Romans 1:16-17 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
First, I never know how to spell Habakkuk. I always want to put 2 “b” and 1 “k.” So if I misspell it, please forgive me.
While on vacation last week, I took some time and went to a local park to get in the Word. My morning devotion was Romans 1:16. That verse has become very cliché in recent history because of the Christian hip-hop movement. That has become the rally cry of the movement. There are shirts (I own one), buttons, stickers, and songs all dedicated to “116.”
I knew that Paul HAD to mean more than a Christian song lyric when he penned Romans 1:16, so I decided to make that the focus of my time in the Word.
So I grabbed my handy dandy Bible and started walking to the park. When I got there, it was empty. I was able to read through Romans 1 and trace the 1:16-17 passages back to Habakkuk 2:4. When I got into Habakkuk, I was struck by that guy’s straightforward honesty with God. I made a choice to begin reading the book of Habakkuk.
Habakkuk 2:4 – “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright– but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness —
I made it through much of chapter 1 when a group of little old ladies came to the park and sat in the same area I was sitting. They were there to watch their grandkids and boy were they LOUD! They couldn’t walk too well, so they sat on the benches and yelled their commands to their grandkids all over the park. I think even the dead started to open their eyes thinking it was the sound of the trumpet!
I decided to close my Bible and talk to these women.
Almost immediately the woman turned the conversation around to what I was doing in the park. I told her I was studying the book of Habakkuk and her eyes lit up. She started telling me all about the book and the questions that it always brought up in her mind. This woman was amazing! I was so impressed with the knowledge of her the Bible without even opening it that I was almost speechless.
Habakkuk is one of those books that we hear a lot about with regard to injustice. Whenever someone brings up injustice in the world, the book of Habakkuk is readily quoted. Many times unbelievers, and even believers, take many of Habakkuk’s words out of context and use them to attempt to weaken the Christian message of the book.
Over the next few weeks I am going to take us through the book of Habakkuk.
We are not the only generation to realize injustice. Even though we sit in our homes and wonder why the dishonest and wicked people prosper while those who try to live moral, upright lives tend to be used and abused, we are not the only ones who have done so.
In 620 B.C., Habakkuk wrote his message.
Habakkuk 1:2 – How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
As has been done many times in the past, the writer’s name has something to do with the meaning of the book. Habakkuk’s name means to “wrestle” or “embrace.” Throughout the book, Habakkuk is wrestling with a significant issue: If God is good, then why is there evil in the world? And if there is evil in the world, why does it prosper?
In the book of Zephaniah, the Israelites thought something similar. Unfortunately in that book they believed that God was neither good nor evil, much less involved in life at all. The Israelites then continued in their sin. But Habakkuk looks at this a different way. He fears God and wants to do what is right, but is getting frustrated when evil prospers and good gets the shaft.
Zephaniah 2:15 – This is the self-assured city that lives in security, that thinks to herself: I exist, and there is no one else.
Spoiler alert: Habakkuk begins by worrying about the world around him and God’s seeming indifference but he ends in worshiping God. Habakkuk moves from questioning God to trusting Him.
Next week I will look at chapter 1 of the book.
This is a great study for anyone who has questioned whether God really cares about our future and the presence of good and evil in the world.