Lessons From Habakkuk
Habakkuk is different from the other prophets in a unique way. The other prophets take a message from God and deliver it to the people, but Habakkuk takes the concern of the people and addresses it to God. In this book are several lessons as applicable today as the day he first produced them.
The first lesson involves the supremacy of God. He reigns supreme in judgment. In 1:2-4 the prophet wrote of his concern that the wickedness of the nation was going unchecked. Habakkuk learned that God will judge and punish evil in His time not ours. The judgment may not come when we think it should, and it may not come how we think it should, but make no mistake -- it will come (2:3). None will escape when it is the determined time. God is also supreme in His rule over the nations. See 1:5; 3:6,12. God's supremacy is also seen over nature (3:3-11), and the course of history (2:3; 3:2).
A second lesson is the self-destructive nature of evil. Beginning in 2:6 the prophet takes a series of five woes upon the wicked, each emphasizing the seeds of destruction are in the deeds of the wicked. The woes are found in 2:6-8; 2:9-11; 2:12-14; 2:15-17. The principle of sowing and reaping as taught in Galatians 6:7,8 teaches the same principle.
The third lesson is an important one for Christians today. It is the need for courage in the face of crisis. 3:17 describes the setting where there is nothing left to eat, no figs, grapes, no grain from the field, no meat from the herds. In the midst of this situation the prophet declares, "Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will job in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength..." (3:18,19a). Can a worse crisis situation be imagined than one where there is no food? When the difficulties of life arise we need the same attitude as the prophet.
The fourth lesson involves the importance of faith. In the latter part of 2:4 the prophet writes, "the just shall live by his faith." When life does not go as we think it should; when God is not acting and reacting toward the world as we think He should; when events occur that we do not understand, then is faith needed more than ever. For faith is trusting God especially when we do not understand why things are as they are. How needed is this lesson for our world today.