Hab. 1:1: – 1 The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.
Hab. 3:1: – 1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.
The Man Who Caressed the People
Although he is not much more than a mere name to us, we know that Habakkuk was a prophet of Judah and of the tribe of Levi and of the temple singers (Hab. 3:19: –19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments). He is also referred to as a prophet and the last prophet before the destruction of Jerusalem (Hab. 3:11: –11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear). Rabbinical tradition makes him the son of the Shunammite woman whom Elisha restored to life (2 Kings 4:16: –16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”). Habakkuk prophesied the coming of the Babylonians upon Judah. This invasion took place in 606b.c. and also in 597b.c. and 586b.c. “In your days” (Hab. 1:5: –5 “Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told), would indicate that he prophesied scarcely a generation before the first invasion.
In his prophecy Habakkuk was true to his name, which means “strong embrace of God,” for he caressed and comforted the people as one would embrace a weeping child until its tears are dried. A modern writer suggests that his name may have contributed somewhat to the unpopularity of the prophet. “His name is against him; its coarse gutterals, falling upon the modern ears with a forbidden ring, and creating a prejudice from the beginning.”
From the book Habakkuk wrote, we gather that he was the questioning prophet. He wants to know “Why?” and “How?”Answers were granted him. Why does God permit the destruction of His own people by a hand so cruel and unclean? The prophet waited patiently for an answer, and it came. The ungodly shall pass; the just shall live by faith.
Then we have a chant of derision against the Chaldeans raised by their victims – a fivefold woe:
I. Their insatiable greed.
II. Their overreaching ambition.
III. Their cruel tyranny.
IV. Their shameful treatment of conquered people.
V. Their brutal idolatry.
Then there is Habakkuk’s great message of faith which gave Paul a hint of the most precious truth of the Gospel and aided the Reformation under Martin Luther, the charter of evangelical liberty.
Rom. 1:17: – 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Gal. 3:11: – 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”
Heb. 10:38: – 38 And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”