These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
I really appreciate reading the back-and-forth between Habakkuk and God. Shows a certain amount of intimacy and honesty in all that.
I continue to take notice about the prophetic words being called “visions”: “The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.” (1:1)
Reading ch. 1 makes me think of current events with Russia, Ukraine, and the nations a bit uneasy about possible conflict coming. God speaks of the nations as evil, yet still uses them for his purposes (largely with an eye on dealings with his own people–and ultimately for the glory of His Son in the nations). May it be, Lord
Yes!! Also loving this short book. Reads very similar to Job to me (minus the friends) with the back and forth dialogue, Habakkuk not being able to understand the mind of God and then his prayer and acknowledgment of God in the end.
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.Hab. 3:17-19
The scripture above at the end of the book/ his prayer was especially powerful to me! In this world we will have trouble but let us take heart for God has overcome the world. May we rejoice in the Lord whatever comes our way (even in seasons of pain and drought)
Also, loved the Lord’s response in chapter 2:
- v3: “if it (vision) seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come. May we learn to WAIT!
- v4: “the righteous shall live by faith.”
Great insights guys. I have noticed a consistent theme of justice in these OT prophetic books.
“Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed
and establishes a town by injustice!
13 Has not the Lord Almighty determined
that the people’s labor is only fuel for the fire,
that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
Similar to Micah 3, God hates dishonest gain and injustice. HE is in control, and ruler over all.
good word! it’s interesting to consider that “unjust” practices are directly in contrast with “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord”. In other words, if I’m getting the gist right, as the knowledge of God’s glory increases, injustice will decrease. And vice-versa.
This reminds me of 2 Peter where he talks about growing in your faith: “add to your faith virtue, and to virtue add knowledge” etc….in the context of 2 Pet. 1, all of that growth is centered on the knowledge of Christ and especially a focus on the gospel. As that increases, so are we changed
Inflation and Injustice
Sort of related to the issue of justice and Habakkuk…
I’m reading a really good pamphlet called, “Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice”. He has outlined 4 criteria of biblical justice:
- rendering to each his due
- proportionality (symmetry between the actual acts done and the rewards/punishments incurred)
- conformity to the standard of God’s word
And he gives LOTS of Scriptures to establish each point. It really is done very well, IMHO…But I have a question for all of us to ponder together…
In the middle of it, I read an interesting section where the author points out that one biblical example of injustice was diluting the purity of gold, silver, etc. yet claiming it was still fully gold and silver (he references Isaiah 1:21-26; Ezek. 22:17-22). This makes sense and puts it on the level of using “wicked scales” or “deceitful measures” (e.g. Micah 6:10-11). In other words, you are claiming something is worth X, but really you’ve diluted it so it’s worth less than X. So far so good.
But there’s a question I have here. Back in Roman times, as I understand, inflation was introduced into the economy because they diluted the gold used for coins so that they could make more money out of less gold (I’m embarrassed to admit, but here’s my reference for that LOL: https://youtu.be/JFnm_Of4Qqs). This drove the prices of things up, because the government created more money than was really there. Thus, at it’s root, inflation is considered unjust (see Scriptures above). This is why the author goes on to say, “inflationary monetary policy” violates Isaiah 1:21-26 and Ezek. 22:17-22.
I believe he would say that printing more money than we actually should have in the economy, would also violate that principle. Since printing more money drives inflation. He’s saying that this breaks the justice principle of diluting gold and silver to make it SEEM more valuable than it really is.
Sorry if I totally lost you and that this is longer than I meant…but all to ask, what do you think? Is printing money beyond what you should (which is what happened since Covid in U.S., as I understand) an unjust practice according to God’s word?
I agree the inflationary policy has a tendency toward injustice. I believe the tradition of coins having ridges on their edge was an old school way of knowing whether coins had been shaved or “clipped.”
When confronting modern issues, whether they are social, financial, cultural, etc, I always end up back at Jesus. Without Jesus these problems are impossible and overwhelming. Jesus turns everything upside down when he tells us to follow him. Give away your money, love your enemies, be a servant to all, these were and still are radical instructions that actually give us freedom.
Like is said above, I was also touched by Hab 2:4. Specifically, think of the backdrop: you have proud nations/people doing their things. They are compared later in the chapter to wines that are making people drunk. But in the midst of this you have simple, humble people exercising faith in God to walk righteously.
That has really spoken to me as I look at events in Russia/Ukraine escalating to who-knows-what. Proud nations/people doing proud things. But God is looking for simple, humble people to live by faith at these times.
I’d like to also add 2:18-20. There was a contrast there that really spoke to me:
- In 2:18-19 you have people yelling at their idols who (obviously) can’t speak.
- In 2:20 we are told to be silent before the Living God (who speaks).
Man, that right there is powerful. How much are we seeing people around us running their mouth about false gods. Meanwhile, how many people are humbly listening and reading God’s Word, and pointing to that (so He is the MAIN SPEAKER!)?
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
This is joy vs. happiness. “American Theology” preaches happiness at all costs, but following Christ is different. The idea of joy and being content regardless of circumstance is such a countercultural idea.
Now I will say that I haven’t lived in a time of losing all but Jesus like this. But I pray and hope I affirm this the same (or more) if that ever does happen. And regardless of circumstances, this will be a posture of my heart!
Farming and God
Tangentially related (again):
Someone recently remarked to me how farmers tend to be more God-focused whereas the more you get into the city the more secularism creeps up. I think that could (or has) been backed up by data. But he surmised that it might have to do with how farming feels the dependency of God more (if there is a drought in an agricultural community, it’s a BIG DEAL…much more than if it happens in a city, for instance).
This seems very plausible to me. I think that farming and working the land requires a lot of cooperation from nature, and it would seem much more natural to relate to and rely on God for help in that profession.
I do feel that it is a bit more of a challenge to relate to God at a non-agrarian job, but God does indeed care just as much and is still totally in control.
A good friend and mentor of mine, Dave, taught me to keep a list of prayer requests that are solely related to my work. There are times at work where I feel stuck or totally buried under the weight of tough situations, and turning to God for help is the only thing that can bring peace. Prior to keeping a “work prayer list” my natural tendency would be to try to control everything to make it go my way, and I would end up frustrated and exhausted. Praying about my job has been an awesome reminder that God cares about my life, and he wants his kingdom to come on earth, which includes the little place that I work everyday.