Bible Commentaries
Habakkuk 2

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-4

  1. WATCHING! (2:1)
    1. So he waited, as a sentinel standing watch, for the Lord to answer & untangle this knotty dilemma. (Chuck Swindoll; pg.75)
    2. Of course the watchman in the watchtower was responsible to warn the city of approaching danger.
    3. Just as we are to be watchmen today! What is our warning?
      1. As John said, “flee from the wrath to come!” – Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
    4. It is good to wrestle w/God about the questions that perplex you – just be sure to stop talking long enough to listen!
      1. “Be still, and know that [he is] God”. Ps.46:10
    5. Habakkuk picked the city watchtower for his sanctuary, to listen to the Lord…where’s yours?
  2. WAITING! (2:2-4)
    1. Answer: The Babylonians will be punished also? (2-4; to end of ch.)
    2. The Lord graciously answers him & gave him the vision he needed to turn his worrying into worship(ch.3)
    3. (2) 1st God’s response was for him to write it down. 2nd make it plain on tablets. 3rd make it for easy reading.
      1. It was to be Permanent, Plain, & Public! (this message wasn’t only for him…he was to share it)
    4. (3) This vision was given for a future time & about a future time.
      1. Babylon & the 2nd coming of Christ.
      2. Though it tarries wait for it (i.e. Babylon)
      3. The writer of Hebrews interprets it to refer to the return of Christ. “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.” Heb.10:37
      4. Where is the promise of His coming? - Wait for it! It will surely come!
    5. (4) The just shall live by his faith – (interesting, it takes 3 NT epistles to explain 1 OT text) (Warren Wiersbe)
      1. Rom. 1:17 the theme is “the just” & how to be justified before God.
      2. Gal. 3:11 show us how the just “shall live”.
      3. Heb. 10:38 the emphasis is on living “by faith”.
        1. Faith is learning to live by insight rather than by sight.
      4. This was of course the watch word for the reformation. As one put it “the 7 most important monosyllables in all of church history!”
        1. It was this verse quoted in Rom.1:17 that ignited Martin Luther’s spirit & set him on fire!
        2. It was to him as he said, “the true gate to paradise!”
        3. Understanding for the 1st time the depth & understanding of “justification by faith alone”[sola fide/faith alone] (i.e. not works)
    6. We are not only to be saved by faith but we are to live by faith!
      1. To live by faith means to: believe God’s Word & obey it no matter how we feel, what we see, or what the consequences may be.
      2. 1 Jn.5:4 “this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith.”
      3. When Michael Faraday, the great English physicist, was dying, friends gathered at his bedside. As was often the case in the nineteenth century, they sought some final words from the dying man. "What are your speculations?" they asked. His answer was firm: "Speculations! I have none. I am resting on certainties."

Verses 5-20

  1. 5 Woes! (ch.2:5-20)
    1. 5 woes! – Babylon would be used by God to spank Judah…but they also would be spanked for how they did it.
    2. Ambition! (6-8)
      1. Ambition can be a good thing, but when it motivates you to be greedy, selfish, & abusive…it is a very bad thing.
      2. The Babylonians were consumed by selfish ambition. They stopped at nothing to acquire wealth & expand their kingdom.
      3. The Medes & Persians ended up fulfilling this prophecy(7,8).
    3. Covetousness! (9-11)
      1. Security…but it was a false security!
        1. Q: How high do you have to build walls to keep God out?
    4. Exploiting People! (12-14)
      1. Built by slave labor, prisoners of war, etc.
      2. This was only fueling Gods fire against them.
      3. (14) Contrast Babylon’s shame & infamy to Gods glory!
        1. And there relatively short “glory” compared to God’s eternal glory!
    5. Drunkenness! (15-17)
      1. Can interpret individual & national.
    6. Idolatry! (18-20)
      1. Of what value is a god made by a man?
        1. Idols are a dead substitute for the living God!
      2. Q: What are you devoted to other then God? What do you delight in other then God? What couldn’t you bear to be w/o?
      3. Keep silence - “Having learned to make the joyful noise, let us also practice the blessed quiet!” (Paul Anderson in Leadership, Vol. 7, no. 2.)
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Habakkuk 2". "Bell's Commentary". 2017.