Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost (Oct 30th)

Pastor's Summary of Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

An "oracle" is a message of doom, usually pronounced against foreign nations, but here it includes the judgement that awaits God's people. 1:1-2:5 is a dialogue between the prophet and God. From the text, it seems that Habakkuk wrote when Bablonian armies were ravaging Judah, before the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC, but the problem is universal.

In vv. 1:4, Habakkuk asks God: why do you niether listen nor act? "Violence" is being done to us; our basic human rights are being violated. The state is in confusion and near anarchy ("law becomes slack...justice never prevails..." v. 4). The "wicked", fellow Jews or foreigners, have taken over! God answers in vv. 5-11; rather than promising stability, he says, he is working through the "Chaleans" (v. 6, Bablonians), a people known for their ferocity and savagery! "Their justice" (v. 7) is their own (not God's); "their own might is their god!" (v. 11). The prophet now asks: aren't you Israel's God? Surely you have marked this enemy for judgement, so why allow this misery to happen to your people? Doesn't using such wicked people as your agents go against your very essence? (v. 13) The enemy is merciless and self-serving, like someone who catches helpless fish (v. 15); he worships his own achievement, in immense pride (v. 16). Are you and the enemy intent on "destroying nations"? (v. 17) Like a sentinel on a city wall, Habakkuk awaits God's reply (2:1). God responds: make my message "plain" (2:2) so all hear it: my justice will come at "the appointed time" (2:3), in the "end" times. But God's time may not be human time, so "wait for it". "The proud" (2:4), the enemy), those who are self-sufficient, don't endure ("their spirit is not right"), but those who trust in God, "the righteous", continue to "live", to keep the faith, even in these difficult times. God has a plan for the future: the faithful will be rewarded, the wicked punished.