HomeVisionArticlesConferencesProductsTeacher Tips (FREE!)EmailLessonsContact


Encouraging Words #4

Good Questions: These lesson Have Groups Talking!



Habakkuk (1)




  1. As we read this passage, look for the question and the answer.
  2. Habakkuk states this question in several ways, paraphrasing himself each time. How would you state the question? (2)
  3. How does this question show itself in every day life? What are some real, live examples? (3)
  4. Verse 3 mentions injustice. How old does a child have to be before we can expect to hear him say, "That's not fair!"
  5. Why is fairness (justice) so important to us? Why doesn't a child just yell, "I don't like that!" Why the appeal to fairness? (4)
  6. Summarize God's answer. (5)
  7. What do you know about the Babylonians? How do you think this answer made Habakkuk feel?
  8. Interesting little trivia in Habakkuk 2.2. He says, "Write down the revelation." Why is it important that we write it down when God speaks to us?
  9. What methods could we use to write down what God says to us? (6)
  10. Habakkuk 2.4 is an oft quoted verse. What exactly does it mean to live by faith?
  11. Why is faith so important?
  12. How do we increase our ability to live by faith?
  13. What is the opposite of living by faith?
  14. See how many times you can find the phrase, "Woe to him."
  15. Habakkuk 3:17 - 19 is a verse that would be worthy of entry into your spiritual journal. Read it and read it and read it till it is memorized. How would you paraphrase the message of this passage?
  16. How can we become people that rejoice in the Lord, even when all kinds of bad things happen?
  17. What are the benefits to us of becoming people who can rejoice in the Lord always?
  18. What keeps us from being people who can rejoice in hard circumstances?
  19. Can you think of a New Testament verse that parallels this concept? (7)
  20. Let's see if we can memorize this Habakkuk passage. Let's say it out loud five times together. (8)
  21. Who thinks they could take a stab at saying this passage?
  22. Anyone else?
  23. How can we pray for one another?

  24. 1. The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet received.

    [2] How long, O Lord, must I call for help,

    but you do not listen?

    Or cry out to you, "Violence!"

    but you do not save?

    [3] Why do you make me look at injustice?

    Why do you tolerate wrong?

    Destruction and violence are before me;

    there is strife, and conflict abounds.

    [4] Therefore the law is paralyzed,

    and justice never prevails.

    The wicked hem in the righteous,

    so that justice is perverted.

    [5] "Look at the nations and watch--

    and be utterly amazed.

    For I am going to do something in your days

    that you would not believe,

    even if you were told.

    [6] I am raising up the Babylonians,

    that ruthless and impetuous people,

    who sweep across the whole earth

    to seize dwelling places not their own.

    [7] They are a feared and dreaded people;

    they are a law to themselves

    and promote their own honor.

    [8] Their horses are swifter than leopards,

    fiercer than wolves at dusk.

    Their cavalry gallops headlong;

    their horsemen come from afar.

    They fly like a vulture swooping to devour;

    [9] they all come bent on violence.

    Their hordes advance like a desert wind

    and gather prisoners like sand.

    [10] They deride kings

    and scoff at rulers.

    They laugh at all fortified cities;

    they build earthen ramps and capture them.

    [11] Then they sweep past like the wind and go on--

    guilty men, whose own strength is their god."

    [12] O Lord, are you not from everlasting?

    My God, my Holy One, we will not die.

    O Lord, you have appointed them to execute judgment;

    O Rock, you have ordained them to punish.

    [13] Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;

    you cannot tolerate wrong.

    Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?

    Why are you silent while the wicked

    swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

    [14] You have made men like fish in the sea,

    like sea creatures that have no ruler.

    [15] The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks,

    he catches them in his net,

    he gathers them up in his dragnet;

    and so he rejoices and is glad.

    [16] Therefore he sacrifices to his net

    and burns incense to his dragnet,

    for by his net he lives in luxury

    and enjoys the choicest food.

    [17] Is he to keep on emptying his net,

    destroying nations without mercy?

    [2:1] I will stand at my watch

    and station myself on the ramparts;

    I will look to see what he will say to me,

    and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

    [2] Then the Lord replied:

    "Write down the revelation

    and make it plain on tablets

    so that a herald may run with it.

    [3] For the revelation awaits an appointed time;

    it speaks of the end

    and will not prove false.

    Though it linger, wait for it;

    it will certainly come and will not delay.

    [4] "See, he is puffed up;

    his desires are not upright--

    but the righteous will live by his faith--

    [5] indeed, wine betrays him;

    he is arrogant and never at rest.

    Because he is as greedy as the grave

    and like death is never satisfied,

    he gathers to himself all the nations

    and takes captive all the peoples.

    [6] "Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying,

    " 'Woe to him who piles up stolen goods

    and makes himself wealthy by extortion!

    How long must this go on?'

    [7] Will not your debtors suddenly arise?

    Will they not wake up and make you tremble?

    Then you will become their victim.

    [8] Because you have plundered many nations,

    the peoples who are left will plunder you.

    For you have shed man's blood;

    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

    [9] "Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain

    to set his nest on high,

    to escape the clutches of ruin!

    [10] You have plotted the ruin of many peoples,

    shaming your own house and forfeiting your life.

    [11] The stones of the wall will cry out,

    and the beams of the woodwork will echo it.

    [12] "Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed

    and establishes a town by crime!

    [13] Has not the Lord Almighty determined

    that the people's labor is only fuel for the fire,

    that the nations exhaust themselves for nothing?

    [14] For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,

    as the waters cover the sea.

    [15] "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbors,

    pouring it from the wineskin till they are drunk,

    so that he can gaze on their naked bodies.

    [16] You will be filled with shame instead of glory.

    Now it is your turn! Drink and be exposed!

    The cup from the Lord's right hand is coming around to you,

    and disgrace will cover your glory.

    [17] The violence you have done to Lebanon will overwhelm you,

    and your destruction of animals will terrify you.

    For you have shed man's blood;

    you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.

    [18] "Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it?

    Or an image that teaches lies?

    For he who makes it trusts in his own creation;

    he makes idols that cannot speak.

    [19] Woe to him who says to wood, 'Come to life!'

    Or to lifeless stone, 'Wake up!'

    Can it give guidance?

    It is covered with gold and silver;

    there is no breath in it.

    [20] But the Lord is in his holy temple;

    let all the earth be silent before him."

    [3:1] A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.

    [2] Lord, I have heard of your fame;

    I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord.

    Renew them in our day,

    in our time make them known;

    in wrath remember mercy.

    [3] God came from Teman,

    the Holy One from Mount Paran.


    His glory covered the heavens

    and his praise filled the earth.

    [4] His splendor was like the sunrise;

    rays flashed from his hand,

    where his power was hidden.

    [5] Plague went before him;

    pestilence followed his steps.

    [6] He stood, and shook the earth;

    he looked, and made the nations tremble.

    The ancient mountains crumbled

    and the age-old hills collapsed.

    His ways are eternal.

    [7] I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,

    the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

    [8] Were you angry with the rivers, O Lord?

    Was your wrath against the streams?

    Did you rage against the sea

    when you rode with your horses

    and your victorious chariots?

    [9] You uncovered your bow,

    you called for many arrows.


    You split the earth with rivers;

    [10] the mountains saw you and writhed.

    Torrents of water swept by;

    the deep roared

    and lifted its waves on high.

    [11] Sun and moon stood still in the heavens

    at the glint of your flying arrows,

    at the lightning of your flashing spear.

    [12] In wrath you strode through the earth

    and in anger you threshed the nations.

    [13] You came out to deliver your people,

    to save your anointed one.

    You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,

    you stripped him from head to foot.


    [14] With his own spear you pierced his head

    when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,

    gloating as though about to devour

    the wretched who were in hiding.

    [15] You trampled the sea with your horses,

    churning the great waters.

    [16] I heard and my heart pounded,

    my lips quivered at the sound;

    decay crept into my bones,

    and my legs trembled.

    Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity

    to come on the nation invading us.

    [17] Though the fig tree does not bud

    and there are no grapes on the vines,

    though the olive crop fails

    and the fields produce no food,

    though there are no sheep in the pen

    and no cattle in the stalls,

    [18] yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

    [19] The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

    he enables me to go on the heights.

    For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

    Habakkuk 1:1-3:19 [NIV]

    2. Something like: why is there evil in the world. This is a knotty problem. If God is all powerful, all good, all loving, and all knowing, it appears that God would eliminate all pain and evil in the world. We think logically that God either doesn't care, or he is unable to do anything about it. The solution in Job is surprising: there are a thousand things in this world we don't understand. This is only one of them.

    3. It is an interesting philosophical point till it is my kid in the hospital, me filing for bankruptcy, or my marriage failing. Then, it becomes a very intense question: "God, why did you let this happen to me? I was trying to serve you! Why don't You do something!"

    4. We are created in the image of a just God and are incredibly sensitive to the issue of justice.

    5. God is going to get the Babylonians to beat up the perpetrators of injustice.

    6. Many use spiritual notebooks of various kinds that can be used to capture sermon notes, quiet time insights, key verse to memorize, prayer requests, etc.

    7. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, [3] because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. [4] Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 [NIV]

    8. You might want to make printed cards of these verses.