HABAKKUK’S FIRT COMPLAINT:
1:1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
Habakkuk was angry.
1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!
Habakkuk was angry that God had not heard his prayer and punished sinful Judah.
2:3 Why dost thou show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.
Habakkuk was angry with God for allowing him to see sinful acts from Judah. This was his burden. He was out of God’s will, self-righteous, impudent and a smart-aleck prophet who needed to be disciplined. He intended to tell God what to do.
1:4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceeds.
He was angry that the wicked were not being punished. He is NOT seeking God’s will; rather he is telling God what must be done!
GOD’S FIRST REPLY TO HABAKKUK:
God will punish wicked Judah with Babylon who will attribute its success to its pagan gods.
HABAKKUK’S ANGRY REPLY TO GOD:
1:12 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.
Habakkuk vehemently disagreed with God’s answer and rebuked God! First, he reminded God WHO HE IS: He is God! Second, Habakkuk says “we” shall not die –he includes even the wicked Hebrews. Third, “You, LORD, have established ‘them’ (Babylon) for destruction – not us. Fourth, ‘you, o mighty God, have established ‘them’ (your people) for correction.”
In essence, Habakkuk dared to CORRECT God!
It is vital to note that 1:12 sets the context of 2:1-2.
1:13 (14-17) Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and hold thy tongue when the wicked devours the man that is more righteous than he?
First, Habakkuk reminds God WHO HE IS – He cannot look at evil from Hebrew or Gentile. Second, “Why then have YOU, God, gone against your own character and looked (favorably) at the Babylonian’s evil by allowing them to punish your less-evil Hebrew children?” Habakkuk has accused God of going against His very own character? This is very very serious.
HABAKKUK PUBLICLY DARES GOD TO PROVE HIS LOGIC WRONG
2:1a I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower …
(1) Habakkuk chose the most visible public place in the city to defy God and His proclamation to punish Judah with Babylon.
(2) Habakkuk was not praying. He was a public watchman on a very public watchtower making a very loud public accusation against God.
(3) 2:1-2 must be understood in the context of the verses which immediately precede them.
2:1b … and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
(1) Convinced that he was right and God was wrong (1:13), Habakkuk was not interested in God’s reply. Rather he was looking forward to his next rebuttal.
(2) Habakkuk was NOT “being still,” “waiting patiently” and was NOT waiting for God to “show me what you want me to do.” He was NOT “visualizing” and “looking to see” correction. Rather he couldn’t wait to rebut God once again (“…and what I shall answer when I am reproved”).
2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that reads it.
(1) This is a rebuke. It is not an answer to prayer. Since Habakkuk was in the very public watch-tower publicly challenging God to prove his argument wrong, God made it extremely plain to him and others that His answer to Habakkuk would stand. God is openly harshly rebuking the smart aleck prophet.
(2) Habakkuk was NOT “writing down what God told him to do.” Rather, God was telling Habakkuk to “Write down what HE was going to do.”
2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
(1) Yes, we need “to worship God no matter how He answers and, yes, “we need to wait for God’s vision.” But the context is God rebuking an arrogant smart-aleck prophet whose soul was “lifted up.”
(2) “The just shall live by faith” should be included in every sermon about Habakkuk. In its context it was made to rebuke an arrogant egotistical prophet.
(1) When you ask God for something, be careful. He may not answer your prayer in the manner you expect.
(2) Always pray allowing God’s will to take priority over your wn will.
(3) Don’t ever challenge God. He is smarter than you. He knows the end from the beginning. He is transcendent.
(4) Remember who you are – a sinner saved by grace, a child of God, a child of a loving Father who knows what is best.
(5) If you dare to publicly challenge God, be prepared to be openly and publicly corrected.