Bible Teaching Notes
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Omar C. Garcia


Notes by Jerry Perrill, Missionary to Laos and Thailand (Retired)

Note: Habakkuk and Zephaniah are from the time of Jeremiah
The downfall of Nineveh was from the Lord who used the (also) wicked kingdoms of Babylon, the Medes and another coalition partner to affect the demise of Assyria. Now we look at how Babylon (the new superpower) was to be a further tool in the hands of the Lord to bring judgment on Judah and Jerusalem.
If we were to see the 20th Century procession of the rise and fall of nations through the lens of these prophets of God, we might begin to make sense of what is happening. A wicked Nazi Germany was defeated by Europe and American forces; the powerful USSR is broken apart, symbolized by the destruction of the Berlin wall; a cruel Saddam Hussein was thrown down in Iraq. What is next? Is God going to bring judgment to the wickedness of a ‘refined’ America? God planned to judge Israel through the war-like hands of Babylon. ‘But surely,’ the people thought, ‘God will never destroy Israel, His own people’ – will He? Amos faced this question as he preached to Israel (the northern kingdom), and Habakkuk and Zephaniah faced it in Judah some 100 years after Amos. Only this time the question was asked by Judah and Jerusalem. ‘God will never destroy this city,’ they thought, ‘it is the city God Himself has chosen.’ They were wrong and Habakkuk was appalled at God’s answer.
Israel was under the impression that they as a political entity were God’s people. Even in the Old Testament, Scripture shows us that it is not physical Israel that is Israel (Rom. 9:6-8), but rather the remnant who are faithful and believing, i.e. spiritual Israel that comes through times of judgment. In Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Jeremiah’s day it was the remnant, now all believers in Jesus the Messiah and His sacrificial death on the cross (Jew and/or Gentile) are spiritual Israel and we are the ones who will be purified through any future judgment that comes!
The executors of judgment (Babylon on Assyria) were to extend judgment on Jerusalem. Later, the Medes and the Persians would execute judgment on Babylon. After that the Greeks would be the tool of judgment on the Medes and Persians, then Rome would conquer Greece and then barbarian hoards would bring judgment and the downfall of Rome. God has often used nations to judge other nations, but the tool of judgment then becomes the judged.

The Perplexed Praying Prophet

1. His concern turns to God in prayer that He would act   (1:1-4)
   • “Do something about the violence and injustice and disregard of the law, please, Lord”
2. God’s answer is one the prophet does not want to hear   (1:5-12)
   • “I am going to use a cruel nation to punish you”
3. His second prayer is one that shows confusion   (1:13-2:1)
   • “That can’t be, Lord. They are more wicked than we ever thought of being. Please! No! but
      I will wait on You.”
4. God’s second answer for believer and unbeliever   (2:2-20)
   • One of the greatest words from God, “the just shall live by faith”   (2:2-3)
   • Woes upon the invading nation – they face judgment too!
5. Habakkuk got it right the third time   (3:1-2)
   • Humility finally agrees and submits to God
   • Adoring and worshipping God
   • Praying for God to work again
   • Pleading for mercy
6. A vision of our awesome God   (3:3-15)
   • When he looked at God in all His majesty, he soon forgot the petty differences between pagan
      cruelty and his own people’s
injustice and disregard of the law. All was sin to be punished.
7. Habakkuk’s trembling and yet confident response   (3:16-19)
   • Holy trembling before a great God
   • A bunch of supposes (“probables,” even “certainties”)

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