The Book of Habakkuk

“Lord, Send A Revival”

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Lesson 1 - “Habakkuk- A Man With A Burden”

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

Habakkuk 1:1-4, “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.”

When I saw Pastor Sexton in Brooklyn on Friday, December 7th, he asked the pastors there to preach on revival for the coming New Year. He had a burden to see revival in our nation as we all should. What is revival?

-A revival is nothing more than a new beginning of obedience to God. Charles Finney

-When Holy God draws near in true revival, people come under terrible conviction of sin. The outstanding feature of spiritual awakening has been the profound consciousness of the Presence and holiness of God. Henry Blackaby

-Revival begins in the individual's heart. Let it begin with you on your face alone before God. Turn from every sin that might hinder. Renew yourself to a new devotion to the Savior. Lee Roberson

When you look at the Old Testament book of Habakkuk, we meet a man with a burden for God to do only what God could do. The book of Habakkuk is one of the twelve books found in the Old Testament that are referred to as the “Minor Prophets.” The term “minor” relates to the length of this book and not to the message. In every book of the Bible as with this one, there is a major message. In the book of Habakkuk, we find the major message of all the Word of God, “The just shall live by his faith.” (Hab. 2:4) What this means is that no matter what our circumstances may be, we can live victoriously through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Habakkuk lived on the eve of the captivity of the nation of Israel. The Babylonians were about to come down upon the nation of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. The nation of Israel had been divided into two kingdoms, Israel in the North and Judah in the South. Led by its wicked King Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon was about to come in and destroy Judah and take the people of God captive.

The Temple of the Lord would be ransacked and destroyed. This man of God, Habakkuk, was called to serve the Lord on the eve of their destruction. Habakkuk was a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah and they both served under the wicked reign of King Jehoiakim, who turned his back on the Lord and the word of God as we will see. In an age of great wickedness and with the judgment of God about to fall, Habakkuk sought the Lord.

In this book of Habakkuk, we will be listening to a conversation that a man had with God and God has recorded Habakkuk’s conversation so that all might hear and take heed. In this small but powerful book, we will find many things that will move our hearts.

Habakkuk 1:1 says again, The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.” Notice that this prophet was a man with a burden! No one is ever greatly used of God who does not have a burden.

We should all possess,

-A burden to be right with God.

-A burden to see those who live in our home know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

-A burden to see the people in our city know the Lord.

-A burden for churches to be the kind of churches that obey God’s will and make Him known.

-A burden for our nation to turn to the Lord.

This man Habakkuk’s burden was a desire for the Lord to move mightily in the hearts of the people.

Let’s look at some things about this portion of Scripture,

#1) It was a dark hour of human history.

In the book of Jeremiah we get some insight into what was happening in the land in Habakkuk’s day. Remember that Habakkuk and Jeremiah served the Lord under King Jehoiakim, just as Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, was preparing his army to come and conquer Judah (Southern Kingdom) and take captive the people of God.

In this same day in which Habakkuk served, God spoke to Jeremiah about the message he was to take to King Jehoiakim. Remember that the Jews are God’s chosen people, the people that God had raised up from Abraham’s seed to be the people to whom and through whom He would make Himself known to the whole world. These are the very same people to whom God gave His Word and through whom God would send His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to pay our sin debt.

Look with me at Jeremiah 36:1-7,

“And it came to pass in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that this word came unto Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day. It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the evil which I purpose to do unto them; that they may return every man from his evil way; that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin. Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book. And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the LORD.”

“Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the LORD in the ears of the people in the LORD'S house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities. It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return everyone from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the LORD hath pronounced against this people.”

And so God told Jeremiah to send this message to the king and to the people and IF they heard this message of God and IF they turned from their evil ways, the Lord would forgive their sin. God in other words, was giving them an opportunity to repent.

Continue with me in Jeremiah 36:8-24,

“And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the LORD in the LORD'S house. And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month,  that they proclaimed a fast before the LORD to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem. Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the LORD, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the LORD'S house, in the ears of all the people. When Michaiah the son of Gemariah, the son of Shaphan, had heard out of the book all the words of the LORD, Then he went down into the king's house, into the scribe's chamber: and, lo, all the princes sat there, even Elishama the scribe, and Delaiah the son of Shemaiah, and Elnathan the son of Achbor, and Gemariah the son of Shaphan, and Zedekiah the son of Hananiah, and all the princes. Then Michaiah declared unto them all the words that he had heard, when Baruch read the book in the ears of the people. Therefore all the princes sent Jehudi the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, unto Baruch, saying, Take in thine hand the roll wherein thou hast read in the ears of the people, and come. So Baruch the son of Neriah took the roll in his hand, and came unto them. And they said unto him, Sit down now, and read it in our ears. So Baruch read it in their ears. Now it came to pass, when they had heard all the words, they were afraid both one and other, and said unto Baruch, We will surely tell the king of all these words. And they asked Baruch, saying, Tell us now, How didst thou write all these words at his mouth? Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in the book. Then said the princes unto Baruch, Go, hide thee, thou and Jeremiah; and let no man know where ye be. And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king. So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words.”

Can you believe this? When the King heard the Word of God, he cut it with his penknife and threw it into the fire. By his actions he declared, “We will not have God and we will not have God’s Word! This is the dark hour in which Habakkuk lived folks!

The most frightening thing was not just what the King did with the Word of God but what it said in verse 24 that they were not afraid; there was not fear of God before their eyes. No wonder Habakkuk 1:1 says, “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.” He saw the darkness all around him and he was burdened for God to move in the hearts of the people.

Well what Habakkuk feared would happen did in fact happen. After the awful captivity took place, Psalm 137 was written. The Bible says in Psalm 137:1, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.” God’s people were in Babylon and they thought of Zion back home. They thought of how their lives used to be.

It was too late, they didn’t heed the warnings of the prophets of God and now they yearned to be back home. This awful heartache and tragedy was standing at the door in Habakkuk’s day and God put a burden in his heart for his nation of Judah. When we see what happened to the nation of Israel, just think how much more America will be held responsible for because of the great sin in our land. Think back a few years in our nation’s history and we see our founding fathers bowing their knees to the Lord and giving Him thanks and praise; but in these perilous times in which we live, evil men and seducers wax worse and worse.

We said that Habakkuk was living in a very dark hour of human history,

#2) He had a desperate heart cry for God.

Habakkuk’s burden gave him a desperate heart. Out of that desperate heart, he cried out to God. Notice what he asked God to do. This is very revealing to us because we have so many voices today telling us what we need as a country.

Some say we need more social programs, better public education, more military and shared responsibility via raised taxes to the income earners. Notice what this desperate man, a man with a burden, asked from God. Habakkuk 3:2 says, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

Out of his desperate heart Habakkuk prayed to God for one thing-REVIVAL! His request for revival touched the heart of their deepest need! They had forsaken God and must return to Him!

Question-

-What do preachers need who preach without a burden?

-What do Sunday School teachers need who walk into their classes without expecting God to work?

-What do church members need who have lost their zeal and enthusiasm in serving the Lord?

One thing in needed-REVIVAL! A revival is simply a new beginning of obedience to God.

Revival begins in the hearts of individuals. Revival will not come from seeking revival, rather revival will come as we seek God with all our hearts! Let us seek the Lord for mercy as well.

We said that Habakkuk was living in a very dark hour and that he had a desperate heart cry for God to work,

#3) He realized his dependence upon God.

This burdened Old Testament prophet of God came to a place of total dependence upon God and nothing else and no one else. And until we get to the place of total dependence upon God, God is not going to do what He alone can do in our hearts and then in our nation!

Notice carefully what the Bible says in the closing part of this book as Habakkuk came to that place of total dependence upon the Lord. Habakkuk 3:17-18 says,

“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

You see the Lord has designed the Christian life so that no matter what is happening around us, we can still be faithful to Him and rejoice and have victory in our lives! He looked around and saw all of the destruction and the poverty of his people and he said in spite of all that, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

David wrote in Psalms 18:2, “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”

Psalms 27:1, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Nehemiah 8:10, “For the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

As children of God, like Habakkuk, we need to wake up and recognize the dark hour in which we live and we need a desperate heart cry for God for revival in our own hearts first and then in the hearts of other believers as we depend totally on God to bring it.

Let’s pray.



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