Habakkuk 1 Bible Commentary

John Darby’s Synopsis

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(Read all of Habakkuk 1)
The prophet's complaint of evil

First of all, the prophet complains that the evil which exists among the people is insupportable. This is the natural effect of the working of the Spirit of God in a heart jealous for His glory and detesting evil. The heart of the prophet, formed in the school of the law, speaks perhaps of the evil in the spirit of the law. The Spirit of God does not bring him out of this position, which was properly that of a prophet before God, and he judges the evil in a holy manner, according to a heart that was faithful to the blessings of Jehovah.

Jehovah's revelation of His chastisement

Thereupon Jehovah reveals to him the terrible judgment by which He will chastise the people who thus gave themselves up to evil. He would raise up against them the Chaldeans, those types of pride and energy, who, successful in all their enterprises, sought glory only in the opinion they had of themselves. Their head, forsaking the true God who had given them their strength, would worship a god of his own. [1]

The wicked established in power by Jehovah for correction

But all this awakens in the prophet a different sentiment from that which he before experienced. Here was his God denied by the instrument of vengeance, and the beloved people trodden down by one more wicked than themselves. But faith knows that its God, the true God, is the one and only Lord, [2] and (already a profound consolation assuring the heart of salvation) that it is Jehovah who has established the wicked in power for the correction of His people. But shall they continue to fill their net with men, as though they were but fish?

[1] Sad effect of pride, which, unknown to itself, is the parent of weakness! Man cannot sustain himself; and the pride which rejects the true God must and does make one for itself, or adopts what its fathers have made, for pride cannot stand in the presence of the supreme God. Man makes a god: this, too, is pride. But he cannot do without one; and after all, the natural heart is the slave of that which it cannot do without.

[2] To Habakkuk of course Jehovah; to us the Father is revealed in the Son, and so one Lord, Jesus Christ.