Scripture Reading on Sunday Mornings: Habakkuk
SUNDAY MORNING SCRIPTURE READING: HABAKKUK
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE BOOK
- Bears the name of its author, the prophet Habakkuk (1:1)
- Most likely written sometime after the fall of Nineveh to the Chaldeans in 612 B. C. and before Judah’s exile in 605 B. C.
- Themes: Human injustice, Divine salvation and judgment, Unwavering faith
Since this book is only three chapters long, it is easy to capture the flow of Habakkuk’s message. Amidst grave injustice in his day due to complete disregard for God’s law on a national level (1:4), Habakkuk exemplifies unwavering trust in God’s plans for His own people and for the nations. Habakkuk’s message can be summarized this way: The sovereign God of the nations is faithful to save His people and judge the wicked; therefore, worshipfully wait on Him.
1:1-4, Habakkuk complains that the law is not upheld.
1:5-11, Yahweh reveals His plans to use the wicked Chaldean nation to judge Judah.
1:12-2:1, Habakkuk questions why God would allow such a thing and waits for His reply.
2:2-20, Yahweh ensures Habakkuk that He will also judge the Chaldeans for their evil.
3:1-19, Habakkuk prays, expressing unwavering trust in God’s faithfulness to judge and to save.
As you hear Habakkuk read over the next few weeks, try to notice these recurring themes.
God’s people (Judah) and the pagan idolators (the Chaldeans) were examples of injustice, violence, and wickedness at this time. No one upheld God’s law.
- “Therefore, the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore justice comes out perverted.’” (1:4; also 1:6-9, 13-17; 2:5, 9-13)
DIVINE SALVATION AND JUDGEMENT
Habakkuk’s oracle describes God’s response to human wickedness. He is faithful to save the righteous, those who trust God and do keep His law. And God is also faithful to judge those who do not keep His commandments. Throughout the book, Habakkuk highlights both realities.
- “You went forth for the salvation of Your people, for the salvation of Your anointed. You struck the head of the house of the evil to lay him open from thigh to neck.” (3:13; also 1:5-6; 2:13, 16-17; 3:2-15)
Habakkuk’s certainty in God’s faithfulness despite the circumstances surrounding him is exemplary. The prophet’s trust in Yahweh, the self-existent, covenant-keeping God of Israel, reveals the faith-filled heart of every true worshipper of God.
- “Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in Yahweh, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.” (3:17-18; also 1:12-13, 2:1, 14, 20; 3:2, 16-19)
A WORD TO PARENTS
Sunday morning Scripture readings are a great time to include our children in the instruction coming from the pulpit. Here are a couple suggestions for how to help your children glean from what is being said during this time.
- Read and discuss the upcoming chapter beforehand. Your kids will benefit as they recognize what they are hearing on Sundays.
- Use Habakkuk to teach your children the gospel. Since Judah and the Chaldeans practice sin, it is clear that no one is righteous (Rom. 3:10). But God will save his people who trustingly wait for His salvation. The prophet Habakkuk exemplifies this most clearly at the end of his oracle.
- For kids who can read or who are on the verge of learning to read and can recognize familiar words, teach them commonly used words in Habakkuk such as “God,” “Lord,” “the LORD (or Yahweh),” etc. This may keep them engaged and attentive since they can better identify the text being displayed up front.