What would we do if our prayers for justice, our prayers that God’s will be done in our nation, were answered with a vision of desolation, devastation, of utter destruction?
When Habakkuk prayed for salvation, a prayer for justice in the midst of chaos, violence, and suffering, this was God’s answer—the coming of the vicious armies of Babylon. God’s answer contradicted everything Habakkuk thought he knew; yet in the end, he praised God and trusted him for this horrid salvation.
What do we do when God’s actions or words contradict our understanding, contradict what we have believed? The book of Habakkuk answers this question in the face of the Bablyonian invasion of Judah. Habakkuk is a book of discipleship, a book written to bring its reader to a deep faith in Yahweh in the presence of his unthinkable deeds.
Using study questions addressing the text, theology, and application of Habakkuk and explanatory comments on difficult themes, Believe the Unbelievable seeks to realize this purpose for the contemporary reader.
Believe the Unbelievable is based on the author’s translation of Habakkuk. This translation is printed in the study guide and can also be viewed and downloaded here. A series of posts explaining the translation of key verses in Habakkuk can be found here and a series of articles explaining why personal translation is at times necessary can be found here.
Since the publication of Believe the Unbelievable, J. Alexander Rutherford has also published a commentary on the book of Habakkuk.
My good friend, James Rutherford, has given the church a gift. He has taken his love for God’s Word and focused it on an Old Testament book that most Christians know very little about. The result is a study in Habakkuk that brings together deep insight and real relevance. Habakkuk is a voice among the biblical chorus that believers need to hear today. Thank you, James, for helping us to hear it clearly and faithfully.
– Fred Eaton, Pastor, Christ City Church, Kitsilano
James Rutherford is a capable and creative thinker, well equipped to tackle tough projects, such as the book of Habakkuk. In this study guide, Rutherford has produced a very useful resource for individual or group study. He combines theological acumen and well-honed linguistic and literary skills to discover and then to present, in highly understandable fashion, the riches of this not so “minor” Minor Prophet.
– V. Philips Long, Professor of Old Testament, Regent College