Posted on Leave a comment

Journey through Habakkuk

Four Theological Motifs in Habakkuk

The book of Habakkuk has several theological motifs that are important to understand. A motif is a concrete image, sensory quality, action, or object that purposefully recurs in a particular narrative. However, many scholars simply define a motif as a repeating “plot-element,” and so it can be either a concrete object—like “water” in the life of Moses, such as parting of the Red Sea or striking the rock and water comes out—or an abstraction like the “abandoned-hero motif,” also observed in Moses’ early life in Exodus 2 where he flees Egypt after killing the Egyptian task master without successfully freeing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery.

Motifs underscore central points and ideas of a textual unit. Tracking the development of biblical motifs can uncover nuances of biblical thought and help shed light on biblical figures. A motif makes its point subtly but no less poignantly than an outright statement of declarative narration.

Four theological motifs can be found in the book of Habakkuk. In these three chapters, one can find teachings about God, humanity, prayer, and salvation.

Habakkuk: Theological Motif 1 – God

The reader discovers God as a revealer of truth, that He is sovereign over human history, and that God’s splendor and glory is made known throughout the earth. As God reveals himself, the reader learns that God is faithful in all circumstances and therefore, even in the midst of terrible pain and suffering, one can have hope. Because God is the God of creation who governs the world and its people, the prophet voices his complaints concerning the injustice and violence that has turned his world upside down.

Thomas writes in Habakkuk: Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary [THOTC], “Interestingly, this presentation of God in the book is achieved largely through the prophet’s complaints. God’s nature as a life-giving and death-defeating Lord is assumed, not explained, and becomes the ground of Habakkuk’s hope. Because of this, Habakkuk presents knowledge of God as creator and covenant Lord through the interchange between the prophet and God.”[1]

Habakkuk: Theological Motif 2 – Humanity

The reader learns that human reasoning will never understand God’s ways. God tells the prophet Isaiah, “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (HSCB). In Habakkuk 1:5, God tells the prophet to look because he will be shocked and amazed at what God plans to do in Habakkuk’s lifetime – so amazed that he will not believe it even though God is forewarning him about His plans.

When God’s people have questions about their circumstances, they can approach Him, just as Habakkuk did, and ask for His revelation. Habakkuk is not the only person in the Bible that dares to question God. Moses, Jeremiah, and Job also wanted to know what God was doing. Like Job, Habakkuk had intense emotions as he screamed at God’s silence and dared to shout accusations at God as he tried to make sense of the injustice going on around him and how such injustice could occur under the sovereign rule of a just God.

While some might argue that Habakkuk’s questions demonstrate insolence before God, the reader will see a prophet who is searching for answers from the One who has them. Such prayers have the means to increase one’s faith when one is willing to bring all their emotions, doubts, and questions to God. Crying out to God in unfair circumstances does not demonstrate a lack of trust or faith in God. Rather it shows confidence that God does have the answers to our difficult problems.

Habakkuk: Theological Motif 3 – Prayer

Habakkuk helps his readers understand the importance of prayer. Just as Job turned to prayer in the midst of his suffering, so does the prophet Habakkuk. Thomas writes in Habakkuk: Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary [THOTC], “The dialogic call and response format of Habakkuk underscores a theology of prayer at work in the book.”[2] Habakkuk teaches that when one faces pain and suffering in life, prayer is both the first and best response for the people of God.

Habakkuk: Theological Motif 4 – Salvation

Lastly, we find the theological doctrine of justification by faith. The Apostle Paul quoted Habakkuk 2:4 twice (see Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11) to show that this doctrine existed within the Old Testament. Habakkuk teaches his readers that when one gives themselves over wholly and fully to God, it is never an empty quest because God is faithful to give life to those to surrender to Him.

Thomas writes in Faith Amid the Ruins: The Book of Habakkuk, “Habakkuk teaches what it means to live faithfully before God, even through tragic or confusing times. This book teaches that living faithfully before God is possible only because of the faithfulness of God.”[3] 

The people of God are capable of moving from trials to triumph and God will be faithful to defend His people when “the righteous will live by his faithfulness” (Habakkuk 2:4, HCSB). The Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook states, “Steadfast, persevering trust in God for deliverance has always been the hallmark of God’s people. The final verses of the book, a hymn of faith in the God who saves, includes the remarkable confession, ‘yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!’ (3:18).”[4]

Regardless of our circumstances, we too can make the same confession. It is in God that we will ultimately triumph. Therefore we can rejoice in the God fo our salvation in all circumstances.

[1] Thomas, Habakkuk, 38

[2] Ibid., 38-39

[3] Thomas, Faith Amid the Ruins, 9

[4] Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook, 278

One Year Bible Reading Plan: March 18

Download the full one-year Bible reading plan here:

[Download not found]

Deuteronomy 31-32

Luke 1:1-23

Praying, Meditating, and Journaling the Psalms:

Choose one of the following Psalms: Psalm 18, 49, 79, 109, or 139.

1: Read the psalm through in its entirety.

2: Take one verse at a time and pray the verse back to God as it applies to your life.

3: Meditate on the verse and ask the Holy Spirit what He is trying to teach you about God, your Christian walk, or about yourself.

4: Journal what you prayed about and the results of your meditation.

5: Move to the next verse. Continue through the entire psalm this way.

6: Write down one verse that stood out the most to you today on a 3X5 card and carry it with you throughout the day. Memorize the verse and hide it in your heart.

Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

Week 11: March 13-19

Visit our three retail experiences:

Bible study and Self Care Resources
Christian Tees, Bags, Mugs & More
We are an affiliate of CBD. We earn a commission on any purchase you make when you enter the store through this link. However, your CBD price is the same. Visit CBD for Bibles, Bible studies, gifts & more

We Recommend:

Clicking the link on our recommended resources will take you to Christianbook Distributors’ website.

NET, The TEXT Bible, Hardcover, Comfort Print
By Thomas Nelson

The NET The Text Bible is a new approach to engaging God’s Word, with the attention and in-depth nature of your favorite podcast, as if you’re in such a thought-provoking conversation with a friend that you lose all track of time because you are communicating on a level that piques your interest on multiple subjects and emotions.

With a four step Bible study approach: Talk to God; Encounter God and humanity; eXamine your heart; Talk to others, this Bible features study notes, questions and articles all designed to get you to dwell on the biblical stories; to let your heart and mind truly soak in the warmth of God’s wisdom and truth found in the Scriptures.

Focus on the Text:

  • Text-ing the Text: use the 4-step process of Scripture engagement
  • Big Q of the Text: big life questions with short answers
  • Praying the Text: learn how to start praying God’s Word right back to Him
  • Get to Know the Text: provides concise history of a major event or character
  • Follow the Thread: navigate the Bible across topics
  • Anatomy of the Text: describes parts of speech or important types of literature such as parables or apocalyptic books
  • Terms of the Text: what you need to understand about some of the unique words in the Bible
  • “Who is God?”: 100 short devotions on the person and character of God

More Features:

  • Book introductions
  • 8 full-color maps
  • Clear and readable 9-point NET Comfort Print
Spiritual Formation Is…: How to Grow in Jesus with Passion and Confidence – eBook
By Rod Dempsey & Dave Earley / B&H Academic

Rod Dempsey and Dave Early draw on years of experience as pastors, church planters, professors, and transformed believers to equip readers to grow in their spiritual walk with Christ.Spiritual Formation Is… challenges believers to grow upward, inward, and outward in their spiritual formation by loving God, loving one another, and loving our neighbors. Written in a down-to-earth, approachable style that invites readers to come as they are, Spiritual Formation Is… introduces the principles, philosophy, and practice of sanctification.

Wellspring Christian Ministries is a proud Affiliate of Christianbook Distributors.

Romans 8:37 – Kneels Before God

Romans 8:37 says, “No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.” Our victories come when we are on our knees praying.

True Story

Scatter Kindness

Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Kindness never goes out of style. Scatter some wherever you go.

Visit our YouTube Channels for Christian playlists and our short animated devotionals.

Animated Devotionals

Contemporary Christian Music Playlist

Southern Gospel Playlist

Just Hymns

God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars

by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars?

This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on
  • Conversation Starters
    • Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
    • Romance Builders
    • Relationship Builders
    • Personal reflections
    • Date ideas
    • Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples

Now in the WCM Store! Buy your copy today for only $24.95

paperback edition

Also available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobel. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

Westbow logo
Christian book logo
amazon logo
Barnes and Nobel logo
walmart logo

 Join the community of couples on Facebook who are committed to intentionally growing their marriage and learning how to have a marriage that honors God. Here you can post photos of the different activities as you do them, ask questions of other couples, share how God is using this book to strengthen your marriage, and grow with other Christian couples. We’ll see you in the community.

Bible Studies, Bibles, Books & More

Christianbook Distributors logo
Everything Christian for less!

Looking for a Bible Study, Bible, book or Christian gift? We are an affiliate with Christianbook Distributors and receive an 8% commission on any item purchased through one of our links. However, the commission never increases your cost of any item. View some of our favorite items by clicking on the logo and thank you for supporting our ministry.

Christianbook Distributors Search:

Wellspring Christian Ministries receives an 8% commission on any purchased made from Christian Book Distributors through any affiliate link on this site. Your price for any item is the same as purchasing from CBD directly.

See our other recent posts:

A non-profit ministry located in Jacksonville, FL 
Follow us on:

facebook logo link on Bible reading post
LinkedIn logo link on Bible reading post
Twitter logo link on Bible reading post
Instagram logo link on Bible reading post
YouTub logo link on Bible reading post
Pintrest logo link on Bible reading post

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.