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Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Notes for Habakkuk

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HABAKKUK


WRITER: Habakkuk. His name means love’s embrace. Martin Luther gave a striking definition of his name, which cannot be improved upon: “Habakkuk signifies an embracer, or one who embraces another, takes him into his arms. He embraces his people and takes them to his arms, i.e., he comforts them and holds them up, as one embraces a weeping child, to quiet it with the assurance that, if God wills, it shall soon be better.”
This is all that is known of the writer, except that he was the doubting Thomas of the Old Testament. He had a question mark for a brain.

TIME: Probably written during the reign of Josiah, about the time of the destruction of Nineveh and the rise of Babylon to power. Habakkuk appeared in the twilight, just before the darkness of the captivity.

FORM: The closing statement, “For the chief musician on my stringed instrument” (ARV), reveals that this is a song. The last chapter is a psalm. The entire prophecy is a gem of beauty. It has been translated into a metric version by Dr. Gaebelein. Delitzsch wrote, “His language is classical throughout, full of rare and select turns and words.” Moorehouse wrote, “It is distinguished for its magnificent poetry.”

MESSAGE: The book opens in gloom and closes in glory. It begins with an interrogation mark and closes with an exclamation point. Habakkuk is a big WHY? Why God permits evil is a question that every thoughtful mind has faced. The book is the answer to the question: Will God straighten out the injustice of the world? This book answers the question: Is God doing anything about the wrongs of the world? This book says that He is. The book is the personal experience of the prophet told in poetry, as Jonah’s was told in prose.

THEME: Faith. Habakkuk has been called “the prophet of faith.” The great statement of Habakkuk 2:4, “The just shall live by faith,” has been quoted three times in the New Testament: Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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