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Habakkuk is one of the 12 minor prophets of the Bible. The word Habakkuk, means “to embrace.” The prophet Habakkuk is generally believed to have written his book in the mid-to-late 7th century BC, not long before the Babylonians’ siege and capture of Jerusalem in 586 BC.
The prophet knew the calamity that Babylon was soon to bring upon his nation because of their wickedness, a time of trouble that would result finally in the captivity of Judah. So, Habakkuk forewarned the nation of this crisis and also predicted the divine judgment upon heathen Babylon, who were the ardent enemies of God.
Habakkuk like Isaiah is considered a gospel prophet because he emphasizes holiness and faith. He contrasts the pride of the Chaldeans which leads to death with the sincere obedience to the path of God through faith which leads to life. Thus, the book of Habakkuk gives an answer to the question of why God allows sinners to succeed, comparable to the answer provided by the book of Job to the problem of why God allows saints to suffer.
The first two of the three chapters in the book of Habakkuk are a dialog between the Lord and himself. The main message is “the just shall live by his faith.” The prophet wonders about God’s divine wisdom and justice toward His people and the world. So, the Lord patiently assures the prophet that He is still in control of the affairs of earth. Accordingly, all men would do well to “keep silence” before Him (v. 20) and not question His divine wisdom.
Though Habakkuk regrets Judah’s sins and knows that his people deserve punishment, he is concerned about the outcome of their afflictions and upon the Chaldeans, who seem prosperous. In His mercy, the Lord comforts Habakkuk’s questioning heart and shows him that the punishment of the Israelites is for their eternal good, while the earthly prosperity of the wicked Babylon will pass away (ch. 3).
Then, the prophet requests of God that He mingles His divine justice with mercy (ch. 3:1, 2). Habakkuk closes his book with a statement of trust in the wisdom and the final success of God’s plan. He says, “Though the fig tree may not blossom…And the fields yield no food… Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength…And He will make me walk on my high hills…” (vs. 17–19).
In His service,