Habakkuk’s Prayer (Habakkuk 3)

Scripture Text:

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Habakkuk 3

1. What’s your favorite spot from which to view the sunrise? How often do you go there? What do sunrises bring to mind for you?

2. “It’s always darkest before the dawn” – To what would that saying refer in your life these days?

3. What popular song typified your teenage years? What memory does your favorite song bring to mind?

4. Why can the once woeful Habakkuk afford to be so joyful? How has his situation changed? How long after chapter 1 and 2 do you suppose it was written?

5. How is verse 2 related to the rest of this  psalm-like prayer? How is verse 2 related to the promise of chapter 2:2 – 4? How are wrath and mercy related?

6. How does reciting God’s marvelous deeds in the past anticipate God’s future deliverance “in our day” (verse 2)?

7. To what historical events do the poetic allusions refer in verses 3 – 5 (see Exodus chapter 7 – 12)? In verses 6 and 7 (see Exodus 19:16)?

8. In verses 8 – 10, what do you see poetically depicted?

  • the creation of the world?
  • the parting of the Red Sea?
  • the crossing of the Jordan River?

9. Compare verses 8 – 10 with Psalm 74:12 – 17 and Psalm 77:16 – 19. What similar images do these prayers use to evoke awe for God’s mighty works? What other images (from nature, warfare or whatever) have a similar impact on you?

10. What is Habakkuk’s response to the poetic and dramatic vision of verses 3 – 15? Why is his heart racing? What evidence does he have for rejoicing? How does he get his sure-footed confidence?

11. What does Habakkuk’s irrepressible joy (verses 17 – 19) mean in the context of injustice (chapter 1:2 – 4)? Of God’s use of wicked Babylon (chapter 1:12 – 17)? Of expectation (chapter 2:2 – 4)?

12. This hymn-like chapter stirred up vivid memories in Israel of God’s might and mercy. When has God worked mightily and mercifully in your past? In your present, where do you want God to renew His mercy and work mightily again?

13. What new meaning would Habakkuk bring to the belief “It’s always darkest before the dawn”? In what area of your life is God’s power dawning? Where are you still waiting in the twilight for the sun to rise?

14. What things are barren in your life, as in Habakkuk’s day (verse 17)? Are you ready to yet rejoice in the Lord, anyway? Why or why not?

15. What promise does verse 19 hold for your present situation? For your future?

16. What other key verse(s) are you prepared to “write down”, “run with”, or “wait for” (chapter 2:2 – 3)?

17. Do you really believe God has the power described in this poem? Or is this just poetic exaggeration?

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God’s Answer To Habakkuk’s Second Complaint (Habakkuk 2:2 – 20)

Scripture Text:

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Habakkuk 2:2 – 20

1. When told, “Wait for it,” how do you respond? What’s tough about waiting for dinner? For a bus? For a buyer? For Christmas?

2. When are you “exhausted for nothing”? What was it you were striving after at the time?

3. What “revelation” is Habakkuk to write down? What aspects of it are described here (verses 2 and 3)?

4. Within the context of the book, who is “he” in verses 4 and 5? How are the righteous to live in contrast to “him”? In context, does this “living by faith” imply national deliverance or spiritual salvation? Explain your answer.

5. Find the five “woes” in verses 6 – 20. In verse 6a, who are “all of them” and who is “him”? What is the larger context for these woes (verses 14 and 20? How does this oracle answer Habakkuk’s original concern (chapter 1:12 – 17)?

6. What is the content of the first woe (verses 6 – 8)? What metaphor is used of Babylon? How has Habakkuk’s view changed?

7. What is announced in the second woe (verses 9 – 11)? What metaphor is used of Babylon?

8. Paraphrase the third woe (verses 12 – 14). What is the climax to the first three woes (verse 14)? How will destroying Babylon spread God’s glory?

9. How is the fourth woe different from the first three (contrast verses 6b, 9a, and 12a with 15a)? Do you read “drink” literally, or might this also refer to the drunkenness of power? What example of this do you see in Babylon’s onslaught of Jerusalem in 586 BC (see 2 Kings 25:8 – 21)?

10. What new theme does verse 18 introduce? How is that related to the fifth woe (verses 19 and 20)? What ironic point do you see here in idols silent before people and people silent before God? What is the climax of the whole “woe” section (verse 20) and of the “end” for which Israel is to wait?

11. Compare chapter 2:4 with Romans 1:16 – 18 and Galatians 3:10 – 14. What use does the apostle Paul make of this famous passage to speak a new word to a new generation? How is Paul’s emphasis like and unlike Habakkuk’s?

12. “God may seem to be late, but is invariably on time” – Would Habakkuk say that? Would you? How does God measure “time”?

13. Do you know someone who is “puffed up”? How can you “live by your faith” in his or her presence without also becoming “puffed up”?

14. What or who builds an empire today like Babylon – with stolen goods, unjust gain, bloodshed, is drunk with power and encourages others to do likewise? What would Habakkuk say to such a person or organization? What can you do to impact a world in which such things happen?

15. What help are the affirmations in verses 14 and 20 to you? What other “waters covered the sea” to God’s glory (see Exodus 14)? When will the Lord do this a “second time” (see Isaiah 11:9 – 11)? What final fulfillment of this prophecy do you see in Babylon’s fall at the end of history (see Revelation chapters 17 and 18)?

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Habakkuk’s Second Complaint (Habakkuk 1:12 – 2:1)

Scripture Text:

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Habakkuk 1:12 – 2:1

1. What do you like, or not like, about fishing and hunting?

2. When this past year have you felt like the hunter? The hunted?

3. How have the events of chapter 1:1 – 11 begun to happen? How does Habakkuk respond to this new situation?

4. To whom does he address this second complaint? How does his “voice” change in chapter 2:1?

5. How is the character issue related to the problem of evil (chapter 1:12, 13)? How will that change God’s mind?

6. Who are the “treacherous” and the “more righteous” (verse 13)? What is the “net” (verses 14 – 17)?

7. What would it mean for the wicked to sacrifice to the “net”? How does the “net” support luxurious living?

8. What is the punch of chapter 1:17 and chapter 2:1? Is Habakkuk resigning himself to fate? Or casting himself on God?

9. What symbols of power do we worship in our culture? How so?

10. When else in history have the righteous been “swallowed up” by the wicked? Why?

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