- Background: Written ~640-615 B.C. – After the Assyrians destroyed and scattered the Northern Kingdom / Israel – 722 B.C. – and before the Babylonians (Chaldeans) destroyed the temple and took the Southern Kingdom / Judah into exile – 586 B.C.
- Outline – Chapters 1-2 are a conversation between Habakkuk and the Lord. Chapter 3 is a hymn of praise.
- Habakkuk 1:1-4, Habakkuk cries out to the Lord about the sin in Judah.
- Habakkuk 1:5-11, The Lord answers, “I am raising up the Chaldeans.” He makes the clear implication that he is bringing them to punish Judah.
- Habakkuk 1:12-2:1, Habakkuk cannot understand how the Lord can “remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” In other words, how can God bring a wicked, godless nation to defeat His own people?
- Habakkuk 2:2-20, God pronounces judgment on the Chaldeans/Babylonians. Yes, you got that right! The Chaldeans were God’s instrument of wrath on Judah, but they are RESPONSIBLE for what they did.
- Habakkuk 3:1, Habakkuk resolves to let God be God, and worship Him for it, but with this plea, “In wrath remember mercy.” “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.”
- “The righteous shall live by his faith,” is quoted in Cited Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38. Romans 1:17 is the verse that really seemed to bring it all together for Martin Luther, leading him to understand the great truth of justification by faith. It has been called the “spark of the reformation.”
- Background: Written ~640-609 B.C. – during the reforms of King Josiah.
- The “Day of the Lord”: In the Old Testament, the term the “day of the Lord” or “the day of the Lord’s wrath” or “anger” or simply “that day,” often refers to a coming event that is being prophesied. This is usually judgment. However it very often refers to the “last days” when Jesus comes. These passages often speak of a thing near and a thing far at the same time. These could speak of his incarnation, the church age, the return of Christ to judge, or even the new heavens and the new earth. That seems like a lot of options, but often the language will make clear what it refers to.
- The faithful remnant: Zephaniah 2:9 mentions “the remnant of my people.” A theme throughout the Old Testament is that the Lord always has a faithful remnant representing Him in the world. See Micah 5:7-8; 1 Kings 19:18.
- The church: Zephaniah 3:9-13 clearly speaks of God gathering faithful from all the nations. This is none other than the church being seen here. This is common in the prophets to look ahead to this fulfillment of Genesis 12:3.
- The lesson: “Seek the Lord,” Zephaniah 2:3.
- Background: Written ~627-586 B.C. – Jeremiah began to speak to the Southern Kingdom / Judah during the reign of the good king Josiah all the way through the destruction and final defeat of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The Northern Kingdom / Israel / Ephraim was already destroyed by Assyria in 722 B.C. and is used as an example in some prophetic passages.
- The Prophet’s role: This is a highly emotional book. The prophet’s pain can be felt throughout. He obviously loved God, and loved his country. Speaking for God carries great weight “to pluck up and to break down” or “to build and to plant.” However, Jeremiah was told up front that the people would fight against him, Jeremiah 1:18-19, but that God would be with him to deliver him. Indeed, we’ll see Jeremiah suffer in his role.
- Coming Judgment: Coming to the Southern Kingdom / Judah – complete devastation and deportation at the hands of Babylon. This is spoken of constantly. Judgment against sin gets specific from idolatry to social injustice to false prophets to bad shepherds (leaders and priests). The failure of the nation Israel was a failure to obey God rather than any failure on God’s part. Many specific sins are mentioned including false/insincere worship practices (Jeremiah 7-10).
- Coming Salvation: Despite the coming judgment, God by his grace would bring the people of Israel back to the land. Many of these passages clearly go past the promise to restore Israel and announce the inclusion of all nations (Gentiles) to the people of God. Jeremiah 31:31-34 speaks specifically of the New Covenant that would come with Jesus Christ. These are verses you should be careful to remember.
- Judgment on the Nations: God’s judgment is not limited to Israel / Judah. Jeremiah 46-51 detail his pronouncements of judgments on other nations. Notice however Jeremiah 18:7-10, which sounds very similar in tone to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
- Seventy years in captivity: It’s from Jeremiah that Daniel, Daniel 9:2, learns that the exile is to be seventy years, Jeremiah 25:12-13. It is from Isaiah, Isaiah 44:28-45:1, that we learn the name Cyrus who would be the one who would send the people of Israel back into the land. Persia (aka the Medes) is the empire that takes over after Babylon eventually defeating all of Babylon’s territory and more. Cyrus writes a decree to allow the people of Judah to return to the land and rebuild the temple. See 2 Chronicles 36:21-22; Ezra 1:1; Jeremiah 25:12-13; Daniel 9:2.
- When reading the prophets: Try to understand God’s attitudes toward sin. Very often if we pay attention to the sins of the people of Israel, God will reveal some of our own granting us the opportunity to repent and grow. Also pay attention to God’s promises of restoration as they often point forward to fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Find hope in God’s sovereignty and His promises.
- Proposed outline:
- Introduction (1:1–19) The historical setting, call, promised protection of Jeremiah.
- Israel’s Covenantal Adultery (2:1–6:30) Israel has been an unfaithful spouse that can and should repent. Judgment is coming, they will not repent, so God has rejected them.
- False Religion and an Idolatrous People (7:1–10:25) Judah is relying on having the temple, but rejecting God’s law, and living deceitfully. Their idolatry will lead to exile.
- Jeremiah’s Struggles with God and Judah (11:1–20:18) Surprised by opposition, Jeremiah feels betrayed by God, but has his faith restored. He faces constant opposition and suffering, even questioning his calling.
- Jeremiah’s Confrontations (21:1–29:32) Jeremiah opposes kings, false prophets, the people and false belief.
- Restoration for Judah and Israel (30:1–33:26) God will restore the nation, make a new covenant, and bring them back to the promised land. He will also keep the Davidic covenant.
- God Judges Judah (34:1–45:5) A contrast of God’s faithfulness and Judah’s unfaithfulness as they reject God’s word. Jerusalem’s last days are marked with futile rebellion against Babylon and God.
- God’s Judgment on the Nations (46:1–51:64) Egypt, Philistia, Moab, Babylon, and others will all get their turn.
- Conclusion: The Fall of Jerusalem (52:1–34) Zedekiah is blinded after seeing his family killed, and taken into captivity in Babylon. The temple is destroyed. The people are exiled. But the line of David continues, Jeremiah 52:31-34.
2 Corinthians: We’ll have a full recap next week.