I recently began a Bible Study of the book Habakkuk through The Daily Grace Co. I’ll be honest; Habakkuk was not a book I was familiar with. I’ll even go a step further and confess that I didn’t think I had ever heard of Habakkuk, or if I had, I had long forgotten that particular part of the Bible existed.
Bible Studies are difficult for me. I always start them, but very rarely do I finish. I often find myself getting hung up on a concept I can’t quite understand, or my eyes glaze over when my tongue trips over the difficult to pronounce names and cities. My eyes begin to glaze, I lose focus, and I easily become distracted by whatever’s trending on Netflix.
We are all imperfect people and fall short of the glory of God.
But I chose Habakkuk for two reasons:
- A friend of mine posted about it on social media and I’m easily influenced, and
- The description of the study really resonated with me and with all we’ve been dealing with the past couple years. Habakkuk asks the timeless question that if God is good, why do bad things continue to happen?
Now don’t get me wrong, please. I am strong in my faith to know that God is always good, and there is always a plan. But I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes, I find myself questioning why so many bad things continue to happen.
Why can’t good prevail? Why can’t we come out on top? Why is there so much evil and why are so many people seeming to turn a blind eye? I just don’t get it.
So. I added Even If: A Study of Habakkuk to my cart and I quickly placed that online order.
Habakkuk Bible Study: Outline + Overview
If you’re like me, and need a quick refresher, Habakkuk consists of three chapters and can be found near the end of the Old Testament. Habakkuk is proof that often big ideas come in small packages. And while the book may be tiny, its message is a powerful one that still rings true today.
The book consists of a conversation between Habakkuk and God; where Habakkuk is basically demanding to know why, if God is good, do bad things continue to happen? Why, if God is the King of the Heavens and Earth, does He allow corruption, devastation, and suffering to occur? Before His very eyes, even?
“How long, Lord, must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence and you do not save? Why do you force me to look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Oppression and violence are right in front of me. Strife is ongoing, and conflict escalates. This is why the law is ineffective and justice never emerges. For the wicked restrict the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted.” (1:1-4).
The first time I read it through, I was so nervous for Habukkuk. I was like, oh dang, Hab. I kind of wanted to turn the page, kind of wanted to grab my popcorn and keep reading.
Here is this guy, a prophet of his time, standing in Jerusalem, worried about the state of his nation, and he has the audacity to question the Creator of the Universe. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. The Most High. Calling Him out for seemingly not doing anything. Dude. Habukkuk. What are you doing, man?!
But here’s the really amazing thing. God listened to Habukkuk. He allowed the questions, He allowed the confusion. And He allowed Habukkuk to get his words, fears, and frustrations off his chest. And then, He answered him. Patiently.
Think about this for a minute. Are you a parent, by chance? Have you ever found yourself responding with, “Because I’m your mom and I SAID SO!” as an answer to a question presented by your strong-willed, argumentative child who questions your authority? (Raises hand). I know I have. Many times.
Reading through this, that’s what I imagined God’s response to be. That of a slightly annoyed parent who just wants to be like, “Look, kid. It is what it is because I said it is.” Instead, He answered:
“Look at the nations and observe – be utterly astounded! For I am doing something in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.” (1:5). God is basically saying “Trust me. I got this. I have a plan – you just don’t know the details yet.”
Because the thing about it is this: God’s ways are not our ways. His plans are not our plans; they fulfill a much greater purpose and they always accomplish His goals.
Key words: His Goals. Not ours.
God Has a Plan, and Justice Will Prevail
For justice will prevail and all the morally upright will be vindicated.Psalm 94:15
You know how sometimes we pray so hard for something we want but we don’t get it? It’s because God knew we didn’t need that particular thing. It didn’t fit His plan, or His path. We may not always get what we want, but we sure do get what we need. Even when we don’t understand it.
As Habakkuk and God continue to hash it out, we are reminded of these lessons about God’s will. And it sure did make me think a lot about what our world is currently like. We are living through so much turmoil and distress; racial inequalities, riots and murders, a pandemic, sex trafficking, political indifferences, government control, and that’s just naming a few.
As much as I hate to admit it, it can get easy to slide into that Habakkuk-mindset and question why God is being silent. Why He allows so much evil to continue.
Only if you continue to really dive into the rest of the three chapters, the book of Habakkuk paints a much bigger picture. It reminds us that God is never silent, we just have to be willing to listen to Him.
That sometimes His voice is not loud and booming, but that it comes in quick, quiet bursts, urging us forward and reminding us that the righteous live by faith in God (2:4).
Habakkuk didn’t question God because he didn’t believe in him; he questioned God because he needed to restore his faith.
He needed to believe that even when he couldn’t see it, he was fighting toward a greater good. And that’s a reminder that quite frankly, I could use every now and then, too.
He didn’t turn his back on God when he didn’t understand the master plan, but instead, Habakkuk continued to praise God, and felt encouraged in his ongoing belief in God’s plan. In knowing that “all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Habakkuk was living through a time of uncertainty, just like I feel we are today. But even though he had so many questions racing through his mind; so many worries, and fears, and so many unknowns that he was facing and would continue to face in his lifetime, Habakkuk’s stance remained simple and rooted in faith: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord” (3:18).
We will all face these moments of uncertainty. Maybe some of you already have, or maybe you’re currently going through some of these similar thoughts and questions.
The book of Habakkuk reminds us that sometimes, we limit ourselves by our own perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in all our feelings and think that the world is just crazy. But it is in these moments of not understanding where God is or why He is allowing these things to happen that we must stand strong.
The easy thing to do is change our beliefs to align with our circumstances. But the easy way is never the most rewarding, is it? It’s in these moments where we learn to stand just a little bit stronger than we stood yesterday, knowing the truth of the word of God, and we must learn to look at our circumstances through His lens. We must trust that God is always working in ways we cannot see. Yet.