Chapter 1.
Unanswered Prayer and Unpunished Iniquity

Habakkuk 1:1-4

Much time and study have been given the books of the New Testament. More time should be given to analytical studies of the books of the Old Testament. Since the Bible teaches that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable" (II Timothy 3:16), we should give a great deal of time and attention, indeed more than has been given, to some of the smaller books of the Old Testament. The best way to study the Bible is the way that God has written it. God has written the Bible in 66 books. The best method of Bible study is the book-study method. God has given to us certain specific phases of truth in each book of the Bible. In the book of Habakkuk, He is setting forth HIS WAYS IN A WORLD OF WAR AND SIN. Mankind is perplexed at the ways of God in a world of chaos and confusion. His actions and dealings with the children of men are indeed misunderstood, to say the least. In this little book God has given us some insight into His ways and movements among the children of men. This small book has been hidden away in the Old Testament and has been nearly lost sight of.

Let us consider some matters that relate to the setting forth of truth within the confines of this book.

I. See The Prominence of This Book:

Paul quoted from this book three times, "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17). "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith." (Galatians 3:11). "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." (Hebrews 10:38). We also find a quotation from this book in the book of Acts, "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you," Acts 13:41.

Great verses in this book are used by the saints of God in prayer and praise. We often hear the saints of God in public praying as they look forward to the future triumphs of Christ, saying, "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (2:14). Many a Christian while pleading at the throne of grace, and begging for mercy, has used the phrase as he addresses God, "In wrath remember mercy." (3:2) How often have we pleaded with God to "Revive thy work in the midst of the year." Paul evidently knew the content of this book and got something out of it, since he used the statement, "The just shall live by faith," three times. If he found something in it to bless his soul, don't you think we should get something from it for our souls? Evidently the Holy Spirit uses it while praying through the soul. May the Holy Spirit illuminate its pages and apply the truth of it to our hearts, as we consider its ministry for our souls.

II. See The Prophet of This Book:

Habakkuk was a Levite. His name means "The Embraced One." We know nothing of the prophet apart from this book. As he writes the book, he does not write about himself. He writes about his concern for his people and his country. His heart is broken and his heart is deeply stirred because of present existing conditions in the land. Then grief grips his soul as he thinks about what might happen in the days to come. In spite of all this, he is the prophet of faith and hope. He was more than a prophet, he was a chorister in the temple choir, (3:19). His name means, "Embracing". He embraced God in prayer when his soul was perplexed and when he could not understand the ways of God in a world of war and sin. He embraced God in prayer when his soul was perplexed, and when he sought for the solving of his problems. His soul went out to God with songs of victory as he anticipated the overthrow of all enemies by God, (3:1-19).

III. See The Prophecy of The Book:

It was at a time when Judah was full of strife and contention. Sin and iniquity were in the saddle and galloping through the land without hindrance. Idol worship was the religious activity of the land. The people had turned their backs upon God. The poor were overcome by the rich. The defenseless were maltreated. Not only was there sin and wickedness in the land, but the news has reached the ears of the prophet that the Chaldeans were invading the land and coming in from the north. In fact, the northern land of Judah was already being plundered. Judah's invasion and overthrow seemed to be imminent in the eyes of the prophet. It was a dark day for Judah. Here were the enemies invading the land from the north, and along with this, sin and suffering were rampant among the people. Twenty-six hundred years ago they had in the prophet's day circumstances similar to the last global war that this world experienced.

IV. See The Plan of Truth in The Book:

It has three brief chapters. It has 56 verses and those verses contain 1373 words. This book lends itself very readily to divisions marked off by the chapters.

Someone has said that in these three chapters, the prophet is "Worried with Conditions", "Watching with Confidence", and "Worshipping with Contentment".

Here we see the prophet of faith in chapter 2:4. Here we see the prophet of patience, 2:3 and here we see the prophet of hope in 2:20. It is clearly seen in Chapter 1 the prophet is Sighing, in chapter 2 he is Silenced, and in Chapter 3 we see his burden is lifted, and there we hear him Singing. This book should teach us how to live victoriously in a world of war and sin. The truth at the heart of these three chapters sets forth for all believers the way from fear to faith. Let us now turn in dependence upon the Spirit of God who is the author of this book and who understands it, to teach us the truths in it which God would have us to know. There are deep lessons for the spiritually hungry to glean from its pages. Paul said, "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope," (Romans 15:4).

Let us now turn to the text itself and see the mind of the Spirit of God in setting forth truth. The lessons to be learned are many. The truth to be gleaned is rich for our souls.