Memory Verse
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Habakkuk 2:4

In this book, the prophet Habakkuk sees the advancing of evil and darkness and cries out to God for understanding. It is often difficult for Christians to reconcile tragic events or the rise of evil with the sovereign, perfect plan of God. We hear about or experience the dominating power of the wicked and wonder if God is looking, working to defeat the wicked, or if He is even there at all. Accordingly, we often struggle to reconcile God’s omnipotence and His sovereignty with our experiences. While we know God is good and sovereign, that He hates the works of darkness, and that He is omnipotent, we often wonder why He does not spring to action. Habakkuk teaches us that we can “rejoice in the Lord,” for He will deal with the wicked in His own way in His own time. 

Hymn: Rock of Ages
Sheet Music
Top 5 Facts to Remember
  1. Habakkuk’s prophecy addresses the question that Christians have struggled with to this day—Why does God permit evil?
  2. Habakkuk 2:4, “The just shall live by his faith,” is quoted three times in the New Testament.
  3. In the midst of pronouncements of woe upon evildoers, the Lord promises to fill the earth with the knowledge of His glory, “as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14).
  4. The prophet points out the futility of idolatry in Habakkuk 2:18–19: “What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it?”
  5. At the conclusion of his prophecy, Habakkuk purposes to “rejoice in the Lord,” no matter the circumstances (Heb. 3:17–18).
Theme: Rejoice in the Lord

In Habakkuk, God is glorifying Himself through justification by faith alone, so that He might demonstrate His superior goodness in the salvation sinners, the damnation of the wicked, and for the preservation of His people for His eternal glory, and their eternal joy.

Author: Habakkuk

The author identifies himself as Habakkuk the prophet.

Time of Writing: 615-605 B.C.

Habakkuk prophesied as God was “raising up the Chaldeans,” which fits best with the period between Nabopolassar’s ascension to power over Babylon (626 B.C.)  and Judah’s subjugation to the Neo-Babylonian Empire (605 B.C.).

Key Verses:

“Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.”

Habakkuk 1:5

“You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
And cannot look on wickedness.
Why do You look on those who deal treacherously,
And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours
A person more righteous than he?”

Habakkuk 1:13

“What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it,
The molded image, a teacher of lies,
That the maker of its mold should trust in it,
To make mute idols?
Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’
To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
Yet in it there is no breath at all.”

Habakkuk 2:18–19

  1. Answers to hard questions about God come from reading and meditating on His Word.
  2. Notwithstanding the apparent success of the wicked at times, God will punish them one day.
  3. God works out all things—even the evil actions of men—for His glory and the good of His people.
  4. We should trust that God’s ways are perfect and just, even when we don’t understand them.
  5. Sinners can receive righteousness apart from the law through faith in Jesus Christ. This is what Habakkuk was referring to when he said, “The just shall live by his faith.”
Christ in Habakkuk:

The prophet refers to Christ as God’s “Anointed”—the agent of salvation for God’s people (Hab. 3:13).

  1. Habakkuk’s Burden and Two Burning Questions (Hab. 1–2)
    1. The First Question (Hab. 1:1–11)
      1.  How Can a Good God Permit Evil? (Hab. 1:1–4)
      2.  The Lord Responds (Hab. 1:5–11)
    2.  The Second Question (Hab. 1:12–2:5)
      1.  How Can God Use Evil for Good? (Hab. 1:12–17)
      2. The Lord Responds (Hab. 2:1–5)
    3. Five Woes (Hab. 2:6–20)
      1. Greed (Hab. 2:6–8)
      2. Exploitation of Others (Hab. 2:9–11)
      3. Builds a Town with Bloodshed (Hab. 2:12–14)
      4. Exploiting People Through Drunkenness (Hab. 2:15–17)
      5. Idolatry (Hab. 2:18–20)
  2. Habakkuk’s Prayer of Trust (Hab. 3)
Study Questions

What was the state of the people when Habakkuk delivered his prophecy?
The righteous were in the minority (Hab. 1:4).

What nation did the Lord promise to bring against Israel?
The Chaldeans (Hab. 1:6).

What does Habakkuk say about God’s moral perfection when he cries out to Him the second time?
“You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, 
And cannot look on wickedness” (Hab. 1:13).

What is the central verse in Habakkuk’s prophecy?
“But the just shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4).

Who is the first woe against?
Thieves (Hab. 2:6–8).

Who is the second woe against?
Those who are covetous (Hab. 2:9–11).

Who is the third woe against?
Murderers (Hab. 2:12–13).

Who is the fourth woe against?
Those who encourage drunkenness (Hab. 2:15–17).

Who is the fifth and final woe against?
Idolaters (Hab. 2:18–19).

In what way does Habakkuk ask the Lord for mercy?
“In wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2).

What happened to Habakkuk when he heard the Lord?
He trembled (Hab. 3:16).

What does Habakkuk resolve to do at the end of his prophecy?
To rejoice in the Lord, no matter the circumstance (Hab. 3:17–19).

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