Faith Overrides Despair

Key Verse: “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”
—Habakkuk 3:2

Selected Scripture:
Book of Habakkuk

HABAKKUK’S NAME MEANS ‘embracer,’ one who takes another in his arms, and presses him to his heart. Not much is known about his life. His prophecy was given during the reign of Jehoiakim (628-617 BC). Habakkuk was a man of faith, a prophet of faith. He believed in God’s mercy and desired that the Almighty exercise this quality upon the nation of Israel.

It was a burden to Habakkuk to deliver God’s message of coming doom on Israel. The prophecy is dramatic in form, a dialogue between God and the prophet. The prophet loved Israel even though iniquity and oppression were being committed. He writes for God saying, “The law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” (ch. 1:4) He hears God say that he would raise up the Chaldeans (Babylon), and that they would possess lands that were not theirs.—vs. 6

Habakkuk’s faith shines out in verses twelve through thirteen, saying, “Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction. Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”

The dialogue between Habakkuk and God changes. You wouldn’t just punish us and not the Chaldeans would you? Next the prophet says that he would stand upon his watch, and upon his tower and see what God would say to him.—ch. 2:1

In verse three God answers Habakkuk by telling him to write down the vision, make it so plain that anyone, at the appointed time, could read it and follow it. God said the nation would go into captivity at his appointed time. God’s punishment upon the nation would definitely take place.

Our lesson is about faith, “The just shall live by his faith.” (ch. 2:4) In chapter three, verse seventeen, the faith of Habakkuk shines out. He says, “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour 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 God of my salvation.”—vss. 17,18

Though God would severely chastise his people, Habakkuk knew that he could still have faith in him. Faith has been defined as “The substance [understanding] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1) Again, “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”—Heb. 11:6

Habakkuk had faith in Almighty God even though he knew God was going to punish his people for their wickedness. Let all who claim him, develop this same faith. The Apostle Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 in Hebrews 10:38, and says that such “receive the promise.”—Heb. 10:36

Dawn Bible Students Association
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