Habakkuk Lesson 1



KEY VERSE: Habakkuk 2:4b “… but the just shall live by his faith.”

THEME: There is a keynote of faith ringing throughout the entire prophecy. Habakkuk, the prophet called, “The Doubting Thomas of the Old Testament”, questions God when His revelation is made known to him. Once the facts are in and the messages are made clear, he comes to a strong position of faith.

DATE: 605 B.C. Habakkuk was the last of the prophets writing to the southern kingdom before the captivity by Babylon. He probably prophesied during the reign of Josiah about 608-605 B.C.

WRITER: Habakkuk. The name Habakkuk means wrester or to embrace. That is really all we know about the prophet. Some think he was probably a Levite connected with the music of the temple.

WRITTEN: The book was written just after the fall of the Assyrian empire. Egypt and Babylon fought a major war to see who would be master of the earth. The Babylonians won and joined forces with the Chaldeans. They became one kingdom and used the names of Babylonians and Chaldeans synonymously. The book gives two distinct parts of a single prophecy. 1. A dialogue between the prophet and God. 2. A poetic prayer and theophany of God. The book opens with gloom and closes with glory.

THE BOOK: Number in Bible: 35th of 66 books of the Bible. Number of chapters: 3. Number of verse: 56. Number in order of writing: 8th of 12 minor prophecies.

PURPOSE: To give light on why God sometimes allows the wicked to prosper. To give light and understanding as to why God would use a more wicked nation to punish a nation of His own people. The Jews believed very strongly in temporal punishments and rewards. The question is answered by setting forth the contrast between the temporary and the permanent. God is working on a long range program and sometimes allows temporary setbacks to accomplish His over all purpose.

DIVISIONS: 1. The complaint of the prophet. 1:1-4 2. The reply of the Lord 1:5-11 3. The statement of the problem. 1:12-17 4. The certainty of the vision. 2:1-4 5. The pronouncement of woes. 2:5-19 6. The sovereign fullness of God. 2:20 7. The intercession of the prophet 3:1-2 8. The splendor of God. 3:3-6 9. The dealings of the Lord. 3:7-15 10. The response of the prophet. 3:16-19

FACTS: The question of the book of Habakkuk is “why?” Nahum deals with the Lord’s judgment of Assyria. Habakkuk takes up a similar note against Babylon for the same cause. The book is closer to the Psalms in structure than any of the other prophetical writings. The book moves from perplexity of the prophet to praise by the same. Habakkuk was confused and bewildered. It seemed that God was doing nothing to straighten out the conditions in the world. The prophet had been involved in the Great Reformation under good King Josiah. It just didn’t seem to make sense that God would still punish Judah by Babylon under these conditions. Habakkuk – Zephaniah – Haggai page 2

A SCHEDULE OF THE EVENTS OF THE PERIOD. 1. The Great Reformation under King Josiah during the prophecy of Zephaniah. (639-606 B.C.) 2. Assyria was greatly weakened by the Scythian invasion. (626 B.C.) 3. Babylon declared its independence of Assyria. (625 B.C.) 4. Jehoaz reigned three months and was taken to Egypt. (608 B.C.) 5. The very wicked reign of Jehoiakim in the days of Habakkuk. (608-597 B.C.) 6. The destruction of Ninevah by Babylon. (607 B.C.) 7. The Babylonians invaded Judah and took captives. (606 B.C.) 8. The Babylonians defeated Egypt. (605 B.C.) 9. Jehoiachin reigned three months and was taken to Babylon. (597 B.C.) 10. A weak, wicked King Zedekiah was taken to Babylon. (597-586 B.C.) 11. Jerusalem was burned and the land was left desolate. (586 B.C.) Habakkuk lived at the same time of Jeremiah and Zephaniah. The word “burden” in the beginning verse of Habakkuk indicates a message that is heavy with tidings of coming judgment. The famous phrase, “The just shall live by his faith,” located in Habakkuk 2:4 is found three other times in the Scripture. (1) Romans 1:17; (2) Galatians 3:11; (3) Hebrews 10:38

OUTLINE: I. The prophet tested. Chapter 1. II. The prophet trusting. Chapter 2. III. The prophet triumphant. Chapter 3. Another look at the contents of the book. I. The troubled prophet asking “Why?” Chapter 1. II. The waiting prophet receives an answer. Chapter 2. III. The praying prophet asks for revival and mercy. Chapter 3. God’s glory is praised. God’s power is exhibited. God’s purpose is seen.

Simply click the “Take the Quiz” Button to the right. Have your KJV Bible with you, and look up the answers to the questions on the quiz. You can then answer the questions from the Bible, (Open Book Test).