Habakkuk – The Just Shall Live by His Faith


When Habakkuk was troubled he brought his concerns directly to God. After receiving God’s answers, he responded with a prayer of faith. Habakkuk’s example is one that should encourage us as we struggle to move from doubt to faith. We don’t have to be afraid to ask questions of God. The problem is not with God and his ways, but with our limited understanding of him.

The book of Habakkuk builds to a triumphant climax reached in the last three verses. The beginning of the book and the ending stand in stark contrast: a mystery to certainty, questioning to affirming, and complaint to confidence.

Writer of Habakkuk

Nothing is known about the prophet Habakkuk except his name. 

Date Written

Since the book speaks of the coming destruction of Judah, it had to be written sometime before Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 B. C. The most likely time for its composition is probably about 600 B. C.

Historical Setting

The book of Habakkuk belongs to that turbulent era in ancient history when the balance of power was shifting from the Assyrians to the Babylonians. Assyria’s domination came to an end with the destruction of its capital city, Nineveh, by the invading Babylonians in 612 B. C. Less than 20 years after Habakkuk wrote his book, the Babylonians also destroyed Jerusalem and carried the leading citizens of Judah into captivity.

Theological Contribution 

The question-and-answer technique of the prophet Habakkuk teaches a valuable lesson about the nature of God. That God allows Himself to be questioned by one of His followers in an indication of His longsuffering mercy and grace.

The theme of God’s judgment against unrighteousness also is woven throughout the book. God soon will punish His wayward people for their transgression, but He also will punish the pagan Babylonians because of their great sin. God’s acts of judgment are in accord with His holiness, righteousness, and mercy.

Special Consideration of Habakkuk

Paul’s famous declaration, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17), is a direct quotation from Habakkuk 2:4. In this brief prophetic book, we find the seeds of the glorious gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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