July 29, 2018 – Habakkuk 2
Lesson Date: July 29, 2018
Focal Scripture Passage: Habakkuk 2:1-20
AIM: To lead students to recognize that God will surely punish the wicked in His way and in His time, and to confess their personal sins and express their trust in the Lord to work out His perfect plan in His perfect time.
Before class: Read the notes on Habakkuk 2 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the following two questions on the marker board or chalkboard:
“Why do the wicked prosper?”
“When will they be punished for their sins?”
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the two questions written on the board. Read the first question and ask them for responses. Allow a couple of minutes for discussion of that question. Read the second question and ask for their responses. Again, allow a couple of minutes for discussion of that question.
Remind the students that these were questions that were on Habakkuk’s mind. Remind them that Habakkuk received his message from God about 600 b.c., less than 20 years before the ultimate downfall of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. At the time he wrote his nation was very sinful.
Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 1:2-4. Ask: “What did Habakkuk ask God?” (How long will you let sin and lawlessness go unchecked in my country?). Ask: “Do you remember what God said He was going to do about the sinfulness of Judah?” (send the evil and cruel Chaldeans to conquer Judah, destroy Jerusalem, kill many Jews, and take the survivors away as captives).
Ask: “Was that the answer Habakkuk wanted or expected?” (no). Remind the students that Habakkuk wondered how God could use an evil nation to punish his chosen people. He said God should judge and punish the Chaldeans, not the Jews. That’s where today’s lesson picks up.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that this summer we are studying five of the Minor Prophets found near the end of the Old Testament.
- 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.
- Ask: “Have you prayed for our nation this week?”
- Habakkuk Waited and God Answered.
- Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 2:1.
- Ask: “What did Habakkuk say he would do?” (watch to see what God would say).
- Ask: “Why do you think he expected to be reproved?” (he knew his attitudes and complaints expressed in Habakkuk 1:12-17 were wrong).
- Tell the class Habakkuk didn’t have to wait long for God to answer.
- Read Habakkuk 2:2-4.
- Ask: “What did God tell Habakkuk to do in verse 2?” (write what He would say so plainly that anyone could read it).
- Tell the students Habakkuk obeyed this command and wrote the words we are reading.
- Explain that in verse 3 God said the vision He revealed to Habakkuk was for a specific time. It may seem sometimes that God is slow to act, but what He says will always come to pass in His perfect time.
- Tell the students that in verse 4 “his soul which is lifted up” refers to the proud and wicked Chaldeans, whom God would one day judge.
- Ask: “What does verse 4 say about proud people?” (they are not right with God).
- Ask: “What does it say about just, righteous people?” (they live by faith).
- Explain that those who are just are people who trust God by faith and live by faith. Proud and arrogant people (such as the Chaldeans) are not right with God, but those who place their faith in Jesus Christ are.
- Summarize: Habakkuk submissively waited for God to answer. The Lord told Habakkuk that the only way to be right with Him is through faith.
- Woe to the Wicked.
- Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 2:5.
- Tell the students the remainder of this chapter contains pronouncements of condemnation upon the wicked.
- Explain that verse 5 is a summation of the actions of unrighteous persons: they sin with wine, they are proud, they are not fully committed to their family relationships, and their sinful desires cannot be satisfied. This leads them into progressively worse sins.
- Tell the class in verses 6-20 God issued five woes (warnings) to sinners.
- Read Habakkuk 2:6-8 – Woe to those who steal.
- Explain that in verse 6 the words thick clay refer to exacting heavy tribute and taxes from one’s victims.
- Ask: “What will happen to these people?” (they will suddenly fall victim to the same fate).
- Tell the students verse 8 says those who steal will themselves be plundered by others.
- Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 2:9-11 – Woe to those who seek evil (dishonest) gain.
- Explain that these verses are speaking of those who covetously and illegally seek great riches for themselves and their family.
- Such greedy, covetous people seek gain at any price, regardless of who they hurt.
- Verse 11 says the very stones and beams of a house gained through greed will testify against the covetousness of its owner.
- Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 2:12-14 – Woe to those who build their wealth and power through sinful deeds.
- Ask: “Who are these verses directed toward?” (those who accumulate wealth and power though sin).
- Ask: “Who does this in our modern world?” (entertainers, unethical athletes, and politicians).
- Ask: “What will happen to such people?” (all they gain will go up in smoke and vanish into thin air).
- Ask: “What promise do we find in verse 14?” (one day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord).
- Read Habakkuk 2:15-17 – Woe to those who entice others to drunkenness and immorality.
- Ask: “What do the people described in these verses do?” (lure people to drunkenness, which always leads to immorality and shame).
- Ask: “Who does this in our modern world?” (the liquor industry, the entertainment industry, social media, and many private individuals).
- Tell the class that verse 17 promises that the wicked Chaldeans will themselves fall victim to violence, oppression, fear, and bloodshed.
- Ask a volunteer to read Habakkuk 2:18-19 – Woe to those who trust dumb idols.
- Ask: “Who are these verses directed toward?” (those who trust dead, impotent idols).
- Explain that such idols are made by man and then worshiped by man.
- Ask: “In what ways do we see idolatry in our modern world?” (modern people worship pleasure, technology, and themselves).
- Tell the students modern people spend great amounts of time and money seeking pleasure, have far more interest in their smartphones than their Bibles, and are so focused on self that the clothing, makeup, hair, and fitness industries are thriving.
- Read Habakkuk 2:20.
- Ask: “What is different about the Lord, in contrast to idols?” (He is alive, He is Holy, He is in His holy temple, and He deserves the respect and reverence of the whole world).
- Summarize: God warns sinners that judgment is surely coming. It may not come soon, but it will certainly come (Numbers 32:23 – “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out”).
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct everyone’s attention again to the two questions written on the board. Tell the students that sinful people prosper today because this world is under the influence of the evil one, Satan. The Bible says everyone on earth is a sinner, so unless an individual’s heart is yielded to the Lord Jesus Christ he or she will naturally follow his or her fleshly, sinful desires. The world promotes sin at every opportunity through entertainment, athletics, and social media. Most people become so accustomed to sin that nothing seems wrong anymore.
Direct the class’ attention to the Sin – Judgment – Repentance – Renewal banner. Tell them that sin always brings judgment. In Habakkuk’s time the sins of Judah brought God’s judgment at the hands of the Chaldeans. God would use the Chaldeans to judge Judah, but one day the Chaldeans would have to pay for their sins, too.
Tell the class that sin always brings judgment. In today’s lesson the Lord issued five specific warnings (woes) to five different types of sinners:
- Woe to those who steal.
- Woe to those who seek evil (dishonest) gain.
- Woe to those who build their wealth and power through sinful deeds.
- Woe to those who entice others to drunkenness and immorality.
- Woe to those who trust dumb idols.
Ask: “Do you see yourself in any of those sins? Remember, Jesus said sinful desires or thoughts are just as evil as committing a sinful act (Matt. 5:27-28).”
Ask: “Has God brought to your mind any sins you need to confess?” Read 1 John 1:9. Tell the students they can and should confess their sins right now. Urge them to do so when you pray.
Ask: “Are you impatient with God and want Him to do what you want right now?” Read Proverbs 3:5-6. Tell the students God has a plan and will carry out His plan right on time. Urge them to personally express their trust in the Lord when you pray.
Lead a closing prayer, allowing a moment or two for the students to privately talk to God.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize Habakkuk 2:14. Tell them to keep their sins confessed and to trust the Lord in all of life’s circumstances.
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