Outline of Habakkuk
1. Habakkuk’s Dialogue with God (Habakkuk 1:1-2:20)
A. Superscription (Habakkuk 1:1)
The introduction to part one of the book.
B. Habakkuk’s First Lament: The Wicked Oppress the A righteous person is one who is ethical and faithful to God’s covenant. Righteousness in the Old Testament is an attitude of God; in the New Testament it is a gift of God through grace. In the New Testament righteousness is a relationship with God… More! (Habakkuk 1:2-4)
Habakkuk confronts God, assuming that, if God hears the cry of the righteous, God saves the righteous. Currently, the righteous experience violence, so apparently God is not listening. Habakkuk demands God’s attention.
C. God’s Response: The Chaldeans Will Punish the Wicked (Habakkuk 1:5-11)
God is at work employing Chaldean (Babylonian) expansion as a means to clear out the corrupters of justice within Habakkuk’s community.
D. Habakkuk’s Second Lament: Why Use Wickedness to Punish Wickedness? (Habakkuk 1:12-2:1)
The (Babylonian) invader causes more injustice than the injustice it sweeps out. God’s justice cannot be established with unjust means, argues Habakkuk. The “cure” is worse than the “illness.” The extensive violence unleashed in response to the violence against the righteous threatens to destroy even the righteous (1:13, 15, 17).
E. God’s Response: The Punisher’s Own Injustice Will Not Endure (Habakkuk 2:2-20)
The perpetrators of violence will not endure; they are not the end of God’s work. Violence will finally overwhelm the perpetrators who will turn frightful and frantic. They will drink the cup of the Lord and their idols will fail them. This upheaval calls for all the earth to keep silence.
2. Habakkuk’s Prayer (Habakkuk 3:1-19)
A. Superscription (Habakkuk 3:1)
The introduction to part two of the book.
B. Habakkuk’s Prayer (Habakkuk 3:2)
Habakkuk pleads: God, make what has been heard and told about your past deliverances into a present, lived reality in the midst of violent judgment of wickedness.
C. God’s Response: Past Deliverance/Future Hope (Habakkuk 3:3-15)
Old hymns celebrating God’s past deliverance instill hope for future deliverance; God will again be “in character.” Past historic deliverance was so deeply reordering that cosmic reordering accompanied it in hymnic description.
D. Waiting for God’s Action (Habakkuk 3:16-19)
The promise heard in the old hymnic affirmations of God’s work in behalf of the people of God reshapes the world for Habakkuk. His reaction is first one of fear paralleling the call for silence in 2:20: he trembles within and his lips quiver (3:16). He will wait (3:16, compare 2:3). His second reaction is confidence expressed in praise to God even if nature itself fails (3:17-19).