August 5, 2018 – Habakkuk 3

Lesson Date: August 5, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: Habakkuk 3:1-19

AIM: To lead students to describe Habakkuk’s response to God’s awesome and unstoppable power, and to encourage them to worship and praise the Lord.

 

Before class: Read the notes on Habakkuk 3 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the word “Fear” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Fear” written on the board.

Ask: “Can you imagine being so afraid or shocked that your stomach started turning flips, your lips quivered uncontrollably, and your legs were so weak that you sank down to the floor?” Tell the students such feelings would either be the result of an acute medical problem or overwhelming fear and trauma.

Ask: “What would cause you tremendous, incapacitating fear – the kind of fear that would stop you in your tracks and make your body shake?” Allow time for responses. They might name frightening events such as encountering an armed intruder in their home, receiving a terminal diagnosis from a doctor, learning of the sudden death of a spouse or other close family member, or a national crisis such as the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Tell the students you hope they have never felt that way and never will, but today’s lesson is about a man who experienced those very feelings.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Tell the class this is our third and final lesson from the Old Testament book of Habakkuk.
    • Remind the class that in chapter 1 Habakkuk asked God why He didn’t do something about the sin and evil in Judah. God responded by promising to send the wicked and cruel Chaldean army to destroy Judah and kill many of its people.
    • In chapter 2, God pronounced “woes” or warnings of impending judgment upon five different types of sinners.
    • Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (Hab. 2:14).
    • Direct their attention to the Sin – Judgment – Repentance – Renewal Throughout this quarter we have seen that sin brings God’s judgment, but genuine repentance brings renewal and blessings.
  2. Habakkuk’s Fear.
    • Read Habakkuk 3:1.
    • Explain that Shigionoth is a musical term, provided so singers would know how to sing this song of praise.
    • Tell the students that chapter 3 is actually Habakkuk’s psalm or song of praise to God.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 3:2.
    • Ask: “Habakkuk said he had heard the Lord’s words; what had he heard God say?” (the things God said in chapters 1 and 2: He was going to judge Judah’s sin by sending the Chaldean army to destroy and kill; God pronounced doom upon five different types of sinners).
    • Ask: “How did Habakkuk react to the things he heard God say?” (he was afraid).
    • Ask: “What did Habakkuk ask of the Lord?” (even as you pour out your wrath upon us, please remember to be merciful).
    • Summarize: Habakkuk was frightened by God’s promise of judgment, so he begged God for mercy. We, too, should be fearful of the consequences of sin, so we should confess our sin and beg God to be merciful.
  3. God’s Amazing Power.
    • Tell the class in verses 3-15 Habakkuk praised God for His amazing, unmatched power.
    • Read Habakkuk 3:3.
    • Explain that Teman and Mount Paran were places the children of Israel passed through on their journey to the Promised Land. Habakkuk praised God that He was with them throughout that journey.
    • Ask: “What did Habakkuk call God in verse 3?” (the Holy One; Habakkuk praised God for His holiness).
    • Explain that the word Selah is a musical term, indicating a pause for contemplation.
    • Ask: “For what else did Habakkuk praise God in verse 3?” (His glory that covered the heavens and His praise that filled the earth).
    • Ask the students to listen for other things about God that deserve our praise, as verses 4-15 are read.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 3:4-5.
    • Ask them what they heard in those verses. They should name the following:
      • Verse 4a – God is bright as a light. This probably refers to His Shekinah glory (Ex. 40:34-38) that guided the children of Israel.
      • Verse 4b – God’s great power (horns represent power and strength, like that of a mighty horned animal).
      • Verse 5 – God sent pestilence (disease) and fire upon Israel’s enemies.
    • Read Habakkuk 3:6-9.
    • Ask the students what they heard in those verses. They should name the following:
      • Verse 6 – The Lord is so great that He can measure the earth, startle and shake the nations, and scatter the mountains. His ways are everlasting and unchanging.
      • Verse 7 – Cush and Midian were a long way away. God’s power is great and not limited by location or distance.
      • Verse 8 – Nothing can stop God’s awesome power. He parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River so the Israelites could pass through.
      • Verse 9 – Like an archer, God unsheathed His bow and gave the Israelites military victories over their enemies. He sovereignly decided to divide the earth with rivers.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 3:10-13.
    • Ask the class what they heard in those verses. They should name the following:
      • Verse 10 – The mountains and oceans praise God and tremble at His presence.
      • Verse 11 – The sun and moon obey God’s voice (see Josh. 10:12-14).
      • Verse 12 – God hates sin, so He pours out wrath upon sinners.
      • Verse 13 – God’s purpose is always “the salvation of thy people.” Jesus Christ is His Anointed One. Ultimately, the Lord will destroy the wicked one, Satan (Rev. 20:10).
    • Read Habakkuk 3:14-15.
    • Ask the students what they heard in those verses. They should name the following:
      • Verse 14 – God has power even over evil people: He caused the wicked Chaldeans to come and attack Judah.
      • Verse 15 – God has power to walk through (or even on) the waters. The “heap of great waters” reminds us of the way the water stood in heaps when He parted the Red Sea.
    • Summarize: The Lord has limitless power over the universe. He will accomplish His ultimate purpose – the salvation of His people – even when He must first use the wicked to oppress them. Habakkuk praised God’s awesome, limitless power, and so should we.
  4. Habakkuk’s Worship.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 3:16.
    • Ask: “How did Habakkuk react to God’s great power and His announcement that He was going to judge Judah?” (his belly trembled, his lips quivered, and his legs buckled under him; he was a quivering mess of fear).
    • Tell the class Habakkuk complained to and questioned God (chapter 1), but when he received God’s answer he was terrified. He contemplated God’s greatness, but still He was afraid. He and his people were facing terrible famine and destruction.
    • Read Habakkuk 3:17-19.
    • Ask: “What did Habakkuk say in verse 17?” (he knew terrible things were coming his way: famine, poverty, hunger, and destruction).
    • Ask: “In spite of this, what did he say in verse 18 that he would do?” (rejoice in the Lord, the God of his salvation).
    • Ask: “After facing his fears and determining to praise God, what does verse 19 indicate Habakkuk learned?” (the Lord God was his strength who would make his spiritual walk to be sure and swift; he was sure God would lead him upward to great spiritual heights).
    • Summarize: Habakkuk knew that God is great and was the only one in whom he could trust. He vowed to praise God in spite of his circumstances. We should do the same.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Briefly review the book of Habakkuk, using the following notes:

  • Habakkuk was troubled because of the sinfulness of his people.
  • The Lord revealed that He would send the cruel Chaldeans to conquer Judah, kill many of her residents, and carry the rest away to Babylon as captives.
  • In spite of this terribly disturbing news, Habakkuk chose to praise and rejoice in the Lord because he knew He was carrying out a plan to mercifully rescue His people from their sin and bring Salvation through the promised Messiah.
  • Through this experience Habakkuk realized that God had a bigger plan than what his finite human mind could comprehend.

Ask: “What can we learn from Habakkuk’s experience?” (when things don’t appear to be going according to our plans or expectations, we must still trust that God is working out His perfect design in our lives).

Ask a volunteer to look up and read Romans 8:28 to the class. Ask: “What does this verse tell us?” (if we love and trust the Lord, He is working all things for our ultimate good).

Ask the same volunteer to read Romans 8:35-39. Ask: “When you are fearful about the future or life’s problems, what comfort do these verses give you?” (the assurance that if we are God’s children we can NEVER slip out of His care or love).

Tell the class the Lord is good, He has all power, and He has a plan for our lives. He is more interested in our ultimate good than our present comfort. He may choose to take us through hard times, but even that will be for our ultimate good.

God is worthy of our worship regardless of our present circumstances.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask them to take a few moments to privately praise and worship the Lord. After a few moments, voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Habakkuk 3:19. Encourage them to praise God in the midst of whatever difficulties they might face this week. Tell them next Sunday we will begin a three-week study of the Old Testament book of Zephaniah.

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