Habakkuk 1–3

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 209


Most of what is known about Habakkuk comes from his writings. Habakkuk was a contemporary of Jeremiah and Lehi and probably lived in Jerusalem (see “The Kings and the Prophets of Israel and Judah,” p. 232 in this manual). He prophesied sometime before the first deportation of the Jews to Babylon in about 597 B.C. (see Habakkuk 1:6; see also Bible Dictionary, “Habakkuk,” p. 697).

The book of Habakkuk is unique. Most prophetic books contain a warning message from the Lord to His children, but this book is a record of Habakkuk’s own discussion with the Lord. As you study this record, look for Habakkuk’s two concerns (see Habakkuk 1:2–4 and 1:12–2:1) and the answers he received (see Habakkuk 1:5–11 and 2:2–20). Note also the beautiful psalm of praise with which Habakkuk closes his book (see Habakkuk 3).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

Habakkuk 1–3. Even though we may struggle to understand all of His ways, the Lord has promised to make His mysteries known to those who diligently seek Him. (25–35 minutes)

Ask students:

  • Where would you go for help if you didn’t know what a word meant?

  • Where would you go if you were sick?

  • Where would you go to get understanding about why the wicked sometimes prosper while the righteous suffer?

  • Is it appropriate to ask the Lord questions?

Have students read Genesis 25:22; Exodus 3:11; Job 3:11; and Doctrine and Covenants 121:1–3 and look for what these scriptures have in common. Discuss what the prophets and others have done when they faced difficult trials and needed help and understanding from the Lord. Read and discuss James 1:5.

Tell students that Habakkuk lived when most of the people of Judah were evil. Have them read Habakkuk 1:1–4. Ask:

  • What question did Habakkuk ask the Lord?

  • Why does it sometimes seem that the wicked go unpunished and even prosper while they make life difficult for those who are trying to be righteous?

Read Habakkuk 1:5–11 with your students and discuss the Lord’s response to Habakkuk’s question (see the commentary for Habakkuk 1:2–4 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi, p. 227). Ask:

  • Will any of the wicked escape punishment? (see also 3 Nephi 27:11; D&C 121:7–22).

  • How might the Lord’s answer help those who have the same question today?

The Lord’s answer raised another question in Habakkuk’s mind. Have students read Habakkuk 1:12–17 and look for Habakkuk’s second question. Use the commentaries for Habakkuk 1:5–17 and 2 in Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings–Malachi (pp. 227–28) to help you discuss the following questions with your students:

  • Why does the Lord sometimes allow the wicked to afflict the righteous? (see also D&C 122).

  • Why does He expect His people to keep His covenants and commandments more than those who have not received as much truth? (see also Luke 12:47–48; D&C 82:3).

Ask students how they feel knowing that the Lord answered Habakkuk’s questions. Encourage them to turn to the Lord and to the words of the living prophets as they search for answers to their own questions.

When we receive answers or blessings from the Lord we should express gratitude to Him. Read Doctrine and Covenants 59:7, 21 and ask students what the Lord desires of those He blesses. Read Habakkuk 3:17–19 and ask how those verses are an expression of gratitude. Encourage students to express their gratitude to God when He blesses them or when He gives them understanding. Assure them that He is in control of His creations, even though we do not understand all of His ways.