Evidently Habakkuk was a professional prophet, perhaps the type that the kings consulted before going into battle, because the book identifies him as a prophet without giving a clear time for his vision. It is obvious that he received visions, though, because the things that he saw terrified him!
This first two chapters are written in a question and answer format. Habakkuk asks God questions and God replies. Chapter 1 contains Question 1, Answer 1, and Question 2. Answer 2 is in chapter 2.
Does God issue any commands?
- In regard to Habakkuk's first question about how long He would allow wickedness, God told Habakkuk to keep watching because he would soon receive the answer to his question, but he would not like it!
Does God make any promises?
- In order to punish the wicked and to put a stop to it among God's people He would send the Chaldeans through the land as conquerors. But even while being used of God to punish His wicked people the Chaldeans themselves would offend God by attributing their success to their idol.
Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
- Habakkuk said that God cannot look upon evil. This is why the Father turned His back on the Son when Jesus was bearing our sins on the cross. ("My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?")
- Habakkuk wanted to know why God allowed the wicked to devour those more righteous than themselves. This happened also to Jesus. The Righteous One was taken by wicked men and killed.
Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
- It tells of God's plan for future judgment. Right now wickedness is all around and the righteous ask, "How long?" The answer is that one day God will put an end to wickedness and will bring judgment upon the earth just as He sent judgment upon the Jews in Habakkuk's time.