Habakkuk 1 – 2v4

This study in the book of Habakkuk was given by pastor Barry Forder on 27th February 2022 at Calvary Portsmouth.

We know practically nothing about the man Habakkuk, other than his name, which means to ‘wrestle’ and the fact this he calls himself a prophet – one of only three Old Testament prophets to actually give themselves this title. That is not to suggest he was self-appointed to the role, for this is a significant God-inspired man and book.

Habakkuk is one of those books that adds significant weight to the case for the Divine authority and authenticity of the Bible, for if the Bible were the work of mere men, this book would not feature! Habakkuk is about as real and honest as you can get. He starts by questioning God, for allowing the troubles Judah and Jerusalem were facing, and then by daring to question God’s wisdom in using the Babylonians to bring judgment on his nation.

Why would God choose to use an evil nation to fulfill His plans?

In response to Habakkuk’s questions, God answers!

Repeatedly we are told in the Bible that God is good; nothing He does can be anything other than good. There is no injustice in Him, no unrighteousness.

Habakkuk comes to see that God’s ways are above our ways, His thoughts above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9) . God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10). In the words of Steven Curtis Chapman:

God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting
God is God and I am man
So I’ll never understand it all
For only God is God

To know this, is what faith is all about, and through the trial and the pain Habakkuk was enduring, God declares to him: “The just shall live by his faith!” (Hab 2:4). Not by knowledge and understanding, not by resolve or determination, but by faith.

Not faith in faith, not merely hoping things will turn out ok, not wishful thinking, and certainly not a blind leap in the dark, but an unshakable faith in the person of God; that God is who He says He is. He is good (Psalm 119:68) and He is faithful (2 Tim 3:13), He does keep His promises (2 Cor 1:20), He is unchanging (Heb 13:8), He really is working all things together for good for those who love Him! (Rom 8:28). Though we may not see what God is doing or why, it is the faith that like Job says: “Though He slay me yet will I trust Him!” (Job 13:15). Though storms may come, though we may lose everything we ‘once held dear’, it is the faith that says: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21).

It is the faith that, like David, says: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7 ESV). It is the faith that, like Micah, says: “Therefore I will look unto the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7).

Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 4 was the verse that sparked the reformation in Europe. Martin Luther tried everything he knew to live a holy and pious life, but upon reading Habakkuk 2:4 suddenly realised that to be ‘just’, i.e. to be counted as ‘justified’ before a holy God, did not require endless self-mortification, penance or observance of rituals, it simply required faith… faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Christ paid it all, there was nothing that could be added by even the most devout lifestyle. Salvation is a gift, it cannot be earned, it is received by faith.

The just – those who are counted as justified and right before God –

shall live – that is, their way of living will be…

by faith – by an unshakable trust in the person of Jesus Christ who will never leave them or forsake them, who is the resurrection and the life, the same yesterday, today and forever, the great I AM, the beginning and the end, the Way, the Truth and the Life!

If Jesus is all this, and He is, trusting Him to deliver us, provide for us, protect us, and bring us safe to glory should be the easiest thing in the world!

Oswald Chambers once said: “Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him — what an impertinence worry is!”

This great book of Habakkuk reminds us it’s ok to question God. God knows our weaknesses.

Habakkuk asks God ‘How long‘….we often ask the same question. But while you are waiting for the answer, that is sure to come, remember that God asks the same question of you!

See: Exodus 16:28 / Numbers 14:11 / Joshua 18:3 / 1 Kings 18:21


May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.


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