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Habakkuk Overview // When the Fig Tree Does Not Blossom

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Introduction

Habakkuk 1:1-4 “The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.”
Last Tuesday, I was sitting in my office, when I saw notifications of a shooting. This shooting took place in Texas. A shooter entered an elementary school and killed 18 children and three adults.
This comes on the cusp of two other shootings - one in California and one in New York.
Before these events, a supreme court document was leaked about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and a large portion of the nation erupted in outrage over this verdict.
The Southern Baptist Convention hit the front pages of many newspapers for failing to act on the bequest of those who had been abused.
“God, what are you doing?” People are suffering, and the world has lost its moral compass. Why do you allow evil to flourish.
Habakkuk asked God that same question. He was a prophet to Judah. Judah was living in horrible sin, and on the horizon, the nation of Babylon was on the horizon to conquer Babylon.
In the book of Habakkuk, Habakkuk wrestles with the Lord.
I want you to know that it’s ok to wrestle with God.
It’s ok to ask God questions.
When we approach the Lord with our questions, He resolves them. He might not give us the full answer, but he does resolve the questions that we have.
So often, we ask a question of God, but we don’t ever ask it to Him. We ask it to others. We ask it to ourselves.
CIT: God is not idle over the sin and brokenness in the world.

Explanation

Read Habakkuk 1:1-11
Habakkuk asks God a question.
What Habakkuk knows about God, His sovereignty, and His holiness was at odds with Habakkuk was seeing around him.
He asks, “When are you going to handle all of this wickedness?” “When will you end this sinfulness?”
God answers Habakkuk
He says, Verse 5, “Look and wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you wouldn’t believe if I told you.”
A pastor in Texas said he was preaching at Super Summer, and this verse was on the t shirts. It was the verse of the summer.
Wonder and astonishment can be good, and they can be bad.
God is saying, I am going to do something, Habakkuk, that makes you look in horror. I am going to end the wickedness of Israel, and I am going to use the Babylonians to do it. I am going to punish Israel with Babylon.
Let me ask you a question. Do you think Habakkuk liked that answer? NO!
Read Habakkuk 1:12-13
Habakkuk asks God another question. I personally believe that Habakkuk’s second question is where his inquiry before the Lord went south.
If you are good, then why are you allowing this to happen?
“God, the Babylonians are worse than us? Why would you punish Judah with someone more evil than Judah? VERSE 13
Habakkuk names the sins of Bablyon.
Are the Babylonians now in control of the world instead of Yahweh?
Habakkuk doubts God’s goodness, holiness, and sovereignty.
Read Habakkuk 2:1-5
Habakkuk states that he is a watchman, and God responds to him. Don’t miss the important truth here. In your suffering and in your waiting and your struggling and your wrestling with God - don’t miss these verse.
Habakkuk waited on God.
Habakkuk heard from God.
God answers Habakkuk’s second question in two ways - a micro way and a macro way.
Micro - In times of great wickedness, the righteous will live by faith.
Waylon Bailey notes the great contrast in this verse: The wickedness of the king of Babylon and the righteousness of one in faith.
But notice, the Lord also names Habakkuk’s sin too.
Verse 4 // Pride. Habakkuk pridefully believed that he knew more than God knew.
God, showing the progression of the sins of the king of Babylon. Pride, wine, greed, and ultimately the oppression of others.
We all have the ability to sin in grievous and self-destructive ways.
Might we examine our own hearts that we might live by faith.
Macro - God will judge the nations (Hab 2b)
God pronounces judgement upon the Babylonians.
Yes, Babylon is wicked. Yes, they will be punished. Yes, in the meantime, I can use them, even the most wicked, for my purposes.
For their oppression, they will be destroyed.
Woe: Destruction, Pain, Hurt, Sorrow, etc.
HABAKKUK’S PRAYER
Habakkuk 3:2 “O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.”
God, may these people fear you.
God, bring a revival as people fear your name.
God, remember your mercy and compassion.
Notice, Habakkuk does not tell God to remove his wrath.
He simply tells God to remember mercy in his wrath.
Habakkuk 3:3-15
Habakkuk speaks of the horrible and terrible wrath of God in light of the glorious salvation of his saints.
Sin will not go unchecked. Sin will not go unpunished.
God, in his might and power and holiness, will crush sin.
God will one day crush the head of the wicked.
Waylon Bailey, a commentator on Habakkuk, states that this is one of the greatest theophanies in the Bible.
God reveals himself and what He will do to Habakkuk.
God flexes his muscles before Habakkuk.
Habakkuk 3:13 “You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah”
Read Habakkuk 3:17-19
Habakkuk rejoices in the Lord no matter the circumstances. Figs and grapes were luxury. Oil was to be sold, so it indicates a loss of prosperity. Fields without grain mean nothing to eat. Sheep provide clothing, and cattle provide the means to work the ground.
Habakkuk says, “If I lose everything, I will rejoice.”
No matter what happens, Habakkuk will rejoice in the Lord. How?
God has saved him.
God is his strength.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is beautiful and glorious.
When you have Jesus, you don’t lose everything.

Invitation

Habakkuk 1:4 is quoted three times in the New Testament.
Listed below:
Romans 1:17 “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.””
Galatians 3:11 “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.””
Hebrews 10:38 “but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.””
Faith is the key to living in a broken world.
How?
Faith saves us from our sins.
Faith believes that God is sovereign and good.
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