The Song of Habakkuk Part II -- By: J. Ellwood Evans

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 112:446 (Apr 1955)
Article: The Song of Habakkuk Part II
Author: J. Ellwood Evans


The Song of Habakkuk
Part II

J. Ellwood Evans

The Song of Habakkuk does not appear in the opening words of this prophecy. It is not expressed until the prophet has discussed other things which were troubling him. The song broke out following two baffling problems. In short, the song found its source in the explanation of the problems which were raised. In this way the prophet found his song. In the same manner, it is possible for believers of the present day to turn from their problems to joyful songs.

Two problems faced the prophet Habakkuk. Both were closely connected with his view of God. In the first, he was concerned because God seemed to be wholly indifferent to the sin and wickedness which were present on every hand. It seemed, in effect, that God was unaware of the conditions in which the prophet was living. At least, Habakkuk argued, God was doing absolutely nothing about them.

Such misunderstanding demanded an answer. And the prophet was given an answer immediately. He was shown that God, whom he thought was indifferent, was actually cognizant of the conditions about which the complaint was uttered. As a matter of fact, God replied that He was about to do a work with instruments of His own choosing. The Chaldeans were named and their work described. These instruments seemed to be wicked even though divinely selected. And they were seen to be subject to divine judgment because they acted beyond the sphere God had indicated.

Such an answer raised a second problem in the thinking of the prophet. Although he recognized the divine instruments of destruction, he was troubled about their identity.

They were to be more wicked than the nation they were sent to judge. How could this be?

The Theology of Habakkuk

The theology of the prophet was firmly entrenched in his words as he turned to state his second problem. “Art not thou from everlasting, O Jehovah my God, my Holy One? we shall not die. O, Jehovah, thou hast ordained him for judgment; and thou, O Rock, hast established him for correction” (v. 12 ).

The confidence of the prophet seemed to be in conflict with what was actually being done by God. His confldence was said to rest in Jehovah, the Holy One who is from everlasting. It was filled with an awe and inward love. In fact, the prophet stated the conclusion coming from his confidence in words of bold assertion, “We shall not die.” Here is seen his strong feeling that since God is everlasting and unchanging, He will not cast off His covenant people.

This expression of assurance in the future of the nation is inte...

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