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God condemns Babylon for the evil it has done.


The thirty-fifth book in the Old Testament is that of Habakkuk, the eighth of the Minor Prophets.

In the last years of the Kingdom of Judah the changes made by the good King Josiah had been overturned by his successors. The kingdom had once again descended into sin and this prompted the prophet Habakkuk to ask God why He was not punishing them. All of Habakkuk's questions are answered by God and the prophet is told of what is soon going to happen. The book ends with Habakkuk's prayer to, and praise for, God.

All quotations from the Bible are taken from the Authorised King James Version.
In the first lines of his book Habakkuk asks God how long he must call out before God will do what?
Before God will destroy Judah's enemies
Before God will feed the people
Before God will overthrow the evil king
Before God will hear him
Habakkuk 1:1-2
"The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
O Lord, how long shall I cry,
and thou wilt not hear!
even cry out unto thee of violence,
and thou wilt not save!"

We have very little knowledge about Habakkuk. We do not even know where he came from as his introduction states only his name
God tells Habakkuk to look for a sign of His work, where?
In foreign nations
In the desert
In the temple
In the sky
God tells the prophet that He will work his wonders through the Heathens, or non-Jews.

Habakkuk 1:5
"Behold ye among the heathen,
and regard, and wonder marvellously:
for I will work a work in your days,
which ye will not believe, though it be told you"
God tells Habakkuk that punishment is coming to Judah at the hands of which foreign country?
God says that the mighty and dreadful Chaldeans will destroy the kingdom. The Chaldeans were the Kings of Babylon at the time.

Habakkuk 1:6-9
"For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation,
which shall march through the breadth of the land,
to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs.
They are terrible and dreadful:
their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.
Their horses also are swifter than the leopards,
and are more fierce than the evening wolves:
and their horsemen shall spread themselves,
and their horsemen shall come from far;
they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat.
They shall come all for violence:
their faces shall sup up as the east wind,
and they shall gather the captivity as the sand"
Habakkuk does not like God's method of punishment. What reason does he give to God for his objection?
The Babylonians are too far away
The punishment is not severe enough
The Babylonians are more wicked than the Judeans
The punishment is too harsh
Habakkuk cannot see why the Judeans should be punished by a wicked nation. He would have preferred to receive punishment from the righteous.

Habakkuk 1:13
"Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil,
and canst not look on iniquity,
wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously,
and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?"
After telling the prophet of the future, God also tells him that he should trust that these events will happen. He also says that the just should live by what?
By faith
By hope
By charity
By God
God wants Habakkuk, and us, to put our faith in Him. If God says that something will happen, then we can be certain that it will.

Habakkuk 2:4
"Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him:
but the just shall live by his faith."

This statement that "the just live by faith" is repeated three times in the New Testament by St. Paul in his letters to the Romans, the Galatians and the Hebrews. You can find the words in these verses:
Romans 1:17
Galatians 3:11
Hebrews 10:38
Despite Habakkuk's objections God tells him that Babylon is His choice as the punisher of Judah. How does God convince Habakkuk that He is right?
God tells him that the Jews will be a good influence in Babylon
God tells him that Babylon itself will one day be punished
God tells him that Babylon needs the loot from Judah to avoid poverty
God tells him that Babylon is God's new chosen people
God uses all nations, even those who don't obey Him, for His own ends. Even the wicked Babylonians are used for God's purposes, but they too will one day be punished.

Habakkuk 2:8
"Because thou hast spoiled many nations,
all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee;
because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land,
of the city, and of all that dwell therein"
God condemns Babylon for the evil it has done. He says that it has sinned against what?
Against the Law
Against its own people
Against God
Against its own soul
God says that the Babylonians have brought shame on themselves.

Habakkuk 2:9-10
"Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house,
that he may set his nest on high,
that he may be delivered from the power of evil!
Thou hast consulted shame to thy house by cutting off many people,
and hast sinned against thy soul"
God ends his answer to Habakkuk's questions with a statement about His supreme power. He says that all the world should be what, before God?
All people on earth should be respectful of God.

Habakkuk 2:20
"But the Lord is in his holy temple:
let all the earth keep silence before him"
The third chapter in the Book of Habakkuk is a prayer to God. The prophet begins his prayer by admitting that when he heard God's words he was what?
God's warnings frightened Habakkuk, and he pleads to Him for mercy.

Habakkuk 3:2
"O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid:
O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years,
in the midst of the years make known;
in wrath remember mercy"
Habakkuk's prayer ends with the joyous faith that, despite the punishment which is coming, God will be the prophet's strength and will make him walk where?
In high places
Over his enemies
In peace
Away from fear
Habakkuk 3:17-19
"Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labour of the olive shall fail,
and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
To the chief singer on my stringed instruments."

This last line makes us think that Habakkuk may have been a Levite who made music in the temple


Author:  Graeme Haw

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