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Habakkuk: The Expectant Prophet

By John D. Currid
February 2010 | Review by Timothy Burden

Synopsis

The days in which Habakkuk preached were a dark time for the church in the Old Testament. God's people were suffering at the hands of others in the community, and the law of God was being sidelined in society. The prophet finds the situation intolerable. He questions why God would allow such things to happen and to continue. Why is God not doing something about the suffering and injustice? Habakkuk learns that the just shall live by faith even though the covenant nation itself is about to be destroyed, and the prophecy ends with a psalm of joyful praise to God. And so we learn, right along with the prophet, that no matter what is swirling around us, good or ill, we are to place our full trust in the sovereign Lord of the universe. He is the one who is in full control, and he cares for his people.

  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 978-0852347003
  • Pages: 144
  • Price: £6.12
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Book Review

This exposition of Habakkuk highlights the prophet’s experience of waiting for God’s answer to his perplexity over the violence and injustice he saw all around. His comfort was found in a full appreciation of the sovereignty of God.

The commentary’s aim is to provide the same comfort to us. Several helpful definitions of God’s sovereignty are given and we are encouraged, as Habakkuk was, to realise God’s use of ‘dramatic irony’ in those he chooses to make use of.

Currid draws on his knowledge of Hebrew to give accessible explanations of words and phrases that Habakkuk used. His archaeological expertise is employed to enrich our grasp of the times in which Habakkuk lived and witnessed. I found his section on the dating of Habakkuk clear, concise and convincing.

Throughout, there are delightful and stirring illustrations from people’s lives to illuminate God’s sovereignty. These should fill us with optimism as they show God works in strange ways, of which we often only see the confusing tangle at the ‘back of the tapestry’.

This brings us to what Currid calls ‘the very crux and heart of the book’ (chapter 2, verses 2-3), the humble exercise of faith. Anyone looking for fresh light on these vital verses and the New Testament’s use of them may be disappointed, but this should not distract from the lesson here.

Following Habakkuk’s journey in God-fearing faith, Currid says: ‘After all is said and done, this is where Habakkuk has landed theologically: he is in greater awe of God than he is of the Babylonians.’

The application, made in the subsequent ‘Points to ponder’ section (which occur at the end of each chapter), tells us: ‘There comes a time when each of us, like Habakkuk, ought to acknowledge that God is God.’

God is more to be feared than any power, and trusted in more than any comfort. This book is predominantly refreshing and encouraging.

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