THE BOOK OF FAITH by The Prophet of Faith, Habakkuk Print E-mail


By: the Prophet of Faith, Habakkuk

August 29, 2016, the Year of Our Lord


The Book of Habakkuk is the Old Testament book of faith.  It was written by Habakkuk, the prophet of faith to the house of Judah about 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.


His name means to embrace.  This is “a time to embrace”.  The message of Habakkuk is vital to America and the nations.  This is the season to worship, to take hold of God with all our hearts.  We must embrace God and one another as we watch the shakings of Heaven and earth on our planet.  The rain which fell on Louisiana came out of the sky with no warning.  More rain fell than has ever been recorded within a time period.


Our wisdom and strength is not enough to meet the demands of the day.   In Habakkuk we see a man deadly earnest, wrestling with the mighty problem of theodicy---the divine justice---in a topsy-turvy world.   (Theodicy – defense of God’s goodness.)   


Habakkuk’s prophecy is one of the most influential in the Holy Writ and served as the basis for the Protestant Reformation.  Through Luther’s commentary on Galatians, John Wesley was converted.


Hab. 2:4: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by faith.”


Rom 1:17: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by faith.”


Gal. 3; 11:  But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith.


Heb. 10:38: “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.”


The reformer Martin Luther said, “Habakkuk signifies an embrace, or one who embraces another.  He embraces his people, and takes them to his arms; he comforts them and holds them up, as one who embraces a weeping child, to quiet it with the assurance that, if God wills, it shall soon be better.”


The secret of faith is the love of God.  It is his release of love toward us that through his love we embrace God, and release faith.


There is a vacuum in every soul.  Each of us was created with an innate desire to love and to be loved.  When we fail to worship God, we will ardently run after other things to fill this void.  Only God can fill the void.  


Psa. 107:9: “He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.”


The Book of Habakkuk reveals the prophet’s struggle to “embrace” the ways of God.  Habakkuk first asks “how long” and “why” God will allow violence to go unchecked in His nation and among His people.  The answer is given that God is raising up the Babylonians to deal with this problem.  This brings even greater perplexity for the prophet cannot understand the righteousness of punishing the sinful nation of Judah by means of a more sinful nation. 


After praying and receiving fresh vision, Habakkuk finally “embraces” the justice of God’s ways by unreservedly “embracing” God Himself.  From this revelation flows his prophetic psalm of faith and confidence in God.


In January 2009 was the last time I preached out of Habakkuk.  It was right after the inauguration of President Barrack Hussein Obama.  I read that message again last night.  In there, I saw coming upon the earth escalation of same sex marriage, lawlessness, and unrighteous judges, shedding of innocent blood, immorality and persecution of Christians.  (You will find this message on the website, – Rest in the Day of Trouble.)  I knew that the election of President Obama meant judgment had been released upon our nation.  When we were attacked on 9-11-01, I knew that was a warning.  There was a temporary repentance.  However, even the pulpits were silent that God would allow the Assyrian to attack our nation.


As I studied my commentaries on this Book, I quote from Kelly Varner in his book, Rest in the Day of Trouble (1993), Destiny Image Publishers, Shippensburg, Pa.  “This book is a word from the Lord to America.  Even though its message is a warning, it is nevertheless filled with the promise of hope and comfort…America and the Church in America are in trouble.  There has never been a day like this.  We will need to experience the peace of God and rest in the day of trouble.  These are serious times for America.  We are a nation that votes for its own judgment, choosing money over morals.  The people of our nation are hurting.  The Chaldeans are not coming, they are already here.  Economic disaster, rampant immorality, and violence in our streets ravage the land.  So it was in the land of Judah centuries ago.  Out of that history comes the cry of a weary man of God.  Like Habakkuk of old, we are all crying, “How long?” and “When?”


The prophet resorted to prayer and received a vision from the Lord.  What did he see?  How does it relate to us today?  Habakkuk’s sob became a song. 


Within this book, for those who already know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you will be strengthened.  Those who are yet to give Him your heart will discover new hope and life.  It is good news.  The answer you desperately seek for your family, business, finances, local church, ministry and emotional well-being is written in the book.


Is our own national debt about to swallow us all?  Can hard-working Americans afford more and more taxes and health care premiums?   Will the wars continue to escalate?  The devastation of terrorist bombings happens more and more within our own borders; travesties of justice, corruption, social pressures on marriages.”

This is a quote from Kelly Varner in 1993.  It is a prophecy to our present day.


If we can see what Habakkuk saw almost three millennia ago, we will learn the secret of life.  We, the Church will have rest in the day of trouble.


Phil 3:12: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”


Jer. 29:13: “You shall seek me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart.”


A brief background of Bible history is necessary in order that we can understand Habakkuk’s day of trouble.  At that time, the Chaldeans (Babylonians) were sweeping westward but had not yet reached the capital city of Jerusalem.


Hab. 1:6: “I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.”


Habakkuk’s graphic descriptions of the Chaldean military exploits (Hab. 1: 6-11) may point to the date 605 B.C. when at the battle of Carchemish, Nebuchadnezzar’s forces proved their might and prowess by routing the Egyptians.


Their ruthless savagery is pictured by the prophet as a fisherman with rod and net.  The Babylonians sat beside a pond which had been stocked abundantly with human prey.  Pulling up fish after fish and eating to their hearts content.  Then dumped the surplus on the bank to die.


No wonder the prophet cried out!


This week ISIS boiled six Christians alive in vats of tar. (CP World). 


The prophet’s complaint centers in the age-old problem of theodicy, whereby the sovereignty and justice of God’s claims upon history are challenged by the overriding presence of the world’s evil.  Theodicy is a system of natural theology aimed at seeking to vindicate divine justice in allowing evil to exist. 


As Christians all of you will be faced with this question.  “Why the righteous suffer and the wicked seem to prevail?”  Let us settle in from the pulpit so that you will have the answer.


Habakkuk’s times had been prophesied by Isaiah 39: 6-7.  But in Isaiah’s time, it was Assyria whom Judah feared.  However, during the dangerous and turbulent times of King Jehoiakim, God raised up the literary prophet Habakkuk.  He was commissioned by the Lord to prophesy during those fateful days with his contemporary, Jeremiah. 


Habakkuk took up his pen to write during the last two or three decades of Judah’s history.  It may have been to Habakkuk that God first revealed how near the end really was.  Habakkuk knew the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah was full of injustice and bloodshed. 


Such were the times of Habakkuk.  Political unrest was the order of the day.  The economy, immorality and violence went unchecked from within and without.  The leaders of the land were not leaders at all, only slaves/puppets to those who put them into power. The prophet cried out, God do you see all this?  The answer lies in the key verse of Habakkuk’s prophecy.


Hab. 2:4: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by faith.”


Habakkuk is speaking of King Jehoiakim.  This is faith of expectancy.  The fullness of the “vision” was yet to come.  Over six centuries would come and go before the seer’s words would begin to be fulfilled.


In Habakkuk’s day, the law was “slacked” literally “chilled”.  It had been rendered ineffective, paralyzed.  It had come to be looked upon as being without force or authority.  Because of unrighteous judges, true law and justice had been set at naught.  Most forms of judgment were corrupted; hence life and property were insecure.  The wicked were hemming in the righteous.  Miscarriage of justice was the order of the day.  Ensnaring the God-fearing by fraud, the ungodly perverted all that was right and honest.  Because Jehovah did not punish their sins immediately, men thought they could continue to sin with impunity.  But righteous judgment was at the door.


Ecc. 8:11: “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”


Habakkuk’s message is unique.  Unlike the other prophets, he does not address either his own country-men or a foreign people.  His speech is to God alone.  He is concerned about solving a problem which vexed his own sensitivity: Jehovah’s government of the nations.  Chapter 1 and 2 is a conversation between the man of God and God Himself.  Chapter 3 is an exquisitely beautiful ode describing a majestic visible coming of God to the earth.


The focus of Habakkuk’s problem and prophecy is Babylon.  Of the enemies that afflicted the covenant people long ago, three were outstanding---the Edomites, Assyrians and the Chaldeans, i.e. Babylonians.  It was given to three of the Hebrew prophets especially to pronounce the doom of these world powers.  Obadiah sealed the fate of Edom.  Nahum brought judgment upon Assyria.  Habakkuk dug the grave of Babylon.


In all this, the just are to live by faith.  God’s ways are right.  Our confidence must not be based on God’s favors, but on God Himself.  Our rejoicing in the midst of adversity must rest upon a total acceptance of the ways of the Lord. 


In this book, Jesus Christ is revealed as the “Holy One” (1:12).  The One who justifies the righteous by faith (2:4) and the One who will fill the earth “with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (2:14). Jesus Christ is revealed as the Judge of Babylon (Rev. 17-18) and the Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.


Heb. 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”


Like Job, Habakkuk neither used his questions to shield himself from moral responsibility nor shunned God’s claims upon his life.  He thought so much of God that he hungered and thirst to see God’s righteousness vindicated. 


What is it today that can cause the church to rise up, to transcend the circumstantial appearance realm?  What can lift us up into the place of Faith?  There is a faith that transcends all circumstances.  It is a faith that in all things God is!  Because He is that is enough in every circumstance of life.  


Our times match those of Judah and Jerusalem over 600 years before Jesus was born. The Book of Habakkuk is the Word of the Lord to America in her present day of trouble.


John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”


Rom. 5:1: ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V unless otherwise noted.  I entered into the labors of Rest in the Day of Trouble by Kelly Varner, Destiny Image, Shippensburg, Pa.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those from whom I gleaned. 

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