Of the three chapters in the book of Habakkuk, the first two are a dialogue between God and the prophet. The main message is “the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk foresaw the disaster that Babylon was soon to bring upon Judah because of their sins, a disaster that would lead to their captivity. Although Habakkuk alerted his nation of this disaster and also predicted the divine judgment upon idolatrous Babylon, the people of Judah didn’t heed his warnings.
Habakkuk wondered why God seemingly permitted the apostasy and crime of Judah to go unpunished (Hab. 1:1–4; Jer. 12:1). So, the Lord revealed to him that He had a plan for punishing Judah for its sinful ways, and that the Chaldeans are to be the instrument by which He will accomplish this plan (Hab. 1:5–11; Isa. 10:5–16).
This explanation raised yet another question in Habakkuk’s mind: How can God use a nation more wicked than Judah to punish Judah? (ch. 1:12–17). And impulsively yet innocently, he demands an answer from God (ch. 2:1). So, patiently, God assures the prophet of the certainty of His purpose with respect to Judah (vs. 2, 3), and then points out to Habakkuk his need for humility and faith (v. 4). God presents the many sins of Babylon (ch. 2:5–19) and that He is fully aware of the wickedness of Babylon and tells Habakkuk that He is still in control of the affairs of earth. Therefore, all men would do well to “keep silence” before Him (v. 20) and not question His wisdom in justice.
Habakkuk wondered about the final consequence of Judah’s afflictions and why their enemies seemed successful and rich though they are wicked. So, the Lord responds again to his questionings and reveals that the punishment of the nation of Judah is for their eternal good, while the earthly success of their wicked enemies will fade away (ch. 3).
Realizing that he had questioned divine wisdom one-too-many times, Habakkuk repents and he asks that divine justice will be mingled with mercy (ch. 3:1, 2). God answers this prayer by revealing His glorious work for the salvation of His faithful ones and for the overthrow of their foes (vs. 3–16). Habakkuk ends his book with an affirmation of his confidence in the wisdom and final victory of God (vs. 17–19).
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