Habakkuk, Prophet to Judah – Habakkuk 1 – 3 (See summary of Habakkuk at end of document)
Habakkuk was a prophet who lived during the time of Jeremiah. No doubt Habakkuk was familiar with Jeremiah’s warnings that Babylon was going to attack Judah to judge them for their wickedness. (Remember how evil Judah was? The people were greedy, cheating each other, lying, and even worshiping false gods by sacrificing their own children in the fire!)
Unlike most books of prophecy, the book of Habakkuk is not a message from God to His people but, instead, is a record of Habakkuk’s personal conversation with God. Habakkuk asks God the same questions that any one of us might ask God when we don’t understand what we’re seeing in the world around us and when we don’t understand what God is doing.
In 1:1-4, Habakkuk starts his conversation with God by asking, “Lord, do you see what these people are doing? How long are you going to put up with this horrible evil?”
God responds in 1:5-11, telling Habakkuk that He does indeed see what is happening, so He is planning to judge the evil He has seen. The shocker comes when God reveals that He will use the nation of Babylon to judge Judah.
In 1:12-2:1, Habakkuk responds with incredulity. “What? God, how can you use the evil Babylonians to judge your chosen people?”
God responds in chapter 2 by reminding Habakkuk that He sees every evil and that He alone can use evil for good, even the terrible Babylonians. God will ensure that the Babylonians are someday punished, too, but in the meantime, God will use them for His purposes. Ultimately, someday in the future “the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” 2:14
And that sets Habakkuk up in chapter 3 for his final response – a prayer of submission and praise. Habakkuk affirms that no matter what happens, he will trust God (3:17-19). Could we say the same – that even if we had nothing, we would still praise God and trust His plans??
What can we learn from this passage? God can weave together EVERYTHING for His glory and our good when we submit to His plans. God never promises us an easy life, but He does promise that He will be glorified and that we can share in His glory when we submit to His plans and trust Him.
Activity – Scratch Art – give each kid a piece of scratch art paper. Explain that this is special paper, which looks all dark. Underneath, however, are hidden beautiful colors. The colors can be revealed only when the dark is scratched off. As kids work, discuss:
- • What kind of darkness (sin) was Habakkuk seeing around him? Disobedience, lying, cheating, hatred, worshiping false gods, child sacrifice
- • Have you ever seen “darkness?” Something bad? Lying? Cheating? Meanness? Violence – hitting or kicking? Disobedience? Bad things on TV or on the computer? The Bible calls this sin.
- • Sometimes darkness is just sad stuff that happens. Have you experienced that kind of darkness? People or pets getting sick? Dying? The Bible tells us that sickness and sadness are also a result of sin in this world.
- • The book of Habakkuk reminds us that God hates sin and sadness. See 1:13 – “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.” It also reminds us that God sees all the evil done and that God will judge all evil. In 2:8, God tells the Babylonians that He has been watching the way they have destroyed other nations and that because of this, someday they will get paid back for all their evil.
- • Gentle rubbing does not remove the black layer from the paper. You must use something sharp to remove the black. God also uses hard times in our lives for good. When we’re going through something hard, we may not understand it and we certainly don’t like it, but we can trust God. Tell about a time you trusted God even when it was hard.
- • Habakkuk said that even if there were no crops and no animals on the farm, he would still rejoice in God. He would still remember that God was in charge. How could he say that?? He trusted that God’s plan was good.
- • What is God’s plan for dealing with all the darkness we see? Jesus paid for it all by dying on the cross. He paid for your sins and for mine. We can either pay for our sins ourselves by being judged by God with death and forever-separation from Him, or we can accept Jesus’ payment for our sins. What a great Savior!!
- • Have you ever talked to Jesus about the darkness in your life? Encourage kids to think and talk to God about the darkness in their lives – their own sin or sin and sadness they see around them.
Additional Questions -
What did you learn about God/Jesus?
- • God is a judge who sees all sin.
- • God hates sin, and He will judge it.
- • God is a compassionate, forgiving God, so He sent Jesus to die to pay the penalty for our sins.
- • God wants people to repent of their sin so that He can forgive them.
- • God loves us.
What did you learn about people?
- • People must humble themselves to admit that they need to repent of their sins.
- • People can talk to God about the shame they feel when they sin.
What did you learn about yourself?
- • I want to repent (turn from) my sins.
- • I want my heart to be tender towards God.
- • I want to hear what God’s Holy Spirit is telling me, especially when He is pointing out my sins to me.
Habakkuk Summary Verses
Habakkuk Asks God, “Do You See?” (NIrV)
Hab. 1:2 – “Lord, how long do I have to call out for help? Why don’t you listen to me? How long must I keep telling you that things are terrible? Why don’t you save us?”
God Tells Habakkuk, “Yes, I See!” (NIrV)
Hab. 1:5-6 - The Lord replies, “Look at the nations. Watch them. Be totally amazed at what you see. I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe. You would not believe it even if someone told you about it. 6 I am going to send the armies of Babylon to attack you.”
Habakkuk Says, “Wait! What?? The Babylonians Are Worse Than We Are!” (NIrV)
Hab. 1:13 – [Habakkuk to God “Your eyes are too pure to look at what is evil. You can’t put up with the wrong things people do. So why do you put up with those who can’t be trusted? The evil Babylonians swallow up those who are more godly than themselves.”
God Says, “I See and the Babylonians Will Be Punished … eventually” (NIrV)
Hab. 2:8 – [God to the Babylonians] “You have robbed many nations. So the nations that are left will rob you. You have spilled human blood. You have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.”
God Reminds Habakkuk That He Is Still on His Throne and Is in Control (NIrV)
Hab. 2:20 - The Lord is in his holy temple. Let the whole earth be silent in front of him.
One Day God Will Get the Glory He Deserves (NIrV)
Hab. 2:13-14 – “I am the Lord who rules over all. Human effort is no better than wood that feeds a fire. So the nations wear themselves out for nothing. 14 The oceans are full of water. In the same way, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of my glory.”
Habakkuk Prays, Asking God to Work in Their Midst (NIV)
Hab. 3:2 - Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in [your] wrath, remember mercy.
Habakkuk Tells God That He Will Serve Him Whatever Happens (NIV)
Hab. 3:17-18 - Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.