BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. Based on the message of his prophecy, it is believed that Habakkuk prophesied in Judah as the nation was declining, not long before the Babylonian invasion. This would be between 627 and 586 B.C. Habakkuk’s prophecy is introduced as “the burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see” (see Habakkuk 1:1). The word “burden” means “oracle” and is sometimes used in prophetical writings to indicate a divine message of judgment (see Isaiah 13:1-5). Habakkuk was about to predict judgment on both Judah (see Habakkuk 1:6) and her oppressors, the Chaldeans (see Habakkuk 2:4-19). Habakkuk was a man who sought answers. He saw a dying world and it broke his heart. He couldn’t understand why there was evil in the world, nor why the wicked seemed to be winning. The prophet boldly took his complaints to God in a series of questions. Habakkuk witnessed sin all around him and wondered why God allowed sin to go un-judged (see Habakkuk 1:2-4). Apparently, the prophet had been concerned about the wickedness in Judah for some time and probably had previously asked God to remove it. But so far it seemed as if God had not heard his cries. This caused the prophet to ask “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! Even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou will not save” (see Habakkuk 1:2)? The prophet couldn’t understand why God had been silent and done nothing about Judah’s wickedness (see Habakkuk 1:2-3). The LORD answered Habakkuk declaring that He would deal with Judah’s wickedness and would use the Chaldeans to do it (see Habakkuk 1:5-11). But this answer caused Habakkuk to ask the LORD another question. In essence, he wanted to know how could a righteous and just God use an even more wicked nation to discipline Judah, His people (see Habakkuk 1:12-17). After asking this question, Habakkuk waited to hear the LORD’s answer. This is where our lesson begins.
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