NextLevel Online: Pray Yet: A Study of Habakkuk

Session 2: First Complaint and First Response

We are learning how to “pray yet” in this book of Habakkuk. How do we stay faithful in trying times? This session covers Habakkuk's first complaint and God's first response. Elie Wiesel said, “No faith is as good as a wounded faith.” Pray yet even when God’s ways seem most odd.



Classroom

Classroom Instructions

Lesson
Materials: Lesson Outline
Leader
  • We are learning how to “pray yet” in this book of Habakkuk. How do we stay faithful in trying times?

  • Habakkuk calls what “saw” as an oracle (1:1). This is a word for inspired speech, i.e. prophecy. But notice that he said “saw.” This might be partly visionary. Regardless it means “inspired.”

FIRST COMPLAINT (1:2-4):

  • How long? That’s often the cry of believers who feel that the world is dissing them. It’s an honest cry. It’s the same thing the persecuted saints cried in Revelation (5:10).

  • Here’s the thing, though. For Habakkuk, it’s not the world that is dissing the righteous; it’s the people of God themselves. Habakkuk sees the evil within his own people. Habakkuk’s world is filled with idolatry, immorality, violence, iniquity, and lack of justice.

  • Habakkuk is thinking that God is not paying attention to things. Does it seem to you that God is asleep on your deal? Remember the first story of the calming of the storm (Mk. 4:35-41)? Jesus is asleep on the job. The seeming inactivity of God is a problem for Habakkuk.

  • Habakkuk knows that God’s People are being violent (a word used much in Genesis – Kings). He wonders why, as a prophet, he has to look at how bad things are. It’s as if God has made the prophet look at iniquity (moral impurity). Destruction and violence are everywhere and God seems to sit idly by. Strife and contention are running rampant.

  • Habakkuk notices that the law (so special to the People of God—I mean this is one way they know who they are) “seems paralyzed.” The Torah is paralyzed (no formal law enforcement). Justice is lacking. The wicked seem to win—Ps. 73.

  • Habakkuk is having a “deistic” moment.

FIRST RESPONSE (1:5-11):

  • Now we get to overhear what God is saying to Habakkuk’s complaint so this is intimate. We get to go inside of Habakkuk’s prayer closet.

  • God says, “Actually I do know what is going on, and am going to do something about it.” The phrase, “I am doing a work” (1:5)—is literally, “a worker is working” (Hebraism)—heaping up the words for emphasis. But you won’t believe it—this is actually used by Paul in Acts 13:41

  • Vs. 6 says that I am going to raise up the Babylonians to punish all this wickedness in my own people. The nation of Babylon is going to march against Judah. Look how that nation is described:

    • Bitter and hasty (6)
    • Good marchers (6)
    • Steal (6)
    • Dreaded and fearsome (7)
    • They have their own definitions of justice and dignity (7)
    • Their war ability is described as horses (like leopards and wolves) and the riders (fast as eagles)—vs. 8
    • They are fierce and intent (9)
    • They gather enemies like sand (9)
    • Foreign kings and rulers are nothing to them. They just scoff and laugh at them (10)
    • They are as fast as the wind (11)
    • They are arrogant and worship their own might (11)
  • First Habakkuk had a problem with the seeming inactivity of God; now he has a problem with the activity of God.

  • How do we “pray yet” when God’s ways seem so foreign to our way of thinking? Elie Wiesel said, “No faith is as good as a wounded faith.”

  • Here is a very disturbing text from the NT—1 Pet. 4:17, “Judgment begins with the household of God. If it begins with us, imagine what it will be for those who do not obey God.”

  • Pray yet even when God’s ways seem most odd.

Discussion Questions:

  • Deism is the belief that God made the world but then left it to its own. Does it seem to you that God has left you alone at times? How so?

  • Which poses a bigger issue for your faith, the seeming inactivity of God or his direct involvement? The disciples were afraid of the storm, but they were “very much afraid” of the Savior who could calm it. Discuss.

  • Are there ways that you see God at work today through seeming evil people and systems?

  • Have you had a time when your faith has been wounded? What else was going on in your life when this took place?

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.