SERIES: A Conversation with God
SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR WEEK OF JUNE 10-16, 2020
Aim: After studying the book of Habakkuk, students should know (1) how to grow from a faith of perplexity and doubt to the height of absolute trust in God; (2) they should respond in faith when they don’t understand what God is doing; (3) know how to wait for God’s answer and (4) know that there is a time for them to shut and be still.
Habakkuk’s first complaint was that God had not punished Judah’s sin, but his second complain is that God’s punishment will be too harsh. Habakkuk still does not think God is acting in accord with His righteous character.
What surprised Habakkuk was not the coming judgment, but the agent of that judgment. How could God be just and use a wicked nation like Babylon to punish Judah? Sure, Judah was bad. Habakkuk recognized that fact in his first complaint to God. However, they may have been bad, but they were not as bad as Babylon. God, you are not being fair! This dilemma leads to Habakkuk’s second question – how can God use evil Babylon to punish Judah?
Habakkuk 1:12-13 (CSB)
12 Are you not from eternity, Lord my God? My Holy One, you will not die. Lord, you appointed them to execute judgment; my Rock, you destined them to punish us.
13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. So why do you tolerate those who are treacherous? Why are you silent while one who is wicked swallows up one who is more righteous than himself?
I. Righteous God
Habakkuk wisely begins his second complaint by acknowledging who God is and His right to ordain judgment.
In v. 12, he addresses God with four different names.
The names of God are instruments of divine disclosure – they are God’ revelation of Himself.
- LORD (Yahweh)
- God (Elohim)
- Holy One
Point to Ponder: If you were faced with a sudden crisis, which of the above names for God would you most likely use while praying to Him? Why?
Point to Ponder: In 1:4, Habakkuk complained about Judah’s wickedness, but in verse 1:13 he calls them righteous compared to the wicked Babylonians. What is the spiritual danger of downplaying our sin by comparing ourselves favorably to people that are more sinful? How will you avoid downplaying your sin and your need for Christ?
- God’s Nature
Psalm 90:1-2 (CSB) – 1 Lord, you have been our refuge in every generation. 2 Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God.
Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV) – Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his command.
1 Kings 8:56 (NIV) – “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.
Isaiah 48:9 (NIV) – For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely.
2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) – The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Psalm 102:27 (NCV) – But you never change, and your life will never end.
Malachi 3:6 (NCV) – “I the Lord do not change. So you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.
Thought 1: God is faithful to His promises (v. 12). He had made an unbreakable covenant with Israel. He would honor it.
Thought 2: The eyes of God are holy. He cannot see evil and do nothing about it (v. 13).
Habakkuk 1:14-17 (MSG)
14 You’re treating men and women as so many fish in the ocean, Swimming without direction, swimming but not getting anywhere.
15 Then this evil Babylonian arrives and goes fishing. He pulls in a good catch. He catches his limit and fills his creel— a good day of fishing! He’s happy!
16 He praises his rod and reel, piles his fishing gear on an altar and worships it! It’s made his day, and he’s going to eat well tonight!
17 Are you going to let this go on and on? Will you let this Babylonian fisherman Fish like a weekend angler, killing people as if they’re nothing but fish?
II. Ruthless Babylon
Habakkuk points out why God should not use the Babylonians to punish Judah.
- Morality (v. 13) – Their wicked disregard for human dignity
- Worship (v. 16) – Their wicked disrespect for God
- Conquest (v. 17) – Their wicked dishonest prosperity
Point to Ponder: Considering what Habakkuk says in verses 13-16, does God seem unfair here? Why or why not?
Thought 3: Read Psalm 73:1-5. It does not seem fair that wicked people prosper. The psalmist complains that the wicked generally achieve health and wealth which the righteous suffer. However, when the psalmist turns to God in worship, God reveals the truth to him. In Psalm 73:27, notice the destiny of the wicked.
Psalm 73:1-5, 27 (GNT)
1 God is indeed good to Israel, to those who have pure hearts.
2 But I had nearly lost confidence; my faith was almost gone
3 because I was jealous of the proud when I saw that things go well for the wicked.
4 They do not suffer pain; they are strong and healthy.
5 They do not suffer as other people do; they do not have the troubles that others have.
27 Those who abandon you will certainly perish; you will destroy those who are unfaithful to you
PRAYER PRINCIPLE: Ask God to help you grow in having a relationship with Him so that you get to know every aspect of His being.
SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE: Encourage others to talk with God and make sure you represent Him well in your interactions with others.
EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE: Share with others that even Christ even died for His enemies.
STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE: Make sure that your giving reflects how gracious God has been in dealing with you.
DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE: Even though you may have been put in an unfair situation, hold tight to God’s unchanging hand.
NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Speak Lord
SERIES: Conversations with God
NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT: Habakkuk 2:1-20; 1 Samuel 3:10; Isaiah 21:11-12; Ezekiel 3:17; Ezekiel 33:2-6; Psalm 27:14; Psalm 130:5-6; Isaiah 40:28-31; 1 Kings 19:10-13