The prophecy of Habakkuk reveals to us, as does no other book in Scripture, an almighty God with absolute sovereignty, a God who requires that his people trust him absolutely even when things don’t seem to be going to plan. This is an emphasis much needed in the church today. The self-centeredness that characterizes our society is almost overwhelming. We, like the people in Habakkuk’s day, need a radical change in our thinking—an acknowledgment that it is God at the center of reality, not us. This message is at the heart of Habakkuk’s prophecy, and, against the backdrop of ancient Israel, author John Currid illuminates this reality brilliantly.
The days in which Habakkuk preached were a dark time for the church in the Old Testament. God's people were suffering at the hands of others in the community, and the law of God was being sidelined in society. It was about to get worse! Why would God allow this? Dr. Currid shows how Habakkuk teaches the sovereignty of God in a way not found in any other book of the Bible.
The days in which Habakkuk preached were a dark time for the church in the Old Testament. God's people were suffering at the hands of others in the community, and the law of God was being sidelined in society. The prophet questions why God would allow such things to happen and to continue. Why is God not doing something about the suffering and injustice?
Habakkuk learns that the just shall live by faith, even though the covenant nation itself is about to be destroyed, and the prophecy ends with a psalm of joyful praise to God. And so we learn, right along with the prophet, that no matter what is swirling around us, good or ill, we are to place our full trust in the sovereign Lord of the universe.
We learn of the different genres of literature in the book: prophecy, wisdom, lamentation, complaint, psalmody. It is, what Currid calls, 'a menagerie of genres'. Ultimately, this is about God's full control over, and care for, his people.
“The book of Habakkuk is hard-hitting. It teaches the truth of the sovereignty of God in a way that is not found in any other book of Scripture.” (Page 9)
“Clearly the central theme of the book of Habakkuk is the sovereignty of God.” (Page 16)
“This verse is God’s corrective: the righteous one will live, not by belonging to a particular nation or people, whether Babylonian or Judaean, but rather ‘by his faith’” (Page 79)
“‘the oracle’; this latter term derives from a verb that means ‘to lift up’, and it specifically refers to the lifting up of a prophet’s voice. It is also related to a noun that means ‘burden’ or ‘load’; Habakkuk’s vision is his burden that he must unload on the people. His vision leads to proclamation. Prophets are not merely visionaries or seers; they are also preachers who declare the word of God to the people. Habakkuk is God’s spokesman who sees a vision and then announces it to the people of God and to the world.” (Pages 24–25)
“But, more than that, Habakkuk is questioning the lack of response by God to the violence, adversity and injustice that prevail among his people. How can God sit idly by? Is he at work or not? In these early verses of the book, the prophet is confronted with the question of theodicy—namely, the ostensible lethargy of God in the light of present evil.” (Page 32)
At the very heart and core of the Scriptures is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. What this means is that God is the Creator of the universe, Lord and Master of heaven above and the earth beneath, and his will is the cause of all things. He is simply sitting on the throne of the universe. He maintains creation, directs it and works all things according to his own will and purpose. Everything that happens in heaven or on earth occurs because of God’s decree, will and purpose. This is the Bible’s teaching, and we reject it at great peril. The centrality of the doctrine of the sovereignty of God is much needed in the church today. The zeitgeist of the day is man’s self-centredness—that is, that the entire world revolves around humanity. The self-absorbed ‘me-ism’ of the day in the West is almost overwhelming. We need a radical change in thinking that acknowledges that God is the centre of reality, and not we ourselves. It should be theism over ‘me-ism’.
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