Who wrote it?
Habakkuk 1:1 identifies the book of Habakkuk as an oracle from the Prophet Habakkuk.
When(ish) was it written?
Habakkuk was likely written between 610 and 605 BC.
Why was it written?
Habakkuk was wondering why God was allowing His chosen people to go through the current suffering at the hands of their enemies. God answers and Habakkuk’s faith is restored.
Some Key Verses
O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
– Habakkuk 1:2
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.
– Habakkuk 1:5
Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die.
– Habakkuk 1:12
And the Lord answered me: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 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. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
– Habakkuk 2:2-4
But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.
– Habakkuk 2:20
O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.
– Habakkuk 3:2
God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.
– Habakkuk 3:19
A Quick Summary
The book begins with Habakkuk crying out to God for an answer to why God’s chosen people are allowed to suffer in their captivity (Habakkuk 1:1-4). The Lord gives His answer to Habakkuk, essentially stating, “You wouldn’t believe it if I told you” (Habakkuk 1: 5-11). Habakkuk then follows up by expressing, “Ok, you are God, but still tell me more about why this is happening” (Habakkuk 1:17-2:1). God then answers him again and gives him more information, then tells the earth to be silent before Him (Habakkuk 2:2-20). Then Habakkuk writes a prayer expressing his strong faith in God, even through these trials (Habakkuk 3:1-19).
The Apostle Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 on two different occasions (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11) to reiterate the doctrine of justification by faith. The faith that is the gift of God and available through Christ is at once a faith that saves (Ephesians 2:8-9) and a faith that sustains throughout life. We attain eternal life by faith and we live the Christian life by the same faith. Unlike the “proud” in the beginning of the verse, whose soul is not right within him and whose desires are not upright, but we who are made righteous by faith in Christ are made completely righteous because He has exchanged His perfect righteousness for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) and has enabled us to live by faith.
What does this mean?
The application to the reader of Habakkuk is that it is permissible to question what God is doing, although with respect and reverence. Sometimes it is not evident to us what is going on, especially if we are thrown into suffering for a period of time or if it seems our enemies are prospering while we are just barely getting by. The book of Habakkuk affirms that God is a sovereign, omnipotent God who has all things under control. We just need to be still and know He is at work. He is who He says He is and does keep His promises. He will punish the wicked. Even when we cannot see it, He is still on the throne of the universe. We need to stay focused on this: “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places” (Habakkuk 3:19). Enabling us to go on the heights is taking us to the higher places with Him where we are set apart from the world. Sometimes the way we have to go to get us there is through suffering and sorrow, but if we rest in Him and trust Him, we come out where He wants us.
Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from Habakkuk 1:2-17, 2:1-4, 3:2-19, Hebrews 10:32-39, Romans 1:16-18, and Galatians 3:10-13. What verses or ideas stand out to you from these passages? What questions do you have? What “next step” are you considering as a result of your interaction with God’s Word?
Read Habakkuk 1:2-4 and Habakkuk 1:12-2:1. Describe a time where you felt this way toward God. How did it affect your faith?
What season of life are you in currently? What does it mean for you to “live by faith” in your current season?
Read Habakkuk 3:17-19. In light of everything God said and did, Habakkuk’s response to God was one of celebration and rejoicing. How can you have this posture in your spiritual life right now?
Take time to share prayer requests and pray for the season of life you are walking through with your life group.