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DELIVER ME! (Habakkuk 1)












I’m a mess.

(And you should also know I am SO blessed by my children. Flowers from my firstborn came on Saturday. And all called on Mother’s Day. The next week their cards and gifts arrived. I live in the middle of nowhere and it takes a long time for the U. S. mail to arrive!)




Audrey Assad, the daughter of a Syrian refugee, has been anointed by God to write and sing for all of us, for we all need to be delivered. And Trinity Fellowship combined it with an amazing video. I need to sing, sing, sing ’til this sinks deep in my heart. How I need to be delivered!


You may be wondering how this trivial incident has anything to do with the state of the Western World, our political situation, and Habakkuk.

As a child, when tragedy came to another family, my Dad would say: “Dee Dee — that’s real trouble.” I understand better now what he meant: suffering sifts the petty sands of irritation away. No longer do socks on the floor or forgetting a special day matter… you’d do anything to have that loved one back, just as he or she was.

The Christian church is vibrant and growing everywhere except in the wealthy, white, Western world. There is a thirst and a passion for Christ among the poor, the prisoner and the persecuted. In His mercy, God tries to revive us through kindness, but if that doesn’t happen, He will shake our world. As Joni Eareckson Tada has said, “God cares more about our spiritual character than our health, wealth, or even our happiness.” The astonishing scene that is happening politically, at least in the United States, could very possibly be the writing on the wall that the shaking has just begun. We may not have a leader of integrity and wisdom. We have been protected from living in a war-torn land for over a century and a half — but God may be taking His protective hand off of our country for our greater good. God’s purpose is to grow our souls — whereas so often our purpose, even if we are believers, is Epicurean: to be happy and to be free of pain.

I met my friend Twila during the fall of the 2012 election. She prayed fervently about that election — and was devastated when God moved differently than she expected. But He also taught her the difference between first things and second things. Second things are the things we want fixed from the petty to the truly heart-breaking. The first thing is always our relationship with God. If the first thing is right, we may get the second thing, or at least have perspective about it. Nothing slips between God’s fingers.

Could it be that God sees we will not gain perspective and press into Him unless suffering comes? So, for this presidential election, Twila has a different mindset. She did, again pray, that God would show us mercy, giving us a president of integrity and character, but she was prepared that He may give us, not mercy, but what we both deserve and truly need. At this point, the “writing on the wall” is frightening, just as it was for Habakkuk.  So “on the side,” Twila is memorizing Habakkuk to prepare herself.

We may all desperately need Habakkuk sooner than we think. So, for our first short summer study, that is where we are headed. Tim Keller has five sermons on Habakkuk that will cost you ten dollars. That money goes to ministries in New York. (If you simply don’t have ten dollars and will faithfully participate, write Rebecca and we’ll help you. rebecca@deebrestin.com) (We dipped our toe into Habakkuk four years ago — but just for one post.)

I’m going to keep the lessons shorter than usual for many of you are still in other studies.

Here is the link to get all the sermons at once — and we will listen to the first this week. Living By Faith in Troubled Times


1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Have you ever studied Habakkuk? If so, what is your take-a-way at this point?



Habakkuk was written about 640-615 B. C. after God used Assyria to awaken Israel. Now He shows Habakkuk that He is going to use the treacherous nation of Babylon to both punish Assyria and awaken Judah. This prophecy was fulfilled several decades later in 586. Then God punished Babylon when it fell to Persia in 539. The book of Habakkuk begins with a lament, for Assyria is bringing devastation to Israel.


3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.


4. Read Habakkuk 1:5-11.

A. How does God show Habakkuk that the terrible thing about to happen is His sovereign plan? (v. 5-6)

B.  How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god? (v. 6-11) Thoughts?

5. Read Habakkuk 1:12-17

A.  What questions does the prophet have of God in verses 12 and 13?


B. My friend Debbie asked me why God abandoned Jesus on the cross. How might the above verse shed light? 

C.  To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in verse 14? (See also Ecclesiastes 9:12)

D. How does the success of their violence affect the thoughts of the invaders? (verses 15-16)

E. What question does he ask of God in verse 17?

Skipjack tuna and bycatch caught in the net of the Ecuadorean purse seiner 'Ingalapagos', which was documented fishing on a fish aggregation device (FAD) by Greenpeace in the vicinity of the northern Galapagos Islands. Bycatch included; juvenile bigeye tuna, juvenile yellowfin tuna, black marlin, Spanish mackerel, wahoo, triggerfish, mahi mahi, Green turtle and Olive Ridley turtle. Around 10% of the catch generated by purse seine FAD fisheries is unwanted bycatch and includes endangered species of sharks and turtles. The catch of large amounts of juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tunas in these fisheries is now threatening the survival of these commercially valuable species. Greenpeace is calling for a total ban on the use of fish aggregation devices in purse seining and the establishment of a global network of marine reserves. LAT 04:07 NORTH / LONG 091:28 WEST
Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of men are snared in an evil time…Ecclesiastes 9:12)

6. Some of you are truly suffering. Is God’s sovereignty a comfort? Why or why not?

7. What thoughts do you have on chapter 1? Did any thing in particular quicken you? If so, go through these three steps:

Reflect — what quickened you and why? (God speaking to you)

Respond — (You speaking to God)



8. Listen to the first sermon in the series and share your notes and thoughts:

Why Does God Do Nothing?


8. What is your take-a-way and why?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. About politics, I really have a hard time with that because I just don’t feel like the whole truth is presented. It makes it hard to make a decision about any of it. I recently read a very good book by an African pastor called to Kiev. The title is Church Shift. Another good one is God Has a Wonderful Plan For Your Life. My sense lately is that our politics are only a symptom of what is wrong and that God is going to the root of the problem which may be in the church as a whole. Please don’t let politics divide us. They are so much less important than unity in the body of Christ.

    1. “My sense lately is that our politics are only a symptom of what is wrong and that God is going to the root of the problem which may be in the church as a whole.”  Good focus — will look up “Church Shift;”  I appreciate perspectives from the church outside of the U.S.  Ha! I may not BUY the book though, at least until I de-book myself from hundreds that I may never get to.

      1. Renee if you read one I recommend God Has A Wonderful Plan For Your Life. It is very small but packs power. It is NOT prosperity teaching. In fact it labels the title a myth. 

      1. I agree that the politics of today are a reflection of the culture of today.  There most definitely is a lack of civility and civil discourse; those who think differently are viewed as the “enemy,” often disrespected, and not listened (really listened) to.  I don’t think this is unique to the national scene, but is also apparent at the state and local levels as well.  I believe that the evil one is having his way with many…we so easily get trapped in our self-focus, “my way is the only way,” “I am right,” etc. attitudes.  I pray for revival.  

      2. Dee you are so right. If it was not so sad it would be embarrassing. 

  2. Wow I just had something really strike me in the heart. The answer to 4B It was the Chaldeans own might that was their god. How often do I make my own might my god ouch! And God describes them as guilty.

    1. Liz, I remember church disagreements related to politics when Reagan was president.  I was pretty much clueless regarding WHY there was resistance to some things that seemed obvious in Scripture (only later, I realized that political convictions probably determined what people saw in Scripture).  This verse has jumped out at me every since that time: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” from Ps 20.  I’m praying that my political numbness won’t lead to spiritual numbness.  Thanks for bringing this up.  I often have hope that when a new person gets in a position of power, “things will be better.”  So misguided.  Thanks for emphasizing this verse.

      1. (only later, I realized that political convictions probably determined what people saw in Scripture)

        Ugh.  Renee, I think this is so true.  The ‘ugh’ is because I think it is true for me personally. It IS hard to separate.  For me, anyway.  And I think it’s harder since around that time….(late ’70’s….early ’80’s? )  the advent of large voting blocs of evangelicals so actively, sending a message that God’s people all should vote the same way.  I was trapped in that message for so many years.  I think you saw things much more clearly than I did.  We should have talked more back then!  

  3. I saw Dee’s FB post re: Habakkuk — and was curious.  I memorized some of it during a difficult period of my life and wondered how it applies to politics today.  I was lurking here a couple of days ago and got a little overwhelmed (plus health was whacko again).A couple things struck me initially that still stand out:  1) Lucy and Ethel!  Humor usually gives me perspective; the obit post Rebecca shared on FB CRACKED ME UP!! And it does reflect my political perspective 🙂 

       I don’t think politics are the root of the problem. Although the rhetoric is crazier than when we weren’t so media saturated, there always have been people hurt by U.S. policy.  For me, local and organizational politics are more annoying than the national stuff — or at least they color my thinking more.  I did dig out some specific policy with which I disagree — and although I still disagree, when I read the legislation itself, I’m actually a little comforted.  I’m kinda numb to anything on the national level because I know I can’t believe stuff I read on FB or hear on TV.  And I don’t have time to read every single piece of legislation (and sometimes the related science) that people complain about. I easily can be pulled into that to the extent that you’d never “see” me again 🙂

    The verse that has been flitting through my head lately is Psalm 116:11: “I said in my haste, All men are liars.”  So, anyhow, I am looking forward to getting into Habakkuk again; I think the study will help me focus on what is most important and to find a balance between avoidance (decision to retire is a little of that) and having my hope in political outcomesl

    1. your reference to the obit makes me curious!  

      1. Rather than vote for Trump or Clinton, she chose to go into the eternal presence of the Lord 😀 (or worded something like that!)

        1. oh….that’s good!   I also saw one that said,  “in lieu of memorial gifts, please don’t vote for Trump.”   😉    
          (I am sure there are others from other positions, but that was the one I saw posted on fb.)  

    2. Just read this again.  Good points here, Renee.  Especially about people hurt by U.S. policy down through history. (and in some cases….people are helped.)    And the rhetoric is louder but the problems go deeper than what we see and hear.   (and I think have always been there in one form or another.)  Reminds me of Deanna’s earlier post too.   And the same response comes to me.   ‘Nothing new under the sun.’     The verse you quoted gives me pause too.   Think I’ll look that one up.

  4. Thank you,  Jackie, Laura, Rebecca and Anne,……for addressing and being gracious about my concerns.   All of you resonated with me in some way.   The sentence that comes most clear to me is what Anne said above regarding having a hard time with politics: ….‘I just don’t feel the whole truth is presented.’     This is exactly why I think it is dangerous to engage in politics here.  We all have our ‘talking points’ that are part of whatever side of the aisle we find ourselves.  When you read political op eds, you see those talking points repeated over and over from the right and from the left and they become ingrained in the conversation.   I try to read some things from both sides, but inevitably, one tendency is stronger in our minds; mostly because of our exposure.  For example:  I personally, would love to see every Christian in America read Jim Wallis’ book or hear one of his messages about Racism; America’s Original Sin.  I think he is spot on in his analysis of what is happening in America.  (I just re-listened to his talk after a Christian brother denounced his premise.)  But, I  think the truth is that a huge percentage of believers have never opened a Jim Wallis book, magazine or audio,  even if I think he is one of the most important voices of our day as regarding faith and politics. And because of what another believer  is reading and hearing,  he/she will see the racial issue, (which is surely one God cares deeply about) through a completely different lens.  One of us is devastated by the very same election outcome or political decision that causes tears of joy to another.  This, I know to be completely true.! It is also why the Sunday after an election, is such a divisive morning in churches.  Our former pastor got multiple phone calls and emails with complaints of the flippant references and conversations of doom and ill will that were rampant in our adult Bible Fellowship groups the Sunday morning after the 2008 election.  It made me afraid to go to church after the 2012 election. Reality is that growing, vibrant believers can see things and hear God’s voice about issues, in some very different ways, even though they both are searching the scriptures and praying fervently.   As for learning from each other,  that would be a wonderful outcome of discussing politics here, but I rarely see that with the Christians I see discussing politics on facebook.  And honestly, I have ‘hosted’ a few very civil discussions on facebook.   I have mature believers who have thanked me for intelligently presenting a question with civility or sharing an article that elicited discussion and others who ‘stand on God’s word’ all the while, bringing the tone of the discussion down to argument and accusing.    I exclude a few from seeing the posts because they do not have the maturity or fortitude to discuss graciously.  I DO think that all of us here are able to do that, and care for each other deeply,  but it still gives me pause.  I love what Rebecca said about not feeling offended or judging others, but oh…..that is a most difficult challenge.  I often think it is better not to  open the door for those strong emotions.  But, perhaps, I am wrong.   It is difficult for me personally,  not to engage when I see things I strongly disagree with. And if one feels in the minority, it is very difficult not to feel judged by the stronger voices.  So, this is definitely an area for me to need to grow in grace.  
    But, don’t get me wrong here.  I DO believe that Habakkuk has a lot to say to us regarding God’s Providence and that will, of course, also include His Sovereignty and control over our political world.   And, we can’t separate those messages.  We should embrace that God speaks peace and comfort to us through this book.  You said that very well, Laura.  My struggle is how specific we get regarding today’s issues.  🙁  

    1. This is interesting:We have a house next door to us that has been empty for 6 months. From the beginning I have been praying for God’s choice for neighbors. My husband had some issues that God was working him through so it took that long. God’s choice is a man from Nigeria with his recently immigrated wife and children. When he came over we had some great conversation and as we discuss politics here I was struck by the fact that this man has a defree in political science. I’m sure the Lord is going to teach me some amazing things.

      1. Anne,   That is wonderful.   Especially, since you intentionally prayed for many months about the new occupants.  Imagine what it must be like to be the subject of someone’s prayers when you are still unknown except to God!    I am sure you will learn much from each other.   And what better way to build understanding between new neighbors and in this case, new immigrants than to really try to get to know each other.  That is all too rare today.  I am guilty of not trying hard enough even with people who have lived on my road for a long time.   Let us know how it is going!  🙂 

        1. Renee it reall is hard t get to know neighbors. We have a good start with these and I’m going to try hard to make the time to get to know them and share life with them. That’s what I want in a neighbor but I don’t take the time. Always in a hurry. Africans are not like that from what I have seen. Pray I will learn. 

  5. I think that this book is a great way to come together when it comes to politics.
    “How do you kill 11 million people” by Andy Andrews
    I think the core of our problem is that we are a very selfish people and we want whoever will do what is best for US in control of our country. The truth is that the strongest church in the world is in China…a country  that has outlawed Christianity. Jesus started the church under an evil dictatorship. The church was spread throughout the world because of HORRIBLE persecution. We need to PRAY and then do what GOD tells us to do. We must search for the TRUTH. 
    I also found a free sermon that fits pretty well by Keller if anyone would like to listen to it 🙂

    1. Thank you, Cyndi.
      I do not know Andy Andrews and googled the book and his bio.  His story is very compelling.  I like the questions he asks and how he searched libraries for answers.  I’m going to look into this book!  
      Also, I will definitely listen to Keller sometime.  

  6. hey Dee, could you please ok my post 🙂  it had 2 links so its not showing up, prob. waiting for your approval 🙂

      1. Thank you mam 🙂

  7. 5C. To what does Habakkuk compare mankind in v. 14?
    Fish in the sea…sea creatures with no ruler.
    Mankind gets caught in sin, trapped in evil.
    D. How does the success of their violence affect the thoughts of the invaders, v. 15-16?
    The invaders are arrogant, thinking themselves invincible, viewing their power as their “blessing”…it is a vicious circle because with each success their pride grows, and as their pride grows, they increase their violence to “feed the beast.”
    E. What questions does he ask of God in v. 17?
    When will it end?
    6. Some of you are truly suffering.  Is God’s sovereignty a comfort? Why or why not? 
    God’s sovereignty is a comfort.  Another nugget from “The Holy Wild” that I read last night…
    “This is the God who, though He allows us to taste misery along with joy, love us so much that He comes into the camp alongside us.  And not just to experience our misery but, it turns out, Himself to make atonement for us.”
    There are many things of this world that I don’t understand and wonder how they can occur (e.g., genocide, human slavery and trafficking, inhuman brutality), but I always come back to a couple of things to calm my mind and heart, the first courtesy of Ann Voskamp, God is good and I am loved, and the second is knowing that God has a plan that is far, far, FAR beyond my comprehension and He is in complete control.  When Jesus suffered and died a criminal’s death, who would have thought that His suffering and death was a step in the process of victory over sin and death?  I look at nature and marvel; God’s creativity, expertise, and brilliance…I can’t come near to fathoming it all. God wanted us to love Him freely and does not force us to love Him; He gave/gives us free will which cost/costs Him dearly.  My mind is not the mind of God…a God who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and limitless in time and space. 

  8. My thoughts on Habukkuk 1.
    It is a likely parallel for our time. Disobedience to God’s principles will have consequences. Evil influences seem to have taken over and we are in judgment.
    what quickened me? the prophet’s question, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?”
    There is so much violence and racial tension. This takes precedence for me over the political circus. Racial issues touch my heart.

    1. I hear your sweet, tender heart in this post, Shirley.  Racial issues….so troubling and so persistent in our world. I used to think that one day, we would get past them.  I haven’t been sure of that for a long time.  🙁  Yet, we still all can do our part.  

    2. Shirley – so much truth in your post.  Here in Baltimore those racial tensions are seemingly never ending.  Our conversations in 2008 with so many of our friends who are people of color (primarily in the workplace – the racetrack) were tear jerkers.  There was so much hope that once the color barrier had been broken at the highest office in the land, there would be a trickle down effect …….but that change, if any, has come slowly.  🙁  Ultimately, true change comes one person, one relationship at a time I guess.  But I am suspecting that you know that so well Shirley.  🙂  “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  (Galatians 3:27&28).  Have you heard Mavis Staples sing “In Christ There Is No East or West”?  Piercing.  Two little words from her version of the song leaped out at me:  “join hands” – requires a choice, intentionality.  As Wanda said, “….we can all do our part”.  Do we?  That is my question to MYSELF today.  Thanks for this timely reminder Shirley.  🙂  My heart always does a little happy dance to see you here.  

  9. 2. Have you ever studied Habakkuk? If so, what is your take-a-way at this point?
    I think I had a day or two devoted to Habakkuk back in Bible School; almost 40 years ago.  Other than that, I can’t remember studying it on my own.  I DO always remember the last 3 verses of the book though, and refer to them often.  When I was 31, and had three preschool children; one with serious special needs, we moved to the general area where we still live now. At the time, we had been uprooted from all of our friends, support and connections in Fargo, ND where we had lived for the past eight years.  The people there who had walked with us through the critical illnesses/diagnosis of our 2 year old daughter and cared for her brothers in almost unimaginable ways, were now, all 4 hours and a long distance call away.  My parents and siblings were further away than they had been also.  I was so utterly lonely and felt so forsaken.  We began immediately attending a church where we even knew the pastor, but still friendships could not come soon enough for me.  We were living in a different school district and community than those we were meeting at church.  My husband worked long hours and unusual hours so our social life was difficult anyway.  We lived in a basement unit of a duplex and the couple above us smoked pot and had loud, door slamming, car spinning out arguments late into the night.  One of my children came in to the house one day, trying out the new (four letter) word she had just learned from the neighbor kids.   From the perspective of my youthful idealism, my life  seemed to be crumbling before me.  Wasn’t it enough that we had such heavy medical needs to attend and financially, we were living on a shoestring…did we have to suffer such emotional losses too? After the kids were in bed,  I spent hours every night sobbing.  I wish I had truly understood what it means to lament back then.  But during one of my desperate calls to my older brother, he gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever had.  ‘….sometimes, we just have to have faith that is more stubborn than Satan….more stubborn than our circumstances.  It’s called ‘Habakkuk faith’. Those words, based on the last three verses of Chapter 3, became pivotal in my emotional recovery.   So, I know this book ends well!  I’m just not very familiar with the rest of it.  🙂 

    1. Wanda, the advice given you by your brother was, and is, really profound.

    2. Wanda–that is a T-shirt worthy quote (or maybe I need it on the wall of my kitchen!) “sometimes, we just have to have faith that is more stubborn than Satan….more stubborn than our circumstances.  It’s called ‘Habakkuk faith’.”
      I LOVE that! But I’d say I DAILY need that kind of faith! 😉

      1. Yes! If I cross stitched, this would be worthy!

    3. I love how you apply this to your own circumstances. And how sweet to see your testimony of faithfulness to God. You obviously went through some very dark days (and nights) and here you are on the other side, still studying His word and trusting God. Thank you, Wanda for sharing this! It’s an encouragement. 

      1. Thank you, Jean and it’s good to meet you!  
         Maybe you have been here awhile, but I’ve not been very active for several weeks.  It’s very nice to have some new ‘voices’ here.  🙂  I’ve been gleaning good things  from your comments already.   

  10. 6. Some of you are truly suffering. Is God’s sovereignty a comfort? Why or why not?
    yes and no…I get “caught up” in the moment and forget I need to focus on Him. What ends up happening is that I have a small melt down (it used to be a large one) and then I remember God has “got this.” I need not worry or do anything rash.

    1. Laura–this made me laugh (and relate!) “I have a small melt down (it used to be a large one)” but love your recovery “…and then I remember God has “got this.”

      1. that line made me smile too,  Laura! 

    2. I feel the same, Laura.  How is it that I forget so much of what God has done for me in the past? Why must I be reminded of His faithfulness? It’s good to see that I’m not alone. 

  11. Sermon by Dr. Timothy Keller
    Why Does God Do Nothing?
    Yes, this is long — but Keller also talked long!   🙂
    Habakkuk is a very short book  – 3 chapters.  It is very relevant for contemporary application. We know almost nothing about Habakkuk himself.  We don’t even know for sure how to pronounce Habakkuk.  
    What Habakkuk saw
    Habakkuk saw injustice.  In vs. 3 “Why do you make me look on injustice.   The word “injustice” is a pretty general word.  It means evil or sorrow or grief.   Habakkuk asks “Why have you put me in a position where all I see is evil.   
    The good king Josiah who was ruler of Judah just before Habakkuk’s time gave people the hope that there might be good times coming for the country, but his sons were terrible kings.  God’s law was not being obeyed and there were military threats from outside.  What Habakkuk sees are evil times and God does not seem to be doing anything about them. 
    There are good times and there are evil times.   Good times are when we think things are basically getting better and better. From 1870 to 1910 in North America and in Europe, that is how everybody felt.  Things were getting better.  We might have a bad year, but basically things are on their way up. But the first part of the 20th century saw WWI, the Great Depression, WWI, the holocaust.  By the end of the 1940s thousands of people were starving to death every winter in Europe.  People wondered if good times would ever happen again. 
    Where are we? In the last year in our society, economically – certain institutions have fallen apart.  There has been an enormous amount of wealth taken away from us.   It would be really foolish to panic, but it would be foolish to think that in a year or two good times will be coming back.  In 1950s David Martin Lloyd Jones who was a preacher in London got out the book of Habakkuk to preach because people in Britain, Europe, and a big part of the world were asking “Why is all of this happening, why such an evil time?   Why is God letting all of this happen? He felt Habakkuk would have helped them to be ready.
    What did Habakkuk do?
    He was bold and honest.  He is challenging God. (Vs. 3)   But in vs 12 he does something even more remarkable.  He asks a rhetorical question (punishing statement) He was very close to saying: “I thought you were infinite.  You were supposed to be this great God, infinite, wise, everlasting, but you’re not!”  Francis Anderson, a Hebrew scholar, commented on the Hebrew word that is translated “Are you not” in vs. 12.  He says most of the 96 occurrences of this word in the Bible are in vigorous human arguments.  God is not being approached with courtesy or respect.  In fact, Habakkuk is in absolutely anguish.  He points out that salvation of the world was supposed to come through Israel, and it was a corrupt mess.
    What Habakkuk heard from God
    God answers Habakkuk that he is going to raise up the fierce Babylonians to crush and conquer his country.   Habakkuk says “You call that an answer?!”   Habakkuk is bold, but he is emotionally and intellectually  realistic.  After he prays once, God answers him in verse 11.   He prays again and God answers him again in chapter 2.   Habakkuk is challenging God.  He is asking questions, struggling with doubts, but the thought never enters his mind to walk away from God – to stop obeying God, to stop praying to God, to stop following God.   As Francis Anderson says, Habakkuk says the most insulting thing anyone ever says to God to his face in the Bible, and then he says “but my Holy One.” 
    The traditional religious community would tell Habakkuk to not question. They see God as this king you have to appease, or he’ll wipe you out.  What is important is saying, acting, and doing everything just right.     On the other hand, modern people (especially in New York City), have enormous confidence in our human reason and in our perception.   We don’t see why God is allowing all of this suffering and evil.   Therefore, I am not going to believe in Him.  Habakkuk is neither of these.  He is much more honest than traditional religiosity, not feeling like he must bow and scrape and not do anything wrong.   However, he would not even think of leaving – not in a million years.   Keller thinks he is saying “I wouldn’t be upset if I thought you weren’t holy, but I know you are. I wouldn’t be upset if I thought I could walk away, but I know I can’t.” Keller says sit takes gospel grace to produce a person with unconditional, faithful wrestling, and unconditional faithful wrestling produces grace. 
    The fact that God allowed these prayers of Habakkuk to be placed in the Bible is a witness to God’s understanding.   He knows how we speak when we are desperate.  Job and Jeremiah said things to God similar to Habakkuk.   God says “I remained their God, not because they put on a happy face, because they don’t.  Not because they have perfect emotional self-control, because they don’t.  Not because they are doing everything right, because they are not.   I remain their God because of my grace, because my relationship with them is not based on their performance. 
    What it meant
    God is saying “Don’t you dare judge me by your own timetables and your own calendars.   If the Babylonians had not taken the Jews into exile, they never would have spread through the whole Roman empire – in synagogues.  In the synagogues Gentiles who had been pagans began to study God’s word and began to get interested in the God of Israel.  They were called God-fearers.  It was through these God-fearers that Christianity later spread.
    When the communists took over China, they kicked out all the western Christian missionaries. Everyone wondered why God allowed that to happen.   Why is God abandoning China?  But because this happened, the Chinese took over their own Christianity and made it indigenous.   As a result it is one of the most vital fast-growing Christian movements of the world.    It is going to change the history of the world.  
    Now I didn’t agree with this next part about Joseph. Keller says that Jacob spoiled Joseph, and Joseph was on his way to becoming a cruel and evil man.   The whole family was on its way to becoming a dysfunctional, abusive, pathological family system.  Personally, I don’t really see the basis for that in the Scriptures.   He says that God saved the family by putting Joseph through 20 years of misery (being sold as a slave and later imprisoned).  Looking back now with the perspective of years, we realize that everything that went wrong had to happen for God to accomplish that.  
    Keller says we sit here in our situation declaring that we don’t get it – “I want to know now!”   Well, you can’t!      He says we are worse than a 5-year-old who doesn’t understand why his parent keeps him from eating something harmful (poisonous or maybe too much sugar).  The 5-year-old screams when the parent takes it away.  We say “Honey, you have to trust me.”   Keller says the distance between our mind and God’s mind is greater than between a 5-year-old and his parent. 
    To say that God has to make sense makes no sense.    So what Habakkuk heard God saying was that God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.  Keller paraphrased the poem which ended with “The clouds you so much dread are big with mercy and shall break with blessings on your head.”   
    Finally, Keller drew a comparison between Habakkuk and Jesus.  Habakkuk is perplexed, confused, angry, and upset, and he is wrestling with God.  He says “Where are you , God?” and yet he is faithful.    The ultimate Habakkuk was the one in Gethsemane who said “Father is there any way out of this?  If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”  Jesus also said, “Nevertheless not my will but thine be done.”    On the cross, Jesus actually said “Where are you, God?”  And God was REALLY gone, because he was taking our penalty.   
    When you are in evil times, you only feel abandoned – but you are not!

    1. oh Deanna, SO good to have you back! We are so blessed by your wisdom AND your excellent notes! I had a long road trip alone this week and was able to listen (but not take notes). 
      Love what you pointed out here–how we are like a child wanting to have answers to what we cannot understand…but we have to trust our Father! And Jesus in the Garden–questions that yielded to trust in the Father. 
      It was really rich, looking forward to the rest of this series. 

      1. Amen to Lizzy’s thanks for Deanna’s wisdom and good notes!   Looking forward to hearing this.  

    2. Woo hoo! Deanna’s transcripts ?

    3. Deanna, thank you so much for your wonderful, thorough notes!!

    4. Thanks for the kind words, Sisters!    Keller makes it all worth the work!

      1. Oh Deanna…wow!!!! let me add my thanks and praise of your wonderful notes.  THANK YOU!!

      2. Thank you Deanna! I didn’t get a chance to buy the sermon, so this is very helpful!

    5. How do you do that, Deanna? your notes are so spot on! Its like the Cliffs Notes version of the sermon. Thanks! 
      I do have a question for you. Would you be willing to delve deeper into your disagreement with Pastor Kellor about Joseph and Jacob? I’m interested in your thoughts about that. 

      1. Well, Jean,  I don’t know who I think I am to question Keller, but I just felt he went a bit over the top in his description of Joseph and of Jacob’s family.    All we are told in Genesis 37 is that Joseph had a couple of dreams that his brothers interpreted as meaning Joseph thought he would reign over them.   Joseph didn’t actually say that. We are told that Jacob favored Joseph because he was born in Jacob’s old age, but we are not actually told that Joseph had a spoiled attitude.  We are told that when Joseph shared his dreams with his brothers, they hated him all the more.   I will admit that there were some dysfunctional elements in the family.   What the brothers did to Joseph was evil — putting him in a cistern, some of them wanting to kill him, and  later selling him to a caravan.   Even more evil was the ruse to cover their actions by telling Jacob that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.   However, I don’t think Joseph was on the way to becoming a cruel and evil man.   He seemed obedient to his father, and later in Egypt he tried to take the moral road with Potphar’s wife, but she persisted in getting him into trouble with Potiphar and eventually imprisoned.    I have always felt sorry for Joseph who ended up in Egypt with no family to support him, until much later when the famine caused his brothers to come to Egypt.    

        1. I’m really impressed with your observations and reasoning here, Deanna.   I admit I haven’t heard the message yet, nor read over your notes……but wow!  Everything you just said sounds exactly like I have always seen the story too.  I’m very interested to hear Keller now.  I hope to take the time to do that soon.    
          And Deanna’s ‘Cliff’ notes it is!  We need to find a catchy name for these very specific gifts you give to us all.  🙂

    6. Again, Deanna, I am so thankful for your excellent notes on Keller’s sermon. I have not been able to listen so I appreciate your “cliff notes.”!
      We have gone through some bad eras in history and now we are in another. I cannot  even comment on politics because i am sickened by the rhetoric.
      I know that God uses some times of suffering to work out his plan, way more than I can comprehend.
      I have always been impressed by Joseph’s words to his brothers when he tells them that their plans were evil, but God meant it for good.
      I am going to add some of Habukkuk to my memory work, as Wanda did. So glad that your brother encouraged you with those verses, Wanda.

      1. Thank you, Shirley.  
        Such truth in your words…..we certainly are in a very bad era with sickening political rhetoric.  
        (I never imagined in my life time, we would see what we have seen during this campaign) 
        I sense a kindred spirit in your words here.   

    7. Deanna, you are such a gift to us! Thank you so much for your Cliff notes. 🙂 

  12. Hi, my name’s Stacy Lorenz From Michigan. I became a Dee Brestin fan when I heard her speak at a Women’s Spring Hill Retreat in Evart, Michigan. 

    1. Welcome Stacy to this wonderful loving growing place:) 

    2. Welcome to motley crew 🙂 I hope you will enjoy Dees compassionate leadership and the unique bond we all have!

    3. Hi Stacy,
      Welcome!  I stumbled on to this blog two years ago and I hope you find it to be as much of an encouragement as I have found.    

    4. A warm welcome, Stacy…this is a great place to be; we all learn and grow together.  I look forward to getting to know you.

    5. Stacy–so glad to have you join us here!

    6. Welcome!  Stacy.  🙂   There’s so much to learn and enjoy here.  

    7. Welcome, Stacy, from the great state of Michigan!

    8. I’m glad you have joined us Stacy! You will be blessed.

  13. 7. What thoughts do you have on chapter 1? Did any thing in particular quicken you? If so, go through these three steps: 
    Reflect — what quickened you and why? (God speaking to you)
    i was was taken a a m at how the Chaldeans seem so much like the current group, ISIS. How they were committing atrocities back then, and the poor people of the middle east are going through horror now because of this modern group of evil doers.
    Respond — (You speaking to God)
    Dear Lord! As has happened in the past, during Habukkuk’s time, where evil has prevailed and goodness seems far away, please put your hand on the situation in the present in the Middle East. I lament, as Habakkuk did for the horror playing out for Christians, and others; where are You?  How can this happen in a modern world? 
    It says in Habakkuk, that You are in the background, running the show. You are in control. I will try to believe this is true today as well. It is hard to hear of the horrible things that happen to innocent people; the child washed up on the beach, the pilot burned to death in a cage, the Iraqi Ysiti parlimentary member who stood up (and then collapsed) to stand for her people, and so on. It breaks my heart. Move in this situation; please. Help the world help these poor people. Help us rise together and make it right instead of standing around doing nothing. Help the evil ones realize that they are wrong; make them wake from their stupor. It is a comfort to know You had plans for Habakkuks time, so You must have plans for this time as well since you span through the ages including now. Thank You Jesus for being our Guide and Protector. Amen.

    1. Laura–love what you wrote here–” It is a comfort to know You had plans for Habakkuk’s time, so You must have plans for this time as well since you span through the ages including now. Thank You Jesus for being our Guide and Protector. Amen.”

      1. ???

    2. Laura, yes, I love what you wrote as Lizzy has said below.

      1. ???

  14. Does anyone know the hymn Kellor quoted at the end?’

    1. Jean,   I googled and found this:   “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” is a Christian hymn, written in 1773 by William Cowper from England.

      1. Deanna, thanks for the song. I love this version of Sovereign Grace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pTEboDF090

      2. Thank you! I’m going to listen to it in full. 

  15. I love what Kellor says when he compares Habakkuk to Job, Jeremiah, the writers of Psalms and then to Jesus when they all say to God some version of ‘Leave me alone, God’. We all know none of them meant it. When Kellor compared it to parenting, it struck a chord. My own son once told me, when I had told him no to something, “Go away, Mommy! You’re not making me happy!” I recall telling him something like, “It’s not my job to make you happy.” But the thing I’m seeing here is just like I remained my son’s mommy even though he rejected me, and I continued to love him, God remains my God, my Savior, my Refuge, etc. Even when I boldly claim that He’s not making me happy. It’s really not about me, it’s about God and His grace, covenant and great love for me. 

    1. Jean:   I haven’t heard the message, but the line that Deanna quoted at the end of her notes is from  ‘God Moves in A Mysterious Way His Wonders to Perform’   Excellent words all the way through that hymn.  

  16. 3. Read Habakkuk 1:1-4 and describe Habakkuk’s lament.        I have am sooo late beginning and somewhat  discombobulated’ this week as far as any linear thought goes, but I’m going to hope to throw out a few answers anyway.  I have been reading, thinking and praying on this lesson.
    What a poignant lament.  Every single one of us can relate.  The pleas against injustice in our world is what most strongly grips my heart in our time.    And how can God tolerate all the violence and wrong in our own nation, in our own cities and even our own neighborhoods?   No one has to look far to see the effects of injustice.  The one phrase that kind of jumped off the page to me was this:  “Destruction and violence are before me;  There is strife and conflict abounds.  Therefore the law is paralyzed,  and justice never prevails.  The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.”      Oh my.  This could go in so, so many directions with the strife and conflict that abounds in our culture.  Almost any issue on the docket has strife and even violence when there is disagreement.  What does it mean that ‘the law is paralyzed’?   I can see that in a couple of ways.  The law of God may certainly appear paralyzed.  The greatest commandment sums up God’s Law.   ‘Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all Thy heart, with all Thy soul, with all Thy mind’  What an amazing difference we would see in every, single area of life if this Law were not thrown aside in our dealings with others.  And even more so, when we add Jesus’ words…..’and love your neighbor as yourself.’  I also think of the law governing them (in Habakkuk’s day as in ours)  It also is paralyzed by injustice…..so much so, that the very laws that should protect can become the laws that destroy.  On a physical level, a paralysis can only be overcome by something, someone with greater authority than the laws of nature; a supernatural, miraculous or scientific ‘key’ to unlock what has been immobilized.  On a spiritual level, of course, our paralyzed hearts of stone can only be made flesh, vibrant and purposeful when God’s Spirit frees us from the sin that locks us down.   

    1. Love this answer, Wanda.
      Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.
      Our world would be a different place. Now all I see is pride and selfishness.
      Habakkuk was wrestling with God, and so I lament, How long, O Lord?

  17. B.  How does God describe the Chaldeans and who is their god? (v. 6-11) Thoughts?      
    Well…..I am sticking with my 1984 NIV and it uses the term Babylonians rather than Chaldeans.  So I did a little research.  The Chaldeans were highly intelligent and served as advisors to the Persian kings after Babylon was overthrown.  Their name seems to represent a high social class of people rather than a race.  But they were also aggressive and warlike.  And as the description in 6-11 states; very cruel and lawless.  It’s easy to see parallels to the terrorist groups operating out of the middle east today.  Also, as I look at the description here, I can also see parallels to so many more terroristic groups and acts.  I used italics to quote phrases from the text that correspond to some events in history and today.    Hitler’s troops….’a feared and dreaded people,  seizing dwelling places not their own,   promoting their own honor.’   When I think of how long ago Habakkuk was written, I think of dozens of militant groups bent on terror, genocide and the subversion of other peoples.  Some in the name of Christ.  Joseph Kony and the LRA in Uganda.  He claims to be God’s spokesperson and has been influenced by many spiritualities, but also by his perversion of Christianity.  When I read the words…‘ they are fiercer than wolves at dusk’, it sent chills up my spine, remembering how the children in Uganda who lived outside the village walked a mile or two every evening at dusk into the villages to sleep on the ground or the streets so they would be less likely to be kidnapped by the LRA than if they remained out in their remote homes in the bush.   And there are so many other ideological terroristic movements in the name of Christ….Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist?  “they deride kings and scoff at rulers”.…..  the Crusades of the middle ages? ‘.….bent on violence…..hordes advancing….”   So much of our history is stained with blood.  What about all the guerrilla warfare in the Central and South American countries even in our lifetime?   “they fly like a vulture swooping to devour; they come bent on violence.”  I think of the ‘dreaded and feared’ acts that led to the removal and genocide of native Americans.  And what about the Nigerian girls captured in 2014 by Boko Haram?  ‘they gather prisoners like sand”.    The list goes on and on and on across the globe.  These are only a few contemporary or famous examples.  There are countless others.  What a horrific picture of the depths of sin of humanity to impose such violence on others.    I think this one phrase sums up every one of the above…..’They are a law unto themselves.’  

    1. Wanda, I thank you for your thoughts on 1-4 and your research  on the Chaldeans, 6-11. You pulled the examples together to give evidence to the fruition of Habakkuk 6-11. I, too shudder at the depths of sin of humanity-  “They are a law unto themselves”.  We are in troubled times.
      The discussions here are so enlightening and I will miss perusing daily. 🙁 But I will keep on trying and trust God to maximize that time and learn from all of you.

  18. I have not had a chance to listen to the sermon yet. I think my biggest take away was vs 11 how they made their own strength their god. It just seemed so personal to me! How easily I can fall into that very same place. Thank you Renee for pointing out the other scripture about chariots. I know the Lord has spoken to me with that same scripture. I know He repeats His message to me as I often keep repeating same patterns in this area. In ALL areas our  strength and trust has to be in the Lord not of ourselves, or any politician no matter who it is. Let’s pray that all those in office will one day too acknowledge this, but right now I am working on my own log in my own eye. Lord I want to get this so I thank you  Lord You do not give up on me. Help me to extend that same grace You give to me to others. Amazing Grace it is.  “not by my might nor by by power but by my Spirit says the Lord” Zechariah 4:6

  19. This scripture just came to me” if my people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land”  2 Chronicals 7:14
    He is speaking to His church. It has to begin in Us we will have revival no other way. I want a revival so Lord help me to keep seeing the sin in my own life. 

    1. Both of the above are such good responses, Liz.  Count me in as one who needs to first see the log in my own eye.  
      May the peace of God permeate all of us as we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness in our world.  
      And may we bring our pleas first to the Prince of Peace.

    2. Liz, I love this scripture and yes, it must begin in Us!

  20. WONDERFUL SERMON.  I listened twice — and will listen again.  So encouraging to know that God is in control and that I can trust Him.  Plus, being reminded of horrible times in the past puts today in perspective and is a good reminder that God ALWAYS is faithful.

  21. Respond:Speak to God
    Dear Father,
    My times are in your hands. So many things I do not understand..But  I know you love me and I know that you are at work in my life, molding me as clay. The impurities need to be removed and your work will be done as you design it. I pray for courage to stand firm when struggles come. May my life be a witness of your love and may your will be done. I pray for Acts 4:29, “Now. Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” Amen
    Rest in what He is showing you. I know He is at work in each of our lives, and we must be faithful when we do not understand.