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Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Outline for Habakkuk

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OUTLINE:

I. Perplexity of the prophet, Chapter 1

A. First problem of the prophet, vv. 1-4

Why does God permit evil?

B. God’s answer, vv. 5-11

God was raising up Chaldeans to punish Judah (v. 6).

C. Second problem of the prophet (greater than first), vv. 12-17

Why would God permit His people to be punished by a nation more wicked than they? Why did He not destroy the Chaldeans?

II. Perspicuity of the prophet, Chapter 2

A. Practice of the prophet, v. 1

He took the secret problem to the secret place.

B. Patience of the prophet, vv. 2, 3

He waited for the vision.

C. Pageant for the prophet, v. 4

The great divide in humanity: One group, which is crooked, is flowing toward destruction; the other group, by faith, is moving toward God. This is inevitable.

D. Parable to the prophet, vv. 5-20

The application is self-evident from the vision. The Chaldeans, in turn, would be destroyed. God was moving among the nations.

III. Pleasure of the prophet, Chapter 3

A. Prayer of the prophet, vv. 1, 2

The prophet, who thought God was doing nothing about evil, now asks Him to remember to be merciful. Was he afraid that God was doing too much?

B. Program of God, vv. 3-15

God rides majestically in His own chariot of salvation (v. 8).

C. Position of the prophet, vv. 16-19

He will rejoice (v. 18). He has come from pain to pleasure.




COMMENT:

I. Perplexity of the prophet, Chapter 1

A. First problem of the prophet, vv. 1-4

Habakkuk is a man with problems.

v. 1 — “Burden” is the judgment of God upon His people and also upon the Babylonians.

v. 2 — Habakkuk feels that God is refusing to answer his prayer. He cries out in a night of despair as he sees violence, and God is doing nothing about it and, apparently, saying nothing. This is the elegy of Habakkuk. (Note the final verse of the book [Habakkuk 3:19]. It is the paean of praise with a note of joy.)

v. 3 — This is his first problem: Why does God permit His people to continue and increase in iniquity, injustice, strife, contention, and violence and do nothing about it? This is a capital WHY?

v. 4 — God’s law is ignored and spurned. There is no justice. The wicked are in control, and the righteous are in trouble.

B. God’s answer, vv. 5-11

v. 5 — God is doing something. He is working on this problem. Habakkuk would not believe it, for it would be contrary to what he wanted done.

v. 6 — God is preparing the Chaldeans (Babylonians) to come and take Judah captive.

v. 7 — They make their own laws.

v. 8 — They use the cavalry in the campaigns.

vv. 9, 10 — They are conquerors.

v. 11 — They give their idols credit for their victories. At the battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C., the Chaldeans won over Egypt and became the first great world power.

C. Second problem of the prophet (greater than first), vv. 12-17

v. 12 — Habakkuk is sure God will judge the Chaldeans.

v. 13 — This is the problem: Although Israel is wicked, the Chaldeans are more wicked. Since God is holy, He should judge the Chaldeans first. Surely He could not permit the Chaldeans to chastise His people. Logically, the opposite should be true.

vv. 14-17 — Since the Chaldeans are so wicked, will they escape and God’s people be judged?

II. Perspicuity of the prophet, Chapter 2

A. Practice of the prophet, v. 1

He takes the secret problem to the secret place. He does not publish his doubts. He knows God has the answer to his problem.

B. Patience of the prophet, vv. 2, 3

He will wait for the answer, for he knows it will be forthcoming.

C. Pageant for the prophet, v. 4

This is one of the most important verses in Scripture (see THEME). There is a sharp contrast here between the two groups of humanity. One group, the “lifted up” soul or the “puffed up” soul, is flowing like a river down to the sea of destruction. The other group, saved by faith, is flowing toward the city of God and full knowledge — “Then shall I know” (1 Corinthians 13:12). Between the moment of salvation and the “then,” the one saved by faith will walk by faith. He may not have the answer now, but he will have it then.

D. Parable to the prophet, vv. 5-20

vv. 5-13 — The “puffed up” soul must be judged for these glaring sins:

Drunkenness, pride (v. 5)
Arrogance, ambition, rebelliousness (vv. 6-8)
Covetousness (v. 9)
Murder, iniquity, persecution (vv. 10-13)

v. 14 — This is the far-off goal toward which God is moving. This will be fulfilled when Christ returns to the earth (see Isaiah 11:9).

vv. 15, 16 — These are the sins that God judges here and now: drunkenness and immorality.

v. 17 — Violence.

vv. 18, 19 — False religion.

v. 20 — God is not yet in His holy temple. The earth is not silent today (see Psalm 2:1, 2).

III. Pleasure of the prophet, Chapter 3

A. Prayer of the prophet, vv. 1, 2

Notice the changed attitude of the prophet. At first he looked about and thought God was doing nothing. God took him to the watchtower of vision and let him see that He was not only judging His own people for their sins, but also the nations of the world. God was moving forward uncompromisingly to the day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Now Habakkuk pleads with God to remember to be merciful in the midst of His judgment.

B. Program of God, vv. 3-15

This is a poetic description of the past history of the nation. There is a casual reference to the following:

Abraham (vv. 3-6)
Moses (vv. 7-10)
Joshua (vv. 11-15)

C. Position of the prophet, vv. 16-19

vv. 17, 18 — Regardless of the circumstances in which he finds himself, he will rejoice in God. This is faith in action. This is saving faith. This is the message of Job and Paul.

v. 19 — This is a psalm of praise set to instrumental and vocal music to be used in the temple.

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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