From Habakkuk 1-3
If you note the above Introduction you can see Habukkuk is set before Judah’s punishment and exile. A fair portion of the book contains a dialogue between Habukkuk and the LORD. Habukkuk is complaining. A great feature of the prayers we see in the scriptures is the sheer honesty of the authors opening up their hearts to the LORD.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
2 O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (Hab 1.2-4)
Habukkuk has obviously had a gut full of what he sees around him. He can stand it and wonders how the LORD can. The LORD answers;
5 “Look among the nations, and see;
wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
6 For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own.
7 They are dreaded and fearsome;
their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. (Hab 1.5-7)
The LORD will raise up a people to discipline Judah. This brings about Habakkuk’s second complaint, in consequence with the LORD’s response.
12 Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. (Hab 1.12)
Habukkuk is now wondering if the LORD is going to wipe everyone out! Will the Chaldeans kill everyone?
2 And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. (Hab 2.2-4)
The LORD contrasts two kinds of people. Many people of those times were rebelling against the LORD. But the righteous will still survive. They will live in these times by their faith. Faith? What is that? Belief? Trust? Being faithful? I think they are all interrelated and involved in what the LORD is predicting.
Story of Israel
Throughout all the history of Israel the LORD has always preserved a remnant for himself. The remnant are those who remain faithful to the LORD despite the mass of people around them who either do not know the LORD or do not care about the LORD.
When the LORD produced this vision, he was describing all those who trust in the LORD and remain faithful to him. The vision Habukkuk was given was that despite their volotile surroundings the righteous are characterised by their faith and they will live, because the LORD will remain faithful to them.
Story of Jesus
This passage is quoted by Paul twice. It comes in important texts used to highlight what God’s people look like and that God will save them.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Rom 1.16-17)
The gospel – that is the story of Jesus, dying, being buried, and being raised to live – is the power of God for salvation. Both Jews and Greeks who believe the gospel, that this Jesus is Christ and follow him shall live.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.