BibleProject - Old Testament - Lesson 37

Habakkuk - BibleProject

Habakkuk is a book of the Old Testament that contains a dialogue between the prophet Habakkuk and God. Habakkuk is unique because it is not a message from God to the people but a message from a person to God. Habakkuk's main concern is why God allows evil to exist in the world. The book is divided into three chapters. In chapter one, Habakkuk complains to God about the wickedness and violence in Judah, and God responds by saying that He will send the Babylonians to punish them. In chapter two, Habakkuk complains about God's response, saying that the Babylonians are even more wicked than the people of Judah, and God responds by saying that the Babylonians will be punished in due time. In chapter three, Habakkuk responds to God's answers with a prayer and a hymn of praise. The book ends with a statement of faith in God's sovereignty.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject - Old Testament
Lesson 37
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Habakkuk - BibleProject

I. Introduction

A. Historical and Cultural Context

B. Author and Date

C. Literary Context

D. Structure

II. Habakkuk 1

A. Habakkuk's First Complaint

B. The Lord's First Answer

III. Habakkuk 2

A. Habakkuk's Second Complaint

B. The Lord's Second Answer

IV. Habakkuk 3

A. Habakkuk's Prayer and Response to God

B. Habakkuk's Hymn of Praise

V. Application

A. What Habakkuk Teaches Us about God

B. What Habakkuk Teaches Us about Ourselves

  • By watching this video, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the Old Testament, including its literary design and flow of thought. You will learn about the different sections of the Old Testament, including the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Major Prophets, and Minor Prophets. You will also gain insights into the stories, themes, and messages of each of these sections and how they contribute to the overall narrative of God's relationship with humanity.
  • By studying Genesis, you will gain a deeper understanding of the Old Testament and its key themes and characters, as well as the literary features of the book, such as its structure, style, and genre. The creation story is a key part of the book, as are the stories of Abraham and the patriarchs, the fall and sin, the flood and Noah, and God's covenant with Israel. Additionally, Genesis introduces readers to the Old Testament and sets the stage for the Pentateuch and Books of Moses, while also introducing many themes and motifs that continue throughout the Bible.
  • Discover the captivating stories of the patriarchs in Genesis Part 2, exploring themes of covenant, God's sovereignty, human responsibility, faith, and obedience.
  • Explore the Bible's book of Exodus to gain insight into God's rescue of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, the significance of the covenant and law, and its connection to the New Testament.
  • Gain insight into the book of Exodus and its themes of salvation and redemption, revealing God's character through his interactions with Israel, with significant influence on Jewish and Christian traditions and connections to the New Testament through its foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
  • By studying Leviticus with The Bible Project, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical and literary context, themes, and structure of this important book in the Old Testament. You will also learn about the significance of Leviticus for understanding the Torah and its relevance for Christians today.
  • By studying The Bible Project's lesson on Numbers, you'll comprehensively understand its structure, themes, and significance, gaining insight into the journey of the Israelites in the wilderness, God's guidance, rebellion, priesthood, and offerings, as well as its historical, theological, and contemporary relevance.
  • Explore Numbers' authorship, context, structure, and theology to gain a comprehensive understanding of its significance to the Pentateuch and the Old Testament, as well as its relevance to the Christian faith today.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the book of Joshua, including its historical context, literary genre, and summary. You will learn about the book's themes, such as God's faithfulness, obedience, and judgment, and its significance in foreshadowing Christ's work and providing historical and theological implications.
  • Explore the historical and cultural context, literary design, and theological significance of the book of Judges in the Old Testament, and learn how it fits into the broader biblical storyline, including its relevance for today.
  • Explore the Book of Ruth to understand its historical context, literary features, themes of loyalty and faithfulness, redemption, the kinsman-redeemer's role, and its Old Testament significance.
  • Studying the Book of Samuel provides insight into the rise of the Israelite monarchy, the lives of Saul and David, and the importance of obedience to God, covering themes of leadership and kingship with the presence of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • By exploring the story of Absalom in 2 Samuel and the broader context of the Old Testament Historical Books, you will gain insight into the themes and messages of these books, as well as their historical and modern-day significance.
  • Through the study of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, you will gain a deeper understanding of the history of Israel and Judah, as well as valuable spiritual lessons from these Old Testament books.
  • By studying this lesson, you understand the historical and literary aspects of 1 and 2 Chronicles, emphasizing God's sovereignty, covenant faithfulness, worship, and obedience.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the historical context, key themes, and modern applications of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, enriching your understanding of faith, community, and commitment to God's Word.
  • You will gain an understanding of the book of Esther, a narrative in the Hebrew Bible that tells the story of a Jewish woman named Esther who becomes queen in the Persian court and, with the help of her cousin Mordecai, saves the Jews from genocide orchestrated by the villain Haman. The story highlights God's sovereignty and providential care, and the feast of Purim celebrates the Jews' victory.
  • By studying the Book of Job, you will explore the complexities of human suffering, the search for divine wisdom, and the tension between God's sovereignty and human limitations within a unique literary structure.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Psalms, including its background, structure, authorship, and theology. You will also learn about the various themes and motifs present in the Psalms, which will help you better understand and appreciate this important book in the Old Testament.
  • By studying Proverbs, you will understand the definition and purpose of wisdom, the fear of the Lord, and the personification of wisdom in the book. You will also gain insights into the literary structure of Proverbs and the themes of the book, including the importance of listening to wisdom, the power of words, and the value of hard work.
  • In the Ecclesiastes lesson, you gain insights into the book's structure, themes, and significance, while exploring the search for meaning, vanity, and the importance of fearing God and enjoying life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the literary features, interpretation, theology, and application of the book Song of Songs, including its authorship, historical and cultural context, allegorical and literal interpretation, and its teachings on God and human love, sexuality, and relationships.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Isaiah's historical context, literary features, major themes, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover how Isaiah's prophetic message of judgment and hope for Jerusalem evolves, as it predicts the fall of Israel's kingdom and envisions a new, purified Jerusalem where God's kingdom will be restored through a future messianic king, uniting all nations in peace.
  • Through this lesson, you will gain understanding of the book of Jeremiah, including its historical and cultural context, literary features, major themes and message, and significance in the Old Testament.
  • In this lesson, you learn about the Book of Lamentations, its structure, themes, and the role of God in the midst of suffering and divine judgment, while ultimately highlighting His faithfulness and mercy.
  • In the book of Ezekiel, you follow the story of a priest named Ezekiel who has a vision of God's glory riding on a royal throne chariot, and is commissioned by God to accuse Israel of rebellion and warn them of their impending destruction due to their covenant violations and rampant social injustice, while also providing a small glimmer of hope for the future.
  • By viewing this lesson on Daniel, you will gain understanding of its structure, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, gaining knowledge about living as faithful exiles in a hostile culture, God's sovereignty and faithfulness in times of trial, and remaining faithful to God even in difficult circumstances.
  • Through this lesson, you grasp the complexities of Hosea, discovering the book's themes, messages, and its role in the Old Testament, emphasizing the relationship between Israel's unfaithfulness and God's unwavering love.
  • By studying the book of Joel, you will gain insight into the historical and cultural context of Judah, the literary features of prophetic literature, and the themes of repentance, restoration, and the Day of the Lord. Joel's prophecy also has significance in the New Testament as it is quoted by Peter at Pentecost, emphasizing the fulfillment of Joel's vision through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
  • In the Amos lesson, you explore its historical context, literary features, and themes, enhancing your understanding of justice, the Day of the Lord, and God's sovereignty within the Old Testament.
  • By studying Obadiah, you will gain insight into the historical context and literary features of this prophetic oracle. You will learn about the pride of Edom, their judgment, and the hope for Israel. Through understanding the significance of Obadiah in the Old Testament, you will have a deeper appreciation for the themes and message of this book.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into Jonah's themes, including God's mercy, human rebellion, repentance, and the significance of mission, while also understanding its connections to other biblical narratives.
  • Studying the book of Micah will give you an understanding of its historical context, literary genre, prophetic message of judgment and restoration, and insights into God's character and how He interacts with His people.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the historical context, structure, and themes of the book of Nahum, learning about God's sovereignty, justice, and the relevance of these concepts in today's world.
  • Studying Habakkuk will deepen your understanding of how to wrestle with difficult questions about God's character and the problem of evil and respond with faith and trust in God's sovereignty.
  • In this lesson, you explore the book of Zephaniah, gaining insights into its background, context, literary features, themes, and significance in the Old Testament, including the central message of the Day of the Lord and the promise of future hope.
  • You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Book of Haggai, including its historical and cultural context, literary structure, purpose and themes, individual sections, and theological significance in relation to the Exile, Restoration, and Messiah.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into Zechariah's historical context, structure, themes of restoration, the coming Messiah, God's sovereignty, and its significance in the Old Testament.
  • Discover the last book of the Old Testament and its themes, such as God's love for Israel, the importance of worship, and the coming of the messenger and the day of the Lord, as well as its connection to the New Testament, which prophesies the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and calls for a return to God.

BP100-37 Habakkuk

The Book of the Prophet Habakkuk. He lived during the final decades of Israel's southern kingdom, and it was a time of injustice and idolatry. He saw the rising threat of Babylon on the horizon, and that was not good news for anybody. But unlike the other prophets, Habakkuk does not accuse Israel. He doesn't even speak on God's behalf to the people. Rather, all of his words are addressed personally to God. And the book tells about her personal struggle, his journey of trying to believe that God is good when there is so much evil and tragedy in the world. And so Habakkuk words are actually poems of lament, and they're very similar to the laments that you find in the Book of Psalms. The poet lodges a complaint and then draws God's attention to suffering or injustice in the world, demanding that God do something. And knowing about this lament for Him, it's actually the key to understanding the design and message of this short book. Chapters one and two are framed as a back and forth argument between Habakkuk and God and the Prophet lodges two complaints to which God offers two responses. His first complaint is that life in Israel has become horrible. The Torah is neglected, resulting in violence and injustice, and it's all being tolerated by Israel's corrupt leaders. And Habakkuk is crying out asking God to do something, but nothing seems to change. But then all of a sudden God responds. He says that he's very aware of the corruption of his own people, Israel, and that he's summoning the armies of Babylon to bring down his justice on Israel. And very similar to the message of Micah or Isaiah, God says he will use this terrifying empire to devour Israel because of their injustice and evil. 

But her back has a problem with this answer. And so he offers his second complaint. He says Babylon is even worse than Israel. They're more corrupt. They're more violent. They've deified their own military power. They treat humans like animals, gathering them up like fish in a net. He says they devour nations and people groups in order to build their own empire. And so her backing says, How can you, a holy, good God, use such corrupt nations as your instruments in history? He demands an explanation. In fact, he depicts himself as a watchman on the city walls, waiting for God's response, which eventually comes. God tells him to get out some tablets and chisel and write down what he sees and hears. It's a vision about an appointed time in the future that even though it may seem slow in coming, it will eventually come. In fact, God says that the righteous person will live by their faith in this hope and vision. So what is this divine promise that Habakkuk is supposed to write down? It's that God will bring Babylon down. God says that the violence and oppression of the nations creates this never ending cycle of revenge, and that God will use this cycle to bring about the rise and fall of nations and the fact that God might for a time use a corrupt nation like Babylon does not mean that He endorses everything that they do. He holds all nations accountable to his justice. And so Babylon will fall along with any other nation that acts like them. God's promise is then elaborated by a series of five words that describe the kinds of oppression and injustice that's perpetrated by nations like Babylon. The first to target unjust economic practices like how wealthy people will charge ridiculous interest just to keep poor people in debt. 

And so they build their wealth through crooked means. The third woe is a critique of slave labor treating humans like animals and threatening them with violence if they don't produce. The fourth wall targets the abuse of alcohol by irresponsible leaders. While people are suffering under their bad leadership, their partying and wasting their money on sex and booze. And the last word exposes that idolatry, the engine that drives such nations. They have made money and power and national security into their gods, offering these allegiance at all costs. And so people become slaves to their own national empire. Now, the practices described here aren't unique to Babylon, but that's part of the point. Given the human condition, most nations eventually become Babylon. And so this is how God's answer to Habakkuk in this book becomes God's answer to all later generations, to anyone who lives in a world ruled by other Babylon's. But it leaves the question hanging Is God going to let the cycle, the rise and fall of Babylon like empires, go on forever? And that question is what Chapter three is about. We're told that this is a prayer of her back, and it begins by her back pleading with God to act now in the present like He has in the past in bringing down corrupt nations. And what follows is a very ancient poem. The first describes a powerful, terrifying appearance of God. It's very similar to the opening poems of Mike Nahum and similar to the appearance of God at Mt. Sinai in the Book of Exodus. There's cloud and fire and earthquake. When the Creator shows up to confront human evil, everybody will be paying attention. Habakkuk then goes on to describe this future defeat of evil as a future exodus. 

So just like God came as a warrior and he split the sea in his battle against Pharaoh, Habakkuk says that God will once more bring his judgment down on the head of the evil house. So Pharaoh, like Babylon, has become here an archetype of violent human nations. But at the same time, we're told that when God confronts evil, he will save his people and his anointed one. It's a reference to the King from the line of David. And so in this poem, the Exodus story of the past has become an image of the future Exodus God will perform. He will once again defeat evil and bring down the Pharaoh's and the Babylon's of this world. He'll bring justice to all people and rescue the oppressed and the innocent. And it's this hope that enables Habakkuk to conclude the book with hopeful praise. Even if the worlds falling apart with food shortage or drought or war or whatever, he will choose trust and joy in the covenant promises of God. And so Habakkuk, by the end of this book, becomes a shining example of how the righteous live by faith. Habakkuk recognizes just how dark and chaotic the world and our lives can become, and he invites us into a journey of faith, of trusting that God loves this world more than we do, and that He will one day deal with its evil. And that's what the book of Habakkuk is all about.