Introduction: Would you like to keep private past decisions that were
questionable? How many times do you wish that others would not
criticize you? Do you like it when others want to discuss with you
some error that you made in the past? Except when you are sinfully
bragging, do you like to talk about past sins? Unless you are an
uncommon saint, the answer to all of these questions is that we do
not like to be questioned, criticized or reminded of our sins. Our
amazing God is open to a discussion about His decisions. The God who
created us is willing to discuss how He treats us. The book of
Habakkuk reveals a God who is open and transparent. Let’s jump into
our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about God’s

  1. The Complaint

    1. Read Habakkuk 1:1-2. The NIV translates as “oracle” a word
      that means “burden” or figuratively a “dark message.” Is
      this message from God? (The dark message seems to be from
      people who are complaining to God.)

      1. Have you ever had your children or your spouse say,
        “You don’t listen!” “You never help me”? How do you
        like those kinds of complaints?

      2. Why do you think God publishes in the Bible these
        complaints against Him? (He wants us to learn

    2. Read Habakkuk 1:3. What is the complaint here? (God
      tolerates injustice. God tolerates violence and

    3. Read Habakkuk 1:4. Why is a discussion of the law
      relevant? (Normally, the legal system of justice is the
      way in which violence, destruction and injustice are
      handled. These are the human mechanisms to address these
      problems. The complaint is that neither humans nor God
      are doing anything about injustice.)

  2. God’s Response

    1. Read Habakkuk 1:5. This is God’s response. How does God
      think His response will be received? (God says, “I know it
      will be unbelievable.”)

    2. Read Habakkuk 1:6-7. What unbelievable thing does God have
      in mind? (He is going to use evil, unjust and arrogant
      people (the Babylonians) to carry out a mission for God.)

    1. Read Habakkuk 1:8-11. In addition to being wicked, what
      else can we say about the Babylonians? (They are a
      military powerhouse.)

  1. The Reply

    1. Read Habakkuk 1:12-13. What are the obvious problems with
      God’s plan? (God is pure. Why would He use the wicked? God
      believes in righteousness, why would He use the
      treacherous? Especially, why would God use the really
      wicked to punish the mildly wicked?)

    2. Let’s discuss this for just a minute. Does God care about
      the really wicked? (When we studied the book of Jonah we
      learned that God loves and pursues the really wicked.)

      1. Why not use the mildly wicked to punish the really
        wicked? (This is an important lesson for Christians.
        God gives no credit for being mildly wicked. We
        cannot think that we are owed something by God for
        being mildly evil.)

      2. Have you ever said, “Why did you punish me? This
        other person is a lot worse?” “Officer, why did you
        pull me over, this other car just passed me – you
        should pull him over instead!”

      3. Let’s talk about this in terms of today. Would God
        allow Satan or fallen angels to punish us?

        1. Does Satan want to harm us? (Yes!)

        2. Is God’s punishment simply stepping aside and
          not stopping evil?

        3. Have you noticed that it seems to be a law of
          the universe that evil works bring evil
          responses? You punch someone and they are
          likely to punch you back. Would it be fair to
          conclude that evil has its own natural
          punishment in most cases, and God decides
          whether or not to intervene and prevent the

    3. Read Habakkuk 1:14-16. What is the other problem with God
      using the really wicked to punish the mildly wicked? (The
      really wicked give praise to their false gods.)

    4. Read Habakkuk 2:1. After stating the additional
      complaints, what does Habakkuk do? (He waits on God for
      an answer.)

      1. Does God have to answer? Does God have to explain
        himself to His creation?

  2. God’s Reply

    1. Read Habakkuk 2:2. How important is God’s answer? (God
      says “I want everyone to know what I have to say about
      these complaints.” That suggests the answer is important.)

    2. Read Habakkuk 2:3. What kind of response is this? (God
      says, “Wait for it.” “Timing is very important here. I
      will do what I promise in My time.”)

    3. Read Habakkuk 2:4. What two kinds of people does God say
      exist? (The righteous who live by faith, and the proud
      with their evil desires.)

    4. Read Habakkuk 2:5. What is wrong with those who are evil?
      (They are greedy and never satisfied.)

    5. Read Habakkuk 2:6-7. What is God’s answer about the future
      of the evil? (God says “payback” is coming. The evil will
      be ridiculed and scorned. They will change places and
      become the victim.)

    6. Read Habakkuk 2:13-14. I keep time records of my work. The
      day before I wrote this I put in 11.4 hours of work. What
      does God say about laboring to exhaustion? (It is all
      going to burn!)

      1. What is important in life? (Advancing the knowledge
        of the glory of God. Bringing glory to God. I like to
        think that my work every day is to advance the
        Kingdom of God rather than just build something that
        will burn.)

    7. Read Habakkuk 2:15-16. Does this sound like advice on
      current issues? (Consider the number of Internet videos of
      drunk young people who fit this picture.)

      1. What is God telling us? (That if we take advantage of
        others, we can expect others to take advantage of us.
        God will pour out a cup of disgrace on us.)

    8. Read Habakkuk 2:18-20. We started this chapter by saying
      that God is going to give His answer about why the truly
      evil are used to punish the mildly evil. God is going to
      tell us why He allows violence and tolerates injustice.
      What answers do you find among the verses that we just
      read? (God’s answer seems to have several parts. First, He
      knows who are the righteous who live by faith and He knows
      who are the proud and greedy. God knows who trusts in Him
      and He knows who trust in their own creation. God says the
      timing may vary, but the wicked will be punished. Evil
      and violence will end. God says, “I am on My throne –
      trust Me!”)

  3. Habakkuk’s Prayer

    1. Read Habakkuk 3:1-2. In light of what God just told
      Habakkuk, what does Habakkuk pray? (Do it now! Bring
      justice now! Bring mercy now!)

    2. Habakkuk 3:3-16 recite God’s great power and glory. God
      can do anything!

    3. Read Habakkuk 3:17-18. Consider the contrast. God is all
      powerful and can do anything. However, as a practical
      matter, right now in my life things are going very poorly.
      What attitude should you have in such a situation? (We
      should rejoice in God and be joyful. God asks us to look
      beyond our situation and trust that He will make things

    4. Read Habakkuk 3:19. How does trust, faith and joy in God
      change our life? (An attitude of trust gives us wings! It
      gives us strength and it gives us speed and it gives us
      the ability to see things clearly.)

    5. Friend, would you like wings? Would you like joy,
      strength, speed and clarity? Trust in God. Despite the
      current problems of life, God is on His throne. Trust that
      God sees those who live by faith and those who oppose God.
      In His time, God will make it right!

  4. Next week: The Day of the Lord (Zephaniah).