NextLevel Online: Pray Yet: A Study of Habakkuk

Session 1: Overview

The first session will be an overview and an introduction to Habakkuk, the person and his prophecies. We also define faith in different forms.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader
  • Preacher went into a Sunday School Class and asked, “What’s faith?” Little girl responded, “Faith is believing God without asking any questions.” But genuine faith has lots of questions.The opposite of faith is non-faith; not actions in conjunction with faith. The opposite of faith is not doubt. In fact, in faith, there is room for doubt. Just like temptation is not sin but can lead to sin, so doubt is not unbelief, but it can lead to unbelief.

  • John Ortberg wrote a book entitled Faith and Doubt. He said that the middle word is the most important. Not “or” but “and.” Faith goes hand-in-hand with doubt. He says that we doubt and worship; we doubt and serve; we doubt and help other people with their doubts. Frederick Bruner said that faith is always bipolar. It advances and then retreats—3 steps forward and 2 steps backwards (Swindoll). Frederick Bueckner says that doubt is the ants in the pants of the believer. It keeps it alive and moving.

  • In the Minor Prophet, Habakkuk, we learn about how to turn our doubts into faith. It has to do with learning how to pray yet. And this would be a lesson that Habakkuk would have to learn personally. Judah gets to overhear Habakkuk’s complaints, dialogues, prayers, and songs to God. In addition Judah gets to overhear God’s response to Habakkuk. In this sense the book of Habakkuk is unique. There really is not another Bible book like it—the narrative prophet Jonah comes the closest.

  • Two simple observations about OT prophets might help us:

    • The prophets (major or minor) were the covenant watchdogs to God’s people.
    • The prophets didn’t just design messages; they were messages (Calvin Miller). Very true of Habakkuk because his faith struggle would be Judah’s struggle.
  • Habakkuk’s name means “to embrace.” He would have to embrace the ways of God even when he didn’t understand them. I have never had difficulty believing in the existence of God. It made sense that a design demanded a designer. But I have struggled to understand why God does, what he does, and when he does it.

  • Habakkuk lived and prophesied around 610 BC. Good King Josiah had just died and God’s People fell back into deep sin. Along with the major prophet, Jeremiah, Habakkuk’s job was to get God’s people ready for Babylonian captivity.

  • I once outlined the book this way:

    • Hello? (1:1-4)
    • Nunnh-Unnh (1:5-11)
    • Say What? (1:12-2:1)
    • Chill (2:2-20)
    • Whoa Dude (3:1-19)
  • Famous texts: 2:4, 14, 20; 3:17

  • Traditions about his death and burial—two sites in Israel and one in Iran. In the Dead Sea Scrolls a commentary was found in Cave One in 1948. It is a commentary on Hab. 1-2.

  • So we will dive into this minor prophet with a major message—how can we maintain our faith in God when our world seems to be falling apart? Maybe the key is to learn to “Pray Yet.”

Discussion Questions:

  • How is it that within faith there is “room for doubt?”
  • In what way do prophets not only deliver messages but are messages?
  • What does “pray yet” mean to you?
  • God can handle your largest question. What is a “big” question you have for God?

About NextLevel Online

The vision of Ozark Christian College is to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and edifying Christians worldwide. The mission of Ozark Christian College is to train men and women for Christian service as a degree-granting institution of biblical higher education.