A Study of Habakkuk: The Patient Love of God

In the summer 2020 message series “For the Love,” the Clear Creek Community Church Teaching Team will examine one of the least known sections of the Bible, the books known as the Minor Prophets, to better understand the great love of God and our faithful response to that love. Join with us in reading each book along the way! Each Sunday afternoon we will post an introductory video by The Bible Project and a 5-day reading plan with reflection questions to prepare you to hear the following Sunday’s message.


DAY 1—Read Habakkuk 1:1-11

Unlike many of the other prophetic books, Habakkuk doesn’t begin with any historical or biographical information. We don’t hear about who was king or which nation is being addressed; we know nothing about the prophet’s family or hometown. But that doesn’t mean we can’t know anything about Habakkuk as a person. Take another look at verses 1-4: What does Habakkuk do in response to trouble? What does his complaint tell us about his concerns and priorities?

How does the Lord promise to respond to Hosea’s concerns? What does this tell us about God’s passion for righteousness and justice among his people?

 

APPLY—Although Habakkuk hopes for rescue and relief, God instead answers with a promise of coming judgment. How do you respond when God hasn’t changed your circumstances in the way that you hoped? What can we learn from Habakkuk’s example of faithful lament in suffering?

 

 

DAY 2—Read Habakkuk 1:12-2:3

Habakkuk is clearly unhappy with the Lord’s response, questioning the justice of using a godless nation to punish God’s own people. However, what does verse 12 reveal about Habakkuk’s faith? What does he believe about the character of God?

How does Habakkuk describe the enemy who is coming against his nation? What does this tell us about who God will use to accomplish his purposes?

 

APPLY—The Lord answers Habakkuk as Chapter 2 begins, with an assurance that his plans will come to pass, even if it seems slow. When have you experienced God’s timing not aligning with your preferences? In what ways can his slowness be a mercy to us? How can an eternal perspective help us to trust him as we wait?

 

 

DAY 3—Read Habakkuk 2:4-5

Our reading today was short, but it contains a phrase so significant that it is quoted in the New Testament three times. While these verses are primarily concerned with the unrighteous nation that is coming to conquer Israel, verse 4 contains a contrasting phrase: but the righteous shall live by his faith. Let’s look at Romans 1:16-17, where Paul quotes Habakkuk to emphasize the importance of the gospel. What connection does Paul make between righteousness and faith? What does this have to do with the power of the gospel for salvation?

Paul also quotes this verse in Galatians 3:11. What is he contrasting with faith in this passage? How does he imply that we are justified?

 

APPLY—Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 in order to explain our justification: that we are made righteous by receiving Christ’s perfect righteousness and eternal life through faith in his work on our behalf. The author of Hebrews extends this by applying it to our continuing faithfulness as Christians—not only living forever with him, but living by faith today in and through his righteousness. Read Hebrews 10:36-39. What does it look like to endure suffering by faith? Why is it important that our faith in Christ is an ongoing reality rather than just a one-time event?

 

 

DAY 4—Read Habakkuk 2:6-20

In this passage, the Lord assures Habakkuk that the godless nation that is coming will not escape the wrath of God. He pronounces a series of woes against them, displaying his awareness of their depravity and his judgment to come. There are five statements of woe in our reading today—what sins are being condemned? In what ways will the punishments fit the crimes?

The series of woes is broken by a clear proclamation of God’s greatness in verse 14: For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Jeremiah 31:31-34 expands on this idea, discussing the New Covenant that began with Christ’s coming. How is this an Already/Not Yet promise (both already happening but not yet completely fulfilled)?

 

APPLY—The chapter closes with an assurance of the Lord’s reign in verse 20. How does this statement contrast with the depiction of the idols in the preceding verses? How can faith in God’s sovereignty transform our thoughts and choices? What kind of speech does it silence?

 

 

DAY 5—Read Habakkuk 3

Our reading today is a prayer of Habakkuk’s written in poetic form, most likely to be sung congregationally—notice the musical references throughout (see Psalms 6-7 for comparison). The song begins with Habakkuk remembering the past works of the Lord and praying that he would act again. Why do you think he prays that God would in wrath remember mercy (3:2)? How popular do you think that worship song would be today?

Habakkuk uses poetic imagery in verses 3-15 to recount God’s past salvation of Israel, primarily in the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan. Though the language is often more picturesque than obvious, to what specific events do you think he is referring?

 

APPLY—By the end of the book, Habakkuk’s faith has grown, although his circumstances haven’t changed. He closes by declaring that the Lord is his source of joy, even if he loses everything else. If you had written verse 17, you probably wouldn’t have used Habakkuk’s agricultural references. What symbols of a fulfilled life would you list? Which of these is most difficult to consider losing? Do you believe that God is enough for you, even if those things were gone?


 

Mandy Turner