Habakkuk 1:12-2:4

Tom Sugimura, in his book on Habakkuk says there are Four Questions raised by Habakkuk:

  1. God, where are you when I need you? (1:1-11).
  2. Why do bad things happen to good people? (1:12-2:4)
  3. Why do good things happen to bad people? (2:4-20)
  4. Will I make it through this trial? (3)

• Habakkuk is the minor prophet who witnesses the major decline of Judah. • Habakkuk does not talk to evil people about God, he talks to God about evil people and what He is doing about them. • God will give to Habakkuk “hind's feet” (the feet of a deer/ibex) to live above his circumstances. • Habakkuk is losing faith in God, but God will turn his sorrow into a song. God will lead Habakkuk from fear to faith.

Habakkuk Timeline

• Habakkuk lived through the times of JUDAH’S RISING and FALLING. • First, he saw REVIVAL under KING JOSIAH. • Then he saw Judah RUINED under the rule foreign nations and evil kings. • Babylon was God’s BIG STICK to bring judgment against JUDAH for their sins.

Habakkuk 1:12 (NLT), “O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal— surely you do not plan to wipe us out? O Lord, our Rock, you have sent these Babylonians to correct us, to punish us for our many sins. 13 But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil. Will you wink at their treachery? Should you be silent while the wicked swallow up people more righteous than they?”

• God is personal, eternal, holy, pure, just, our Rock. • But how can God use a dirty mop (Babylon) to clean up Judah’s mess?

Habakkuk 1:14 (NLT), “Are we only fish to be caught and killed? Are we only sea creatures that have no leader? 15 Must we be strung up on their hooks and caught in their nets while they rejoice and celebrate? 16 Then they will worship their nets and burn incense in front of them. ‘These nets are the gods who have made us rich!’ they will claim. 17 Will you let them get away with this forever? Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?”

• The Babylonians worshipped many gods and some called “Apkallu.” These demigods were part-human and part-fish. • Habakkuk complains that the fish gods are getting all the praise and worship! • The “nets” and “hooks” refer to the deportation to Babylon. Tens of thousands of Jewish people will be carried off into captivity. • God is not inhumane; he is rescuing his people from the poison of idolatry in the land. He is using the nets of Babylon to capture and remove them from the polluted land. In Babylon, they will be healed of their idolatry once and for all.

Habakkuk 2:1 (NLT), “I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.”

• KJV – “...what I shall answer when I am reproved.” • NASB – “ I may reply when I am reprimanded.”

Proverbs 18:17 (ESV), “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

• Habakkuk is done making his case. • Habakkuk waits for God to examine him.

Habakkuk 2:2 (NLT), “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. 3 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. 4 Look at the proud! They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked. But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.’”


• KJV, “The just shall live by faith.” These are some of the most famous words in the Bible. These are the words that sparked Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation.

Fear vs. Faith

• Fear makes you imagine things about God that are not true. • Fear makes you react, and jump to conclusions about God and your circumstances. • Fear turns your attention on yourself and drives you to self-pity. • Fear makes you lose perspective. • Fear is introspective. It looks in. It trusts feelings. • Faith meditates on the truth of God. • True faith must be placed in a true object of worship – an eternally good, just, merciful, loving, and unchanging God. • Faith is holding on to God in spite of our changing moods. • Faith informs our mind that God is good, even when we cannot understand what He is doing! • Faith is extra-spective. It looks out of ourselves and away to God.


What to do When Bad Things Happen:

  1. Cry out to God.
  2. Review God’s attributes.
  3. Renounce self-pity, fear and pride.
  4. Wait patiently and expect God’s answer.
  5. Don’t manipulate and control the circumstances.

“… no comfort is obtainable unless there be, first, true knowledge of ourselves, and, second, right knowledge of God. Suffering need not be a dark experience.” - A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness, by P. B. Power