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Prayers of the Prophets – Lesson 2: Complaint & Vindication

I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. –Habakkuk 2:1

Scripture Reading: Habakkuk 1:1-17

The book of Habakkuk, however short, is nevertheless beautifully descriptive of the prophet’s journey from doubt and anxiety to faith and worship. Habakkuk begins with a desperate agonized cry for the dire circumstances in Jerusalem, questioning God’s mercy and wondering if He remembers His people.

After God answers his first cry, Habakkuk begins to question God’s methods of answering his prayer. The prophet struggles to understand why God would use a wicked foreign power to chasten Judah.

Habakkuk starts his transition from doubt to faith by saying he will stop talking and wait to hear from God. He wants to understand why God works in such mysterious ways. Most importantly, the prophet shows that he desires God to correct him.

One of the greatest statements in the entire Bible is Habakkuk 2:4: “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith. ” (NKJV)

Here we see the lives of those who are unstable, who attempt to find life in themselves, contrasted to the dependable and reliable nature of the man who finds his life and meaning in God. A comment made on this verse in the Spirit-Filled Life Bible, says … The Jewish Talmud states: “Moses gave Israel 613 commandments. David reduced them to 10, Isaiah to 2, but Habakkuk to one: ‘The just shall live by his faith. “1

Habakkuk closes out his book with a song of faith and worship, having moved from anxiety to God’s perfect and abiding peace.

Lesson Questions

  1. Why did Habakkuk feel his prayers were not being heard? Hab. 1:1-2.
  2. From what desperate situation did the prophet cry out? Hab. 1:3-4.
  3. How did God say He would answer Habakkuk’s plea? Hab. 1:5-6; Deut. 28:47-53; II Kings 24:1-4. Note: “Chaldeans” is another name for the Babylonians. Scripture Reading: Isaiah 26:1-12
  4. How treacherous did God say the Babylonians would be in their conquests? Hab. 1:7-11.
  5. Why was Habakkuk deeply concerned with the way his prayer would be answered? Hab. 1:12-17.
  6. What humble and teachable spirit was shown by Habakkuk? Why is this wise? Hab. 2:1; Isaiah 55:8-9.
  7. What did God tell the prophet about the delay in answering his prayer? Hab.2:2-4.
  8. How could Judah have been delivered from invasion and captivity?

Life Application

Habakkuk wasn’t very happy with the way God answered his prayer. How do you feel when God answers your prayers in ways you don’t like? Are you still able to rejoice in the Lord, knowing He is sovereign, and that He knows what is best? Remember that God is not your servant – He doesn’t have to answer your prayers just the way you want them to be. Accept the fact that God knows best. Have faith!

One of the secrets of living we should learn from Habakkuk is to remain teachable. God can use the events in our lives to teach us about Himself, and the ways of righteousness. If we will wait and listen patiently, God can teach us many important things.