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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: Trusting God's Goodness (Habakkuk) *
Introduction: Would you like to keep private past decisions that were
questionable? How many times do you wish that others would not
criticize you? Do you like it when others want to discuss with you
some error that you made in the past? Except when you are sinfully
bragging, do you like to talk about past sins? Unless you are an
uncommon saint, the answer to all of these questions is that we do
not like to be questioned, criticized or reminded of our sins. Our
amazing God is open to a discussion about His decisions. The God who
created us is willing to discuss how He treats us. The book of
Habakkuk reveals a God who is open and transparent. Let's jump into
our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about God's
- The Complaint
- Read Habakkuk 1:1-2. The NIV translates as "oracle" a word
that means "burden" or figuratively a "dark message." Is
this message from God? (The dark message seems to be from
people who are complaining to God.)
- Have you ever had your children or your spouse say,
"You don't listen!" "You never help me"? How do you
like those kinds of complaints?
- Why do you think God publishes in the Bible these
complaints against Him? (He wants us to learn
- Read Habakkuk 1:3. What is the complaint here? (God
tolerates injustice. God tolerates violence and
- Read Habakkuk 1:4. Why is a discussion of the law
relevant? (Normally, the legal system of justice is the
way in which violence, destruction and injustice are
handled. These are the human mechanisms to address these
problems. The complaint is that neither humans nor God
are doing anything about injustice.)
- God's Response
- Read Habakkuk 1:5. This is God's response. How does God
think His response will be received? (God says, "I know it
will be unbelievable.")
- Read Habakkuk 1:6-7. What unbelievable thing does God have
in mind? (He is going to use evil, unjust and arrogant
people (the Babylonians) to carry out a mission for God.)
- Read Habakkuk 1:8-11. In addition to being wicked, what
else can we say about the Babylonians? (They are a
- The Reply
- Read Habakkuk 1:12-13. What are the obvious problems with
God's plan? (God is pure. Why would He use the wicked? God
believes in righteousness, why would He use the
treacherous? Especially, why would God use the really
wicked to punish the mildly wicked?)
- Let's discuss this for just a minute. Does God care about
the really wicked? (When we studied the book of Jonah we
learned that God loves and pursues the really wicked.)
- Why not use the mildly wicked to punish the really
wicked? (This is an important lesson for Christians.
God gives no credit for being mildly wicked. We
cannot think that we are owed something by God for
being mildly evil.)
- Have you ever said, "Why did you punish me? This
other person is a lot worse?" "Officer, why did you
pull me over, this other car just passed me - you
should pull him over instead!"
- Let's talk about this in terms of today. Would God
allow Satan or fallen angels to punish us?
- Does Satan want to harm us? (Yes!)
- Is God's punishment simply stepping aside and
not stopping evil?
- Have you noticed that it seems to be a law of
the universe that evil works bring evil
responses? You punch someone and they are
likely to punch you back. Would it be fair to
conclude that evil has its own natural
punishment in most cases, and God decides
whether or not to intervene and prevent the
- Read Habakkuk 1:14-16. What is the other problem with God
using the really wicked to punish the mildly wicked? (The
really wicked give praise to their false gods.)
- Read Habakkuk 2:1. After stating the additional
complaints, what does Habakkuk do? (He waits on God for
- Does God have to answer? Does God have to explain
himself to His creation?
- God's Reply
- Read Habakkuk 2:2. How important is God's answer? (God
says "I want everyone to know what I have to say about
these complaints." That suggests the answer is important.)
- Read Habakkuk 2:3. What kind of response is this? (God
says, "Wait for it." "Timing is very important here. I
will do what I promise in My time.")
- Read Habakkuk 2:4. What two kinds of people does God say
exist? (The righteous who live by faith, and the proud
with their evil desires.)
- Read Habakkuk 2:5. What is wrong with those who are evil?
(They are greedy and never satisfied.)
- Read Habakkuk 2:6-7. What is God's answer about the future
of the evil? (God says "payback" is coming. The evil will
be ridiculed and scorned. They will change places and
become the victim.)
- Read Habakkuk 2:13-14. I keep time records of my work. The
day before I wrote this I put in 11.4 hours of work. What
does God say about laboring to exhaustion? (It is all
going to burn!)
- What is important in life? (Advancing the knowledge
of the glory of God. Bringing glory to God. I like to
think that my work every day is to advance the
Kingdom of God rather than just build something that
- Read Habakkuk 2:15-16. Does this sound like advice on
current issues? (Consider the number of Internet videos of
drunk young people who fit this picture.)
- What is God telling us? (That if we take advantage of
others, we can expect others to take advantage of us.
God will pour out a cup of disgrace on us.)
- Read Habakkuk 2:18-20. We started this chapter by saying
that God is going to give His answer about why the truly
evil are used to punish the mildly evil. God is going to
tell us why He allows violence and tolerates injustice.
What answers do you find among the verses that we just
read? (God's answer seems to have several parts. First, He
knows who are the righteous who live by faith and He knows
who are the proud and greedy. God knows who trusts in Him
and He knows who trust in their own creation. God says the
timing may vary, but the wicked will be punished. Evil
and violence will end. God says, "I am on My throne -
- Habakkuk's Prayer
- Read Habakkuk 3:1-2. In light of what God just told
Habakkuk, what does Habakkuk pray? (Do it now! Bring
justice now! Bring mercy now!)
- Habakkuk 3:3-16 recite God's great power and glory. God
can do anything!
- Read Habakkuk 3:17-18. Consider the contrast. God is all
powerful and can do anything. However, as a practical
matter, right now in my life things are going very poorly.
What attitude should you have in such a situation? (We
should rejoice in God and be joyful. God asks us to look
beyond our situation and trust that He will make things
- Read Habakkuk 3:19. How does trust, faith and joy in God
change our life? (An attitude of trust gives us wings! It
gives us strength and it gives us speed and it gives us
the ability to see things clearly.)
- Friend, would you like wings? Would you like joy,
strength, speed and clarity? Trust in God. Despite the
current problems of life, God is on His throne. Trust that
God sees those who live by faith and those who oppose God.
In His time, God will make it right!
- Next week: The Day of the Lord (Zephaniah).
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.