It earned them $60,000.

Yet one day years later, Felix sat down at a piano and played his well-known melody “Smile, Smile, Smile.” Then he went into a room where he was all alone and shot and killed himself.

Troubles can’t be packed away and magically forgotten. A smile and a song may camouflage deep unhappiness, but only God can lift the burden of gnawing worry from our hearts. Knowing that He cares for us, we can cast all our anxiety on Him (1 Pet. 5:7). If in our difficulties we trust in the Lord as our strength, He will do even more than give emotional relief. He will enable us to rejoice (Hab. 3:17-19).— by Vernon C. Grounds

A smile can conceal pain
And camouflage despair,
But trust in God gives inner peace
And joy beyond compare. —Sper

Joy is the byproduct of trusting God.

Habakkuk 3:18
October 3, 1998
The Choice To Rejoice
READ: Habakkuk 3:1-19


Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. --Habakkuk 3:18

When a grief-stricken woman was sharing her feelings, her friend said sympathetically, "Sorrow does color life, doesn't it?" "Yes," the woman agreed, and then added, "but I intend to choose the colors."

In today's Bible reading, the prophet Habakkuk expressed the same intention. Facing the possible loss of crops and livestock, he declared, "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Hab3:18).

The words "I will" revealed Habakkuk's belief that he could choose his response to loss--either to sink into despair or to rejoice in God's redeeming power. His decision to rejoice wasn't a denial of the pain. It was a decision of trust based on the truth that God would remain with him to be his strength and enabler (Hab 3:19).

The choice to rejoice is with us every day. To refuse to choose is itself a choice. It's an unconscious consent to be overcome rather than to be an overcomer. I recently met a disabled elderly woman who exemplified this. When I inquired, "How are you," she replied cheerfully, "Just fine! If I were any better, I'd have to be twins!"

Loss and pain do color life, but we can choose the color--joy! —Joanie Yoder  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When rough the path from day to day,
When sorrows fill our eyes with tears,
Our choice to find our joy in Christ
Can soothe our soul and calm our fears.
-DJD

When you choose to rejoice,
your life takes on a beautiful color.

Habakkuk 3:14-19
July 1, 2005
Joy—Even In Poverty

Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; . . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord. —Habakkuk 3:17-18

In the book 450 Stories for Life, Gust Anderson tells about visiting a church in a farming community of eastern Alberta, Canada, where there had been 8 years of drought. The farmers' economic situation looked hopeless. But in spite of their poverty, many of them continued to meet together to worship and praise God.

Anderson was especially impressed by the testimony of a farmer who stood up and quoted Habakkuk 3:17-18. With deep feeling, he said, "Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Anderson thought, That dear saint has found the secret of real joy!

It's not wrong to find pleasure in the good things money can buy, but we should never rely on them for happiness. If our fulfillment depends on material possessions, we are crushed when we lose them. But if our joy is found in the Lord, nothing can disrupt it, not even economic distress.

Yes, those who know and trust the Lord can rejoice—even in poverty! —Richard De Haan  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Pleasures of earth, so seemingly sweet,
Fail at the last my longings to meet:
Only in Thee my bliss is complete;
Only, blest Lord, in Thee. —Anon.

Happiness depends on happenings;
joy depends on Jesus!

Habakkuk 3:17-19
May 24, 2006
Can We Rejoice?
READ: Habakkuk 3:17-19

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord . . . . The Lord God is my strength. —Habakkuk 3:18, 19

I’ll never forget the question our Bible-study leader asked: “What do you fear would test your faith in God the most?” We were studying Habakkuk 3:17, 18, where the prophet said that even if God sent suffering or loss, he would still rejoice.

As a single woman in my twenties, my answer was “I don’t know if I could stand the pain of losing my parents.” But I told God that day that even when they died I would rejoice in Him. I found out too soon that it’s easier said than done.

A month later, Dad learned he had heart disease and didn’t have long to live. He didn’t know Jesus as his Savior, so I begged God not to let him die without coming to know Him. Not only did he die that year, so did Mom, who was a believer. I didn’t know if my prayer for Dad was answered. I couldn’t rejoice; I wondered if God had even heard my prayer.

As I wrestled with Him about my questions, I experienced the Lord as my “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). I found hope in the truth that God, “the Judge of all the earth,” would do what was right by everyone (Genesis 18:25).

We can rejoice—when we are rejoicing in the Lord, our strong refuge and righteous Judge. —Anne Cetas  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Why must I bear this pain? I cannot tell;
I only know my Lord does all things well.
And so I trust in God, my all in all,
For He will bring me through, whate’er befall. —Smith

God tries our faith so that we may try His faithfulness

Habakkuk 3:17-19
January 6, 2005
Undeserved Blessings

God . . . has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. —Ephesians 1:3

Tennis superstar Arthur Ashe died of AIDS, which he contracted from a blood transfusion during heart surgery. More than a great athlete, Ashe was a gentleman who inspired and encouraged many with his exemplary behavior on and off the court.

Ashe could have become embittered and self-pitying in the face of his disease, but he maintained a grateful attitude. He explained, "If I asked, 'Why me?' about my troubles, I would have to ask, 'Why me?' about my blessings. Why my winning Wimbledon? Why my marrying a beautiful, gifted woman and having a wonderful child?"

Ashe's attitude rebukes those of us who often grumble, "Why me? Why is God allowing this to happen?" Even if we're suffering acutely, we must not forget the mercies God pours into our lives—such things as food, shelter, and friends—blessings that many are deprived of.

And what about spiritual blessings? We can hold the very Word of God in our hands and read it. We have the knowledge of His saving grace, the comfort of His Spirit, and the joyful assurance of life everlasting with Jesus.

Think about God's blessings and ask, "Why me?" Then your grumbling will give way to praise.—Vernon C Grounds  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by. —Oatman

With unwanted burdens come undeserved blessing

Habakkuk 3:17-19
February 13, 2000
Always Thankful
READ: Habakkuk 3:17-19


I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. --Habakkuk 3:18

Perhaps Habakkuk 3:17-19 was an unusual Bible passage to read as our family and guests sat down to a traditional feast of turkey with all the trimmings. But I had a reason for choosing it. Simply to bow my head and give thanks didn't seem to be enough. Compared with the poverty of many of the world's people, I am wealthy.

The prophet Habakkuk was awaiting the destruction of his country by the ruthless Chaldeans, whose army was called by God to punish His people for their disobedient and evil ways (Hab. 1:5-6). He said, "Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls--yet I will rejoice in the Lord" (3:17-18).

Those words made me stop and ask, "Am I thankful to God regardless of what He gives or withholds?" Habakkuk pondered how he would respond to the loss of every material blessing. He concluded, "I will joy in the God of my salvation" (v.18).

Circumstances may change, but God remains the same. That's always cause for thanksgiving. —David C. McCasland  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We can give thanks in every trial
And say, "Your will be done,"
For God's at work in everything
To make us like His Son. --DJD

Thankfulness depends on what is in your heart,
not what is in your hand.

Habakkuk 3:17-19
The Smile Of Joy

These things we write to you that your joy may be full. --1 John 1:4

Remember those round, yellow, happy-face stickers that showed up frequently on stationery and postcards? They were often accompanied by the one-word message, "Smile." They implied that you can put a smile on your face as easily as you can put a hat on your head. In a sense, that is true. A good actor can look happy even when his heart is breaking.

Favorable circumstances can also produce smiles. A person with good health, an adequate income, and a nice house finds it easy to look happy. The best smile, though, comes naturally from within. It reflects a joy that remains even when a person has few of life's material blessings. It comes from knowing God, believing and obeying His Word, being assured of sins forgiven, possessing eternal life, and anticipating the glories of heaven. The believer who depends on God for these blessings can smile despite adversity.

In today's Scripture reading, the prophet Habakkuk declared triumphantly, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:18). Even if everything were taken from him, the Lord would be his strength. He didn't need to "put on" a smile, because the joy in his heart would do it for him. —Richard De Haan —Richard De Haan  (
Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A smile can conceal our pain
And lighten our despair,
But trust in God gives inner peace
And joy beyond compare. —Sper

Happiness depends on happenings,
but joy depends on Jesus.

Habakkuk 3:1-19

The Sovereign Lord is my strength, . . . he enables me to go on the heights. - Habakkuk 3:19

TODAY IN THE WORD - Physicist Stephen Unwin recently wrote a book entitled The Probability of God. “I don’t consider anything to be understood until numbers have been applied,” he said. “I have made a career of understanding and analyzing uncertainty and probabilities. Therefore, it seemed obvious to apply these methods to the ultimate uncertainty–whether God exists.” Using something called Bayes’ Theorem as well as other equations, he reviewed evidence from observation and experience in an attempt to assign a mathematically rigorous number to the probability of the existence of a personal God. He concluded that the probability of God’s existence was 67 percent.

People wrestle with their spiritual doubts in many different ways–the prophet Habakkuk took his questions directly to God. Habakkuk ministered around the same time as Jeremiah. In his book, written mostly as a dialogue, he asked and argued about the comprehensibility and justice of God’s ways–especially regarding His punishment of Israel through conquest and exile–and God answered. This prophecy encouraged the faith of the godly remnant of Israel.

Today’s reading is a prayer or psalm that was Habakkuk’s concluding response to God’s answers. His central petition was for God to do what He had done in the past, that is, to show His power and love in the lives of His people in order to make His name known in present times: “Renew them in our day, in our time make them known” (Hab 3:2). His poetic recounting of the Exodus in Hab 3:3-15 described God’s unstoppable power exercised on Israel’s behalf–it was a faith-boosting recollection of what God could do. These memories made the prophet’s heart pound with excitement, even though he would have to wait for God’s judgment on Babylon (Hab 3:16).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Did you know you’re allowed to ask God tough questions? Even to express doubts? God is far bigger than all your questions and doubts–He can handle them, and your faith will be strengthened as a result. 
(Copyright Moody Bible Institute. Used by permission. All rights reserved)

Habakkuk 3:19
Fast Feet

While in Chile for a Bible conference, I was resting at the hotel when a rugby match came on the television. Though I don’t fully understand rugby, I enjoy it and admire the courage it takes to play such a dangerous sport.

During the match, one of the French players was injured and had to be taken to the sidelines. As the trainers attended to him, the camera showed a closeup of his shoes. With a black marker the player had written the words: “Habakkuk 3:19” and “Jesus is the way.” Those expressions of faith and hope were a strong testimony of that young athlete’s priorities and values.

The verse cited on that rugby player’s shoes is not just one of heavenly hope and persevering faith. It is one of practical value—especially to an athlete dependent on speed for success. It says, “The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”

In all of life, we need the strength and supply of our God. He alone can give us “feet” that are swift and strong. He alone can equip us for all of the uncertainties of life, for He alone is our strength. With Paul, we can be assured: “My God shall supply all your need” (Phil. 4:19).— by Bill Crowder

In You, O Lord, I take delight,
My every need You will supply;
I long to do what’s true and right,
So, Lord, on You I will rely. —D. De Haan

We always have enough when God is our supply.

 

Alexander Maclaren's Sermon on...
Habakkuk 3:19 The Ideal Devout Life


‘The Lord God is my Strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.’— HABAKKUK 3:19

So ends one of the most magnificent pieces of imaginative poetry in Scripture or anywhere else. The singer has been describing a great delivering manifestation of the Most High God, which, though he knew it was for the deliverance of God’s people, shed awe and terror over his soul. Then he gathers himself together to vow that in this God, thus manifested as the God of his salvation, he ‘will rejoice,’ whatever penury or privation may attach to his outward life. Lastly, he rises, in these final words, to the apprehension of what this God, thus rejoiced in, will become to those who so put their trust and their gladness upon Himself.

The expressions are of a highly metaphorical and imaginative character, but they admit of being brought down to very plain facts, and they tell us the results in heart and mind of true faith and communion with God.

It is to be noticed that a parallel saying, almost verbatim the same as that of my text, occurs in the 18th psalm, and that there, too, it is the last and joyous result of a tremendous manifestation of the delivering energy of God.

Without any attempt to do more than bring out the deep meaning of the words, I note that the three clauses of our text present three aspects of what our lives and ourselves may steadfastly be if we, too, will rejoice in the God of our salvation.

I. First, such communion with God brings God to a man for his strength.

The 18th psalm, which is closely parallel, as I have remarked, with this one, gives a somewhat different and inferior version of that thought when it says, ‘It is the Lord that girdeth me with strength.’ But Habakkuk, though perhaps he could not have put into dogmatic shape all that he meant, had come farther than that with this: ‘The Lord is my strength.’ He not only gives , as one might put a coin into the hand of a beggar, while standing separate from him all the while, but ‘He is my strength.’

And what does that mean? It is an anticipation of that most wonderful and highest of all the New Testament truths which the Apostle declared when he said: ‘I can do all things in Christ which strengtheneth me within.’ It is the anticipation in experience—which always comes before dogmatic formulas that reduce experiences into articulate utterances, of what the Apostle recorded when he said that he had heard the voice that declared, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee, and My strength is made perfect in weakness.’

Ah, brother! do not let us deprive ourselves of the lofty consolations and the mysterious influx of power which may be ours, if we will open our eyes to see, and our hearts to receive, what is really the central blessing of the Gospel, the communication through the same faith as Habakkuk exercised when he said, ‘I will rejoice in the God of my salvation,’ of an actual divine strength to dwell in and manifest itself majestically and triumphantly through, our weakness. ‘The Lord is my strength,’ and if we will rejoice in the Lord we shall find that Habakkuk’s experience was lower than ours, inasmuch as he knew less of God than we do; and we shall be able to surpass his saying with the other one of the Prophet: ‘The Lord is my strength and song; He also is become my salvation.’ That is the first blessing that this ancient believer, out of the twilight of early revelation, felt as certain to come through communion with God.

II. The second is like unto it. Such rejoicing communion with God will give light-footedness in the path of life.

‘He makes my feet like hinds’ feet.’ The stag is, in all languages spoken by people that have ever seen it, the very type and emblem of elastic, springing ease, of light and bounding gracefulness, that clears every obstacle, and sweeps swiftly over the moor. And when this singer, or his brother psalmist in the other psalm that we have referred to, says, ‘Thou makest my feet like hinds’ feet,’ what he is thinking about is that light and easy, springing, elastic gait, that swiftness of advance. What a contrast that is to the way in which most of us get through our day’s work! Plod, plod, plod, in a heavy-footed, spiritless grind, like that with which the ploughman toils down the sticky furrows of a field, with a pound of clay at each heel; or like that with which a man goes wearied home from his work at night. The monotony of trivial, constantly recurring doings, the fluctuations in the thermometer of our own spirits; the stiff bits of road that we have all to encounter sooner or later; and as days go on, our diminishing buoyancy of nature, and the love of walking a little slower than we used to do; we all know these things, and our gait is affected by them. But then my text brings a bright assurance, that swift and easy and springing as the course of a stag on a free hill-side may be the gait with which we run the race set before us.

It is the same thought, under a somewhat different garb, which the Apostle has when he tells us that the Christian soldier ought to have his ‘feet shod with the alacrity that comes from the gospel of peace.’ We are to be always ready to run, and to run with light hearts when we do. That is a possible result of Christian communion, and ought, far more than it is, to be an achieved reality with each of us. Of course physical conditions vary. Of course our spirits go up and down. Of course the work that we have to do one day seems easier than the same work does another. All these fluctuations and variations, and causes of heavy-footedness—and sometimes more sinful ones, causes of sluggishness—will survive; but in spite of them all, and beneath them all, it is possible that we may have ourselves thus equipped for the road, and may rejoice in our work ‘as a strong man to run a race,’ and may cheerily welcome every duty, and cast ourselves into all our tasks. It is possible, because communion with God manifest in Christ does, as we have been seeing, actually breathe into men a vigour, and consequently a freshness and a buoyancy that do not belong to themselves, and do not come from nature or from surrounding things. Unless that is true, that Christianity gives to a man the divine gladness which makes him ready for work, I do not know what is the good of his Christianity to him.

But not only is that so, but this same communion with God, which is the opening of the heart for the influx of the divine power, brings to bear upon all our work new motives which redeem it from being oppressive, tedious, monotonous, trivial, too great for our endurance, or too little for our effort. All work that is not done in fellowship with Jesus Christ tends to become either too heavy to be tackled successfully, or too trivial to demand our best energies, and in either case will be done perfunctorily, and as the days go on, mechanically and wearisomely, as a grind and a pled. ‘Thou makest my feet like hinds’ feet’—if I get the new motive of love to God in Christ well into my heart so that it comes out and influences all my actions, there will be no more tasks too formidable to undertake, or too small to be worth an effort. There will be nothing unwelcome. The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked things straight, and our feet will be shod with the preparedness of the gospel of peace.

If we live in daily communion with God, another thought, too, will come in, which will, in like manner, make us ready ‘to run with’ cheerfulness ‘the race that is set before us.’ We shall connect everything that befalls us, and everything that we have to do, with the final issue, and life will become solemn, grave, and blessed, because it is the outer court and vestibule of the eternal life with God in Christ. They that hold communion with Him, and only they, will, as another prophet says, ‘run and not be weary,’ when there come the moments that require a special effort; and ‘will walk and not faint’ through the else tediously long hours of commonplace duty and dusty road.

III. The last of the thoughts here is—Communion with God brings elevation.

‘He will make me to walk upon my high places.’ One sees the herd on the skyline of the mountain ridge, and at home up there, far above dangers and attack; able to keep their footing on cliff and precipice, and tossing their antlers in the pure air. One wave of the hand, and they are miles away. ‘He sets me upon my high places’; if we will keep ourselves in simple, loving fellowship with God in Christ; and day by day, even when ‘the fig-tree does not blossom, and there is no fruit in the vine,’ will still ‘rejoice in the God of our salvation,’ He will lift us up, and Isaiah’s other clause in the verse which I have quoted will be fulfilled: ‘They shall mount up with wings as eagles.’ Communion with God does not only help us to plod and to travel, but it helps us to soar. If we keep ourselves in touch with Him, we shall be like a weight that is hung on to a balloon. The buoyancy of the one will lift the leadenness of the other. If we hold fast by Christ’s hand that will lift us up to the high places, the heights of God, in so far as we may reach them in this world; and we shall be at home up there. They will be ‘ my high places,’ that I never could have got at by my own scrambling, but to which Thou hast lifted me up, and which, by Thy grace, have become my natural abode. I am at home there, and walk at liberty in the loftiness, and fear no fall amongst the cliffs.

Are you and I familiar with these upper ranges of thought and experience and life? Do we feel at home there more than down in the bottoms, amongst the swamps, and the miasma, and the mists? Where is your home, brother? The Mass begins with Sursum corda : ‘Up with your hearts,’ and that is the word for us. But the way to get up is to keep ourselves in touch with Jesus Christ, and then He will, even whilst our feet are travelling along this road of earth, set us at His own right hand in the heavenly places, and make them ‘ our high places.’ It is safe up there. The air is pure; the poison mists are down lower; the hunters do not come there; their arrows or their rifles will not carry so far. It is only when the herd ventures a little down the hill that it is in danger from shots.

But the elevation will not be such as to make us despise the low paths on which duty—the sufficient and loftiest thing of all—lies for us. Our souls may be like stars, and dwell apart, and yet may lay the humblest duties upon themselves, and whilst we live in the high places, we ‘may travel on life’s common way in cheerful godliness.’ Communion with Him will make us light-footed, and lift us high, and yet it will keep us at desk, and mill, and study, and kitchen, and nursery, and shop, and we shall find that the high places are reachable in every life, and in every task. So we may go on until at last we shall hear the Voice that says, ‘Come up higher,’ and shall he lifted to the mountain of God, where the living waters are, and shall fear no snares or hunters any more for ever.

 

Habakkuk 2:4 Faith Life

NO. 2809
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD’S-DAY, DECEMBER 14TH, 1902,DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON,
ON LORD’S-DAY EVENING, MAY 10TH, 1877.

“The just shall live by his faith.”-Habakkuk 2:4.
“The just shall live by faith.”-Romans 1:17.
“The just shall live by faith”-Galatians 3:11.
“Now the just shall live by faith.”-Hebrews 10:38.

THE fact that these words are so frequently found in the Word of God is a sufficient justification for often preaching from them. There seems to be, among certain preachers and hearers, some sort of question about preaching more than once from the same text; yet it would appear that this is by no means a wrong practice, but a most proper one. Indeed, our Lord Jesus Christ may be thought to have preached the same sermon more than once, for the sermon on the mount contains many passages similar to those uttered by him on other occasions. The apostle Paul imitated his Master’s example when he wrote to the Philippians, “To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.” We need not hesitate to follow such leaders as these.

As the truth contained in our texts is so often brought before us in the Scriptures,-and is revealed at least four times in almost the same words,-we ought to regard it as of the greatest imaginable importance, as indeed it is. A mistake upon this subject would be a mistake concerning life,-for we are told, again and again, “The just shall live by faith;”-and a mistake concerning life is a vital mistake, and will be a fatal mistake to those who make it unless it be corrected and rectified by a power higher than their own. Therefore, we ought to give most earnest heed to that which lies near to the very heart of true religion, and which is, indeed, its very life. To the believer, faith is of the utmost importance. He should endeavor not to lose any of his graces; he should seek, by the power of the blessed Spirit, neither to lose patience, nor hope, nor love, nor any other grace or virtue; still, the root of true religion is faith so he must first of all see to that. If we fail in faith, we shall fail everywhere. I might almost say of faith, with regard to religion that it is like the heart, out of which are the issues of life. If faith be weak, we are weak all over,-for service, for suffering for everything; but when faith is strong, it imparts strength to all the members of the spiritual body, and the whole spiritual manhood is full of vigor. So, my brother, or sister, see thou first and foremost to thy faith. May God the Holy Spirit graciously strengthen it, and may our consideration of these four texts tend to the same end!

First, in time great change from condemnation to justification, these words are true: “The just shall live by faith;” and, secondly, using a very wide term to take in all the rest of our daily life,-in reference to what we have been accustomed to call sanctification,-these words are also true: “ The just shall live by faith.” It is the same life all the way through, and the same method of living that life, namely, by faith.”

I. First, then, In The Great Change From Condemnation To Justification, these words are true: “The just shall live by faith.”

We all need to be delivered from the condemnation, which is our due because of sin. When a man’s conscience is aroused to see the fearful penalty which he has incurred by his transgressions, he cries out for someone to rescue him from the death which looms before him as the result of his condemnation. He begins to seek a way of escape, and he tries all sorts of ways, and runs in them with great perseverance, and earnestness, and self-denial; but he makes a mistake as to every way of escape until he comes to this way, “The just shall live by faith.”

This is the famous text which was the means of the emancipation of the soul of Martin Luther. I have stood at the bottom of the Santa Scala, or holy staircase, at Rome, which is superstitiously believed to be the very one down which the Savior came from Pilate’s hall; I have never gone up those stairs, because no one may go up them except upon his knees, and I would not do that; but I have walked up and down the steps by the side of them. There are certain hole’s cut in the wooden floor which encases the marble staircase, and that wooden floor has been worn away many time by the pilgrims’ knees. There are places cut,-where the priests say that the blood of Jesus fell,-in order to enable the poor votaries of superstition to kiss the spot where the blooddrops fell. I have seen scores of men and women going up that staircase on their bended knees, for they are told that there are great indulgences to be obtained by crawling up those stairs. Luther was doing this, for he had gone to Rome determined to get rid of his sins, if possible; and while he was in the middle of that slavish toil, seeking to gain everlasting life by his penance’s, this text came into his mind,-he had read it in the Bible in the monastery,-”The just shall live by faith;” and, to the astonishment of those who looked on, he rose from his knees, never to go up the Santa Scala any more in that fashion, for he had discovered that which he was looking for, the true way of living; and you know that it was not long before he wanted to tell others of the life and peace that he had discovered. An old monk, who knew something about these truths, but who did not want to have any noise made concerning them, said to him, “Go thou back to thy cell, and live near to God, and do not make a stir.” But God did not mean him to go back to his cell, and he began to speak, and very soon the world knew that a mighty change had been wrought, but it all came, instrumentally, through Luther learning this great truth, “The just shall live by faith.”

If I am addressing any who are trying to procure eternal life by their own works;-if you have mended your ways a good deal, it was time you did so;-if you have obtained a great many virtues to which you were strangers before, I am very glad to hear it, for it was your duty to do so;-but, if you are hoping, by any such means, to put away your sin, oh that some voice, more potent than mine, would speak not only to your ear, but to your heart, and say, “The just shall live by faith”! It is well that you have forsaken the ale-bench, it is right that you have abstained from profane language, it is good that you are honest, it is most commendable that you are seeking to be a comfort to your friends at home, and to observe all the laws of domestic and social life; but if you are seeking, in this way, to obtain eternal life, you will miss the object of your search. It is not so that you can be made just in the sight of God, or that you can secure true spiritual life, for “the just shall live by faith,” that is, by faith in Jesus Christ. You know “the old, old story,” but I will tell it you once again. To obtain life, you must believe in that dear Son of God who came to earth, and took our nature, and took our sin, and was made a curse for us that we might be no more a curse, and died, “the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” Your faith must be fixed on what he did, not on what you can do; and on what he suffered, not on what you can suffer by way of repentance, despondency and distress of soul. You must look right away from anything there is within or about you, or anything you can possibly perform or achieve, to the ransom price paid by Christ upon the cross of Calvary, for you must live-you can live only-by faith in Jesus Christ, for “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight”

Some, however, place a great deal of reliance in various forms of religious observances, as Luther himself did until his eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit. If that is your case, my dear friend, let me say that it is well that you should attend the house of God, and I am glad that you do; but if you get the idea that you are to be saved because you go so many times a week to the assembly of the saints, you are making a fatal mistake. It is well to search the Scriptures; but if you imagine that the searching of them will save you,-if you think that in them there is eternal life,-you will find that there is something else to be done before you can get that great blessing, namely, coming to Christ that you may have eternal life, for you will search the Scriptures in vain if you regard that exercise as one which merits salvation. It is well that you have begun to pray; but all the praying in the world, if it be relied on as a ground of salvation, is like a sandy foundation for a man to build on. You may weep over your sinful state, your tears may flow until, like Niobe, you are transformed into a perpetual fountain; but salvation comes not so. “The just shall live by faith.” All the devotional exercises in which you can possibly engage, in public or in private, with all the so called “sacraments” thrown in, and all the priestly efficacy of which men dream,-even if there were such a thing in reality,-all this could not save you. “The just hall live by faith.” This is the only way of living that God has ordained for sinners dead in trespasses and sins.

There is a notion more common, perhaps, than either of these two, of salvation by works or ceremonies, and that is the idea of a certain amount of terror of conscience, which is often confounded with true conviction of sin. According to the ideas of some people, this state must be passed through before you can be saved. You must dream about dreadful things at night, and wake in the morning full of horror and confusion, and go about your business in the utmost conceivable despair. So some say, and it is true that there are many who do come to God in that way. I do not doubt that there are thousands who reach the Celestial City by way of the Slough of Despond; nay, how can I doubt it, when I went that way myself? Yet that is not the best way; it is our wandering and blundering that leads us to go that way, for the just shall not live by despondency, but by faith. The just shall not find eternal life through terror and despair; but they shall find it through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophets of Baal were under a gross delusion when “they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them;” but they are equally deluded who think that, by lacerating their conscience, and by endeavoring to make themselves miserable, they shall thereby obtain the favor of God. That is not true, you may even be put into the mortar of conviction, and brayed there with the pestle of the law until you are ground to atoms, and there is no hope left in you; but that is not the way of salvation. “Believe and live” is the gospel precept. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “The just shall live by faith.” Do not, therefore, try and set up another mode of salvation, “for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ;” and salvation comes by building upon that foundation, resting and relying only upon him.

There are, no doubt, others who are looking in various directions for salvation, but we may say to them all that it is of no use which way they look,-this way or that, up, down, to the right, or to the left,-until they look by faith to Jesus Christ; but, oh, what life comes streaming into the soul as soon as the eye is fixed upon Jesus! In the case of some of us, the thrill that went through our heart, directly we looked to Jesus, was like a little heaven. It seemed to us as if we were suddenly brought into a new world. To me, believing in Jesus brought such a change in me, at once, that I can only compare it to the experience of a blind man, who, having never seen a ray of light, should be suddenly taken out in the night, set under the sky studded with stars, and then should have an instantaneous operation performed upon his eyes so that in a moment he could see clearly. Oh, how ravished he would be, how astonished, how delighted! How every little star would seem to twinkle for him! How every beam of light would seem to make him glad! He would clap his hands, he would leap for joy in the new sense of sight, and the newly discovered pleasure which it had brought into his life. This is the kind of bliss that comes through believing in Jesus. It is like the discovery of buried treasure; there comes such a flood of delight upon the soul as must be experienced to be understood, for it cannot be described. It does not come to all so suddenly, for some eyes are opened gradually; first they see men, as trees, walking; and, by-and-by, they see more fully; but, however it is manifested, the change that faith works in the soul is truly marvelous. Beloved, he that believeth in Jesus is “justified from all things, from which he could not be justified by the law of Moses.”

He relies upon a perfect atonement that puts away the whole sin of the man’s earthly existence, and he rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Man, thou wilt die; the sentence already passed upon thee will be executed ere long unless thou believest in Jesus, for “he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” But, man, if thou believest in Jesus, thou canst never be executed for thy sin. For thee, there is no hell; for thee, there is no undying worm, no Tophet, no Gehenna; there cannot be any of these things, for thou hast no sin now. “Thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee.” “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Faith brings life, and liberty, and love, and everlasting joy into the heart; but nothing else will do this.

This then, is the first sense of the expression, “The just shall live by faith;” and many of us have realized it, and bless God that we have. I wish that all in this place did not only know about faith, but really had faith. Oh, that some might have it now, and that, ere this congregation shall break up, each of them might be able to say, “I do believe in Jesus. I repose myself upon him. Sink or swim, I fall into his arms. Come what may, Christ shall be to me, from this time forward, all my salvation and all my desire”! O blessed Spirit, work this faith in every heart here present now, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

II. Now comes the second part of the subject, namely, that The Whole After-Life Of The Christian, After He Is Made To Live, Is Still By Faith.

Note, first, that the believer, after his conversion, lives in no other way but by faith. No Christian remains a Christian except by still believing. Where we began, there we continue; we looked unto Jesus at the first, and we are still looking unto Jesus. We came to him at the first, and we are still coming unto him “as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.” We know of no future ground of hope that can be any stronger or better than this nay, we know of no other than believing in Jesus Christ. I beg you, beloved Christian people, try to avoid all attempts to live in any other way.

There are some professing Christians who live upon their devotions. Now, no Christian can live without prayer,-without praise-without feeding upon the Word of God. Nobody ought to attempt to do that; but if any man should begin to say, “Now I can do without faith in Jesus, because I read so many chapters of a morning, and I spend so much time in prayer, and I also attend so many public services;”-ah! my brother, you have wandered out of the right track now, for you are not living by faith. But if you pray in faith, and praise in faith, and read the Word of God in faith, then all these things shall become helpful to your spiritual life; but if faith be left out, all these things shall be but as mere husks which contain no wheat in them whatsoever. I do fear that there are some professors of religion who feel perfectly satisfied if they have gone through the regular routine of the day. I admire habits of devotion; they should be maintained; but if the mere habit is mistaken for living power, and if it takes the place of coming continually to Jesus by living personal faith, you will soon find yourselves in a very strange case. “The just shall live by faith,” and not by these things apart from faith. Faith puts power into them, but they have no living force apart from faith.

There are some other Christians who try to live by their works. They are believers in Jesus, but they have got into such a state of heart that they are happy, and restful, and comfortable, only when they can have a certain amount of activity in the service of God. But if, through illness, or any other cause, they are hindered from active service, they are full of doubts, and begin to think that they are not saved, which proves that they were at least somewhat resting upon their activities. Now by all means, let us be active in the service of our Savior; let us be zealous in good works, for to this end were we called, and this is for the glory of God. But, beloved, if I were to begin to draw comfort as to my soul’s salvation from the fact of my diligence in preaching the gospel, I should be making a great mistake; or if you began to draw comfort from your earnestness in the Sabbath-school class, or if you should rest upon your devotion to various benevolent societies, or upon anything that you do, you would be upon the wrong track altogether. You would be feeding where God would not have you feed. Do all you can do, but live by faith. Serve God with all your might, but never make your service into a prop or pillow of confidence; for, even when we have done all that we ought to do, we are still unprofitable servants; and we must bring our best works, and ask forgiveness for their imperfections, even as there was a sacrifice appointed for the sins of Israel’s holy things. What sin there is even in our holy things, so that they might sooner damn us than save us! Let us put no confidence in them, nor try to live by them as some do.

There are other Christians who live by feeling. Indeed, I have heard some advocate that we ought to live by feeling. Now, a true Christian man cannot be without feeling. God forbid that he should! Feelings of sorrow, feelings of joy, feelings of spiritual depression, and feelings of holy elation,-these are all necessary in their time and place; but to live by feeling, and to gauge our security by our state of feeling, would be truly dreadful work, because our feelings are more fickle than the weather. It is fine just now; but in another half-hour, it may rain. In such a variable climate as ours, we can never reckon for long upon any sort of weather; and as to our hearts, and our feelings, so dependent upon our bodily health, or upon the kindness or the unkindness of our friends,-so dependent upon a thousand little things almost too minute to be observed,-if we begin estimating our safety by our ups and downs, we shall feel lost and then feel saved a hundred times a day. That plan will not do. “The just shall live by faith.” I like to believe in Jesus, when I have the worst feelings, just as firmly as when I have the best of them, and to trust in God just the same when my full assurance in him brims with delight as I did when my soul was emptied by sorrow. Do you think I put that sentence the wrong way upwards? I did not, for it is easier, I believe, to trust Christ in the depths of sorrow than it is when you are high up in your stirrups, and feel yourself to be somebody; for then, almost insensibly, you get away from the sole foundation of your standing by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are some, too, who live very much, even in religious matters, upon their outward circumstances. There are some who, if they become poor, almost give up all profession of religion. They say that they have not proper clothe in which to come to God’s house, and that they do not like to be seen by people who knew them when they were in better circumstances; so that their religion depends upon how many shillings a week they can earn, and that is a very poor concern. But, if we have learnt to live by faith, we shall follow the Lord in rags if he gives us nothing better to wear; and if we have not a shoe to our foot, we shall go after him all the same. Let us be in whatever condition we may, we shall never be worse off than he was; so come poverty, or come wealth; come the lowest possible ebb of outward fortunes; yet, still, if we live by faith, we shall keep close to the heels of the Crucified. God grant us grace to live above our outward circumstances! Remember that inspired message, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Thus, you see that the Christian lives in no other manner than by faith.

And, beloved friend, he lives in all forms of his life by faith. I can only speak, for a minute or two, upon this thought. In one form of his life, the Christian is a child at home with his Father. Well, as a child, he lives by faith, for “as many as received him, to them gave he power to become! the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name’, Our sonship and adoption remain to us matters of faith, and we continually look up to God our Father by faith. As his children, we receive teaching, supplies, food, clothing, and everything, and we receive all by faith. To the child of God, faith is the hand that takes everything from God. I am his child, and I know that he will supply my every need; but faith prompts me to tell him my need,-yea, makes me feel that he knows what I need before I ask him, and so I take from him what he freely gives by believing in him.

The Christian is, next, described in the Word of God as a pilgrim. He is journeying to “a city that bath foundations;” but, all the way there, he goes by faith, he never takes a step heavenward except by faith. An unbelieving step is not a step towards heaven. All the progress that is made by any child of God is due to faith.

The Christian is also described as a warrior; and there is no fighting except by faith, and no weapon of defense like the great shield of faith. No victory is won by doubting; no devil is ever overthrown by desponding. Mistrust of God never yet put to flight the armies of the aliens; unbelief never stopped the mouths of lions, or quenched the violence of fire, or divided the sea, or conquered the land. Point to the wonders wrought by unbelief if you can. All it can show is ruin and desolation; for unbelief is powerless except for mischief. The just, when he fights, must fight by faith, and faith is the victory that overcometh the world.

The Christian is also continually described in the Word of God as a servant. Now, all service done for God must be done by faith. One of the first objects of our service must be to please God, but “without faith it is impossible to please him.” O brothers and sisters, if we always go to our work, as Christians, saying, “I am going to do it by faith,” how differently we should act from what we now do! We sit down, and think of our many infirmities, and we say, “We shall never accomplish that task.” But, sirs, have you forgotten the everlasting arms and the omnipotent might of Jehovah? We observe how difficult the duty is, and how strong the opposition, and so we go to work very mistrustfully; but if, instead thereof, we were to say, “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain,” we should be sure to conquer. Service rendered in unbelief is like a vessel marred on the potter’s wheel; but as long as faith can turn it round upon the wheel, and fashion it, it will come to something that the Master can use. Thou must believe, for so wilt thou be able to serve. “Trust in the Lord, and do good;” but be sure to do the first thing. The trusting must come before the doing, and be mingled with all the doing, or else it will be a very poor piece of doing indeed.

Well, then, in any capacity in which a Christian is found, he must always be believing. If you have to go home, and go to bed, and lie there for a month and suffer, go upstairs believing that the Lord will make your bed in all your sickness. If you have to go back to a business where everything seems to be going wrong with you, go in faith, and know that he has said, “Bread shall be given thee, thy waters shall be sure.” Or if you are going, next Sunday, to teach a class in the Sunday-school, or going round with your tracts in a district where you have to call upon some ugly-minded people, go in faith. Has not the Lord said, “Certainly I will be with thee. I will bless thee, and help thee “? Then, go in faith. It will change the whole color and tenor of your life if you remember that “the just shall live by faith,” whatever form his life takes.

Very rapidly, let me also say to you that this is the way the just are to live in every case and every condition. The prophet Habakkuk is the one who first uttered these words: “The just shall live by his faith.” I wonder whether he fully understood them himself. It is always pleasant to see whether a doctor takes his own physic, and whether a preacher practices his own precepts. I think this is how Habakkuk understood these words; here is his practical exposition of them, in the last verses of his prophecy: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” Why, it is a hymn, is it not?-the hymn of a man who saw the bread going, and the meat going, and the oil going, and everything going, and yet he rejoiced in the Lord. This is what he meant by living by faith,-faith, you see, about fruit,-faith about flocks,-faith about cattle,- faith about fig trees,-faith about everything,-yea, a faith that does without anything,-a faith that can take nothing, and be content with it because it finds every thing in God,-faith under the worst conceivable conditions. This is how the just are to live.

And as they are to live thus at their worst, so should they live at their best,-still by faith. I was told of a friend, who walked with that blessed man of God, Mr. George Muller of Bristol, and who made the remark to him that he thought he had £5,000 balance one year. “Yes,” said Mr. Muller, “God had been very gracious, and we had a large balance.” “And I think,” said the friend, “for some years, you have always had a large balance.” “Yes,” he replied, “we have.” “Well,” asked the other, “do you now, my brother, trust in God just as simply as you did when you had to call the children together to pray because there was no bread to give them for dinner, and God graciously sent you the dinner just at the right time? Is your faith just as simple? Do you walk by faith as you did then?” And that good man said, “Yes, my dear brother, I live by faith now as I did then, only a great deal more so, for I find I have more need of faith now to prevent me beginning to trust in what I have in store.” It is just so; if you are getting on in life, you need more faith to keep you from making a god of what you have, and trusting in it. Instead of less faith in time of prosperity, you will need even more. There are some people, you know, who lean upon God because they have no one else to lean upon. They are like that famous rider of whom Cowper sang, who was-

“Stooping down as needs he must
Who cannot sit upright.”

That is how it is with the faith of these people, and very good faith it is, too; but that faith is even nobler that has some apparent means of sitting upright, that does seem to have something to confide in, yet will not do it because it disdains to have even things visible, of the best and most powerful kind, to rest upon, but will rest on nothing but God. Why, ye props and buttresses, if I trust you today, I may want you tomorrow, and where shall I be then l No; as Abraham said to the king of Sodom, “I will not take from a thread even to a shoe latchet, I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abraham rich,” “so often have we to cast aside what is offered to us, and say,” I cannot and will not have it, lest my heart should, at any time, rely upon those gifts rather than upon my God.” You know how the devil spoke to God concerning Job, “Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the’ land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” That is what the devil said, but it was not true; yet, in some cases, there is a danger of it getting to be true. We are getting on so well, and the hedge is all around us. Ah! but we must not get to love the hedge, or it will be taken from us. If you love the fields, and the gold, and the silver, and begin to confide in them, you will lose them. “The just shall live by faith,”-faith as much in the summer weather as in the winter cold; see to that matter, O thou who art the child of God!

“The just shall live by faith “in every condition. When he comes to die, he shall live by faith. I recollect what a negro said about his master who was a Christian man. The minister said to the negro, “Sam, is your master dying?” “Yes, sir,” he said, “he be dying.” “And how is he dying, Sam?” “Sir,” said the negro, “he be dying full of life.” That is how a Christian should die, “full of life.” The life of God is within him even to the last. Till he gets into glory, “the just shall live by faith.” Ay, and before he gets there, he shall taste some of the joys of heaven, for living by faith means living in the heavenly; it means getting to anticipate the glory that is yet to be revealed. Living by faith makes us live the life of God; and he that lives the’ life of God must, in some degree, live the life of heaven. Oh, to have it so developed, strengthened, and full-grown that, from this time forth, we may live by faith even to the end!

The Lord bless you, for Christ’s sake! Amen.

 

DISCLAIMER: Before you consult commentaries, sermons or other resources, first consult the Word of God, studying the Scriptures diligently (2Ti 2:15-note) and inductively (See inductive Bible study) in dependence on your Teacher, the Holy Spirit, Who Jesus promised would guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
 

THOUGHTS ON
INTERPRETATION
OF PROPHETIC BOOKS

 

In regard to the OT Prophetic books such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, and the 12 "Minor" Prophets, remember that the most accurate interpretation is derived by applying the following principles:

 

(1) Read the Scripture literally (unless the text is clearly figurative, e.g., Jesus said "I am the door..." Jn 10:9). If one interprets a text symbolically (allegorically, figuratively, spiritualizing) when that text makes good sense literally, one potentially opens themselves to the danger of inaccurate interpretation, for then the question arises as to who's "symbolic" interpretation is correct and how imaginative one should be in evaluating a "supposed symbol"? Many of the commentaries and sermons on the OT prophetic books unfortunately are replete with non-literal interpretations (except when it comes to Messianic Passages, which are usually interpreted literally). Therefore the watchword when reading any commentary on Old Testament prophecy is caveat emptor ("buyer beware"). Read all commentaries like the Bereans (Acts 17:11-note).

 

(2) Study the context which is always "king" in interpretation (don't take verses out of context.)

 

(3) Passages addressed to Israel should be interpreted as directed to the literal nation of Israel and should not be interpreted as addressed to the NT Church, an entity not mentioned in the Old Testament. The promises of Jehovah to the nation of Israel (e.g., see Millennial Promises) remain valid (Jer 31:35, 36, 37, Nu 23:19, Lk 21:33) and have not been passed on to the NT Church because Israel has "defaulted" (See study Israel of God). Remember that while Scripture has only one correct interpretation, there can be many legitimate applications (See Application), and therefore the OT prophetic books are extremely applicable in the lives of NT believers.

 

(4) Scripture is always the best commentary on Scripture. While an attempt has been made to list resources that adhere to these basic interpretative guidelines, not all the works listed in these collections have been read in detail. Therefore should you discover a resource you feel is NOT conservative and/or orthodox, please email your concerns.

 

Related Resources:

 

Inductive Bible Study - Guidelines to Assure Accurate Interpretation

Inductive Bible Study Interpretation of Prophetic Scripture

Interpretative Views of the Revelation of Jesus Christ
Allegorical Interpretation - Tony Garland
Interpreting Symbols - Tony Garland
Basic Considerations in Interpreting Prophecy - John Walvoord

Millennium - Biblical descriptions of this time on earth, primarily from the OT prophets

 


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