July 22, 2018 – Habakkuk 1
Lesson Date: July 22, 2018
Focal Scripture Passage: Habakkuk 1:1-17
AIM: To lead students to discover the shocking answer Habakkuk received to his prayer, and to encourage them to confess their personal sins and ask God to help them have a positive impact on our sinful world.
Before class: Read the Introduction to Habakkuk and the notes on Habakkuk 1 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the words “Wonder,” “Amazement,” and “Disbelief” on the marker board or chalkboard.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the words “Wonder,” “Amazement,” and “Disbelief” written on the board. Ask: “What do those words mean? How would you define them?” (they denote surprise, astonishment, and awe at something that is very hard to believe or comprehend). Ask: “Can you think of any things or experiences that have caused you to be shocked, amazed, surprised, awestruck, or overcome with wonder or disbelief?” Allow a few minutes for the students to respond.
Tell the class we might experience wonder, awe, and amazement at the birth of baby, or the majesty and immensity of the universe, or the marvel of the intricate workings of the human body, or the incredible amount of life that exists on a microscopic level. We might be awestruck by the holiness, mercy, and forgiveness of God, or the blessings He has bestowed upon us.
Direct the students’ attention again to the word “Wonder.” Tell them in addition to the definitions already mentioned, that word can mean that we have questions about something – we are curious and wonder why something has taken place.
Ask: “Would you describe our world as being holy, godly, and pure or unholy, sinful, and wicked?” (it is definitely unholy, sinful, and wicked). Ask: “Are you ever amazed at the amount and openness of evil in our world?” (yes). Ask: “Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t do something about the sinfulness of the world in which we live?” (they probably have). Tell the students those are the same kind of questions the prophet Habakkuk had.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Review and Introduction to Habakkuk.
- Remind the students that we are studying five of the Old Testament Minor Prophets. We studied Obadiah the first week of the quarter, then we spent five weeks in the little book of Micah. Last week’s lesson in our quarterly was from the book of Nahum.
- Direct the class’ attention to the Sin – Judgment – Repentance – Renewal
- Remind them that throughout this quarter we have seen that sin brings God’s judgment, but genuine repentance brings renewal and blessings.
- Tell the students today’s lesson is from the Old Testament book of Habakkuk.
- Briefly introduce the book of Habakkuk using the following outline:
- Read Habakkuk 1:1.
- Most prophets identified themselves by their ancestry or the time in which they wrote, but Habakkuk simply referred to himself as a prophet.
- A burden is a heavy, weighty, or grievous message.
- We will study the book of Habakkuk for three weeks.
- Habakkuk’s Question.
- Read Habakkuk 1:2.
- Ask: “What did Habakkuk ask God?” (How long must I cry out to you and you will not hear?).
- Ask: “Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever cried out to God but felt like He wasn’t listening?” (probably we all have felt that way at some time).
- Ask: “What was he crying out to God about?” (the violence he saw in his land).
- Tell the class we can easily identify with Habakkuk. Every time we hear of another school or workplace shooting and learn of brutal and deadly crimes, we are amazed at the evil in men’s hearts. We pray that God will do something to put a stop to violence.
- Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 1:3-4.
- Ask: “What did Habakkuk ask God in verse 3?” (Why must I see all the evil, violence, and hatred in the world).
- Ask: “Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever wondered why the evil of the world seems to be pushed in your face?” (they probably have).
- Ask: “What was Habakkuk amazed about in verse 3?” (laws are not obeyed, wrong is glorified, and the wicked are unpunished).
- Ask: “Have you ever felt like that?” (certainly).
- Summarize: Habakkuk wondered why God allowed Judah’s sin to continue unchecked. He was amazed by how sinful his nation had become. Habakkuk’s main question was, “Why does God allow sin to go unchecked?”
- God’s Surprising Answer.
- Tell the class God answered Habakkuk’s questions in the next verses.
- Read Habakkuk 1:5.
- Ask: “Where did God tell Habakkuk to look?” (among the heathen; in other words, look to the foreign nations who do not know the Lord).
- Ask: “What did God say He was going to do?” (something Habakkuk could not believe).
- Direct the students’ attention again to the words written on the board. Tell them God was going to do something that would cause Habakkuk wonder, amazement, and disbelief.
- Read Habakkuk 1:6.
- Ask: “Who did God say He was going to raise up?” (the Chaldeans).
- Explain that The Chaldeans lived in southeastern Babylon, near the head of the Persian Gulf (locate Chaldea on the map). They were known to be very ruthless, violent, and cruel. The Chaldeans made up part of the Babylonian army.
- Ask the students to listen for descriptions of the evil Chaldeans as you read Habakkuk 1:6-11. They should name the following:
- They were bitter, hasty, and greedy – v. 6.
- They were terrible and dreadful and made up their own rules – v. 7.
- Their army was swift and powerful – v. 8.
- They were violent and would sweep through the land like the east wind – v. 9.
- They had no regard for Judah’s rulers or defenses – v. 10.
- They would give credit for their conquest to their false gods – v. 11.
- Remind the class that Habakkuk asked God why He didn’t do something about the sinfulness in Judah. God said He was going to send the Chaldeans to overthrow Judah.
- Ask: “How do you think Habakkuk felt about God’s answer to his question?” (he must have felt wonder, amazement, and disbelief).
- Tell the students Habakkuk wanted an answer, but God did not give him the answer he was expecting.
- Summarize: Much to Habakkuk’s surprise, God promised to curtail Judah’s sin by sending the wicked Chaldeans to destroy the nation.
- Habakkuk’s Amazement and Disbelief at God’s Answer.
- Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 1:12-13.
- Tell the students Habakkuk acknowledged God’s eternality and holiness.
- Ask: “What did Habakkuk say about his people in verse 12?” (surely we will not die).
- Ask: “What did he think about the Chaldeans?” (God would judge and correct them).
- Tell the class in verse 13 Habakkuk said God is too pure to look on the wickedness of the Chaldeans. In case the Lord didn’t realize (or had forgotten) just how evil the Chaldeans were, Habakkuk described their wickedness in the next verses.
- Read Habakkuk 1:14-15.
- Tell the students those verses describe how the wicked Chaldeans treated the people they conquered.
- Ask: “What did they do to those they conquered?” (they treated them like animals – like fish and creeping things; they rejoiced over their conquests).
- Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 1:16-17.
- Ask: “To whom did the Chaldeans give credit for their conquests?” (their nets and their weapons of war).
- Tell the students in verse 17 Habakkuk wondered if anything would stop the evil Chaldeans or if their conquests would continue.
- Summarize: Habakkuk wondered how God could possibly use sinners to punish His people. He was having trouble understanding God’s mysterious ways.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students that Habakkuk saw the sinfulness that was so prominent in his nation, so he talked to God about it. He asked God to do something about Judah’s widespread sin and he wondered why God was so slow to act.
Ask: “What did God say in response to Habakkuk’s prayers?” (He would send the wicked and cruel Chaldeans to conquer, kill, and destroy Judah). Ask: “Was this the answer Habakkuk expected?” (definitely not).
Ask: “Has God ever answered your prayer in a different way than you expected? Has He ever allowed something bad to invade your life that you later realized was a good thing?” Allow time for some responses.
Ask: “Do you ever feel like Habakkuk when you see the widespread sin in our modern world?” (yes). Ask: “What do you think we should do in the face of such evil and wickedness?” Allow time for some responses.
Read 2 Chronicles 7:14. Tell the students the first thing we as believers must do is confess our sins, turn from our wicked ways, and seek God’s face. We must keep ourselves right with God and bring our requests to Him.
Tell them there is one more important thing we can do: we can pray for lost people and share the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. The more people come to faith in Jesus Christ, the more righteousness and the less sinful behavior there will be in our world. The moral and spiritual climate of the world changes one heart at a time.
Encourage the students to confess their personal sins and ask God to help them have a positive impact on our sinful world. Lead a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to pray this week about the sinful climate of our world. Tell them to ask God to draw people to Himself so they can live godly lives. Encourage them to be ready to tell others about Jesus Christ.
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