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Wrestling With God (Part 2)

February 9, 2010

In the last “Wrestling With God” post, we gave a general introduction to the book of Habakkuk, as well as to the study we are going to participate in. Before the bulk of the discussion begins, I would like to give a chapter by chapter overview of the content of the book of Habakkuk. Don’t worry, it’s only three chapters!

Overview

Chapter 1:

The first chapter of Habakkuk is all about wondering. The prophet is wondering about God and justice. As the book of Habakkuk opens, we find the prophet openly questioning God about the injustice he sees around him. His heart is crying out, but it is beginning to seem that God is not even listening. He sees wickedness and violence. It is obvious there is no justice.

But God does hear Habakkuk and answers his prayers. The justice that the prophet longs for will come. It just will not come in the way Habakkuk anticipates. The Babylonians (also known as the Chaldeans) will come and mete out justice on God’s behalf. These are people known for there cruelty and violence.

This causes more confusion for Habakkuk. He now knows that God is listening, but now he questions what God is doing. As bad as the Judeans are, Habakkuk does not understand why God would let someone even worse be the hand of punishment.

Chapter 2:

As the prophet ends his complaint against God, he decides to climb up to his watchtower and wait for God to answer. That is how Habakkuk spends chapter two, waiting.

God does not disappoint. He answers Habakkuk. In fact, God tells the prophet to write the answer down so it can be told to others. He tells Habakkuk to be patient because complete justice will ultimately come.

Verse four is one of the most important in all of Scripture. It contrasts the Babylonians – who do not have faith in God, but rather in themselves – with those whose faith is in God. The implication is that the Babylonians will not live, because their faith is not in God. The righteous, whose faith is in God, will live. We will talk more about this verse later in the study.

The rest of chapter two describes the judgment that is destined to come upon the Babylonians. It will not be pleasant.

Chapter 3:

The third chapter is Habakkuk’s third prayer of the book. This prayer is very different from the two before it. While the others were questions and complaints for God, this one is a hymn of praise. It really is a psalm. It starts out with a prayer for revival. It then turns into a description of his vision of God. The last four verses describe Habakkuk’s recommitment to faith in his God. In this psalm, the prophet offers true worship to his sovereign God.

In the study ahead of us, we will take a closer look at what it means to wrestle with God. Taking our cues from the book of Habakkuk, we will look at prayer, fairness, and other topics.

Let us know if you are following along with our Habakkuk discussion. Have you read the book of Habakkuk yet? What would you add or take away from this overview? Leave your comment below!

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