Friday, July 27, 2012

Habakkuk read-through...

Do you ever find yourself debating with the Lord?  Do you say, "How long, O Lord"?  Are you generally skeptical of what the Lord is doing in your life and others?  Then Habakkuk is your guy!

Habakkuk is unique among the writing prophets in that his prophesy is a dialogue with the Lord, and not address the people of Judah directly.  More accurately, Habakkuk complains and the Lord answers.  Some welcome humanity from the bible to us who often feel the Lord is not doing it right.  You do not need to be so pious! 

Habakkuk receives his prophesy via vision, again, t
he normal mode of prophesy (2:1b).  The time of his career as a prophet is a bit unknown, but can be narrowed down to an early date of Manasseh's reign (BC 686-642) to a later date of the beginning of Josiah's reign and reform (BC 640-630). The atmosphere of idolatry, syncretism, and arrogance is prevalent due to the wicked rule of Manasseh.  The Assyrian Empire is weakening and the Neo-Babylonian Empire is on the rise. 

Main themes:

1) Things will be tough for Judah for a while but they are called to be faithful in times of trial. "The righteous shall live by faith" is most known from Romans, and the exegesis of Martin Luther and the reformation, but has an even fuller-orbed meaning to the people of God than initial saving faith.  This faithfulness reaches every part of life, and is seen in difficult times when the Lord appears silent.

2)  God is just.  Though He punishes a lesser wicked regime with a more wicked one (a point Habakkuk calls out the Lord for), the Lord will punish all oppression of His people.  Justice will prevail!

3) The Lord is the only one to be worshiped.  The Lord denounces idols and the worship of them quite explicitly in chapter 2 and declares He is the One who is to be worshiped (2:18-20).
4)  The Lord is patient and a caring Father.  We see this via the dialogue between the Lord and His prophet, Habakkuk.  He will hear our objections and we must realize His justice and mercy even when we do not understand how He is pursuing His mission.

"What profit is an idol?...Can this teach?...there is no breath in it.  But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him."  Habakkuk 2:18-20

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