Here is Boadt’s commentary on Habakkuk….
Habakkuk lived shortly after Nahum and describes a time when Babylon was taking over the Near East from the fallen Assyrians. Habakkuk 1:6-11 describes Babylon as the scourge of God causing terror everywhere. God declares that the Babylonians will be his instruments of punishment: “For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if I told it” (Hb 1:5). But Habakkuk also complains how the wicked continue to persecute those who seek justice and how idolatry abounds (Hb 2:6-11). Who are these wicked? Perhaps the people of Judah themselves, fallen back into evil after the death of Josiah. But also they are the Babylonians. God may use them, but that doesn’t mean Habakkuk thought of them as saints. God’s plan must be carried out, but he will punish the evil and the idolatry of the Babylonians just as much as that of his own people (see Hb 1:11; 2:5).
Chapter 3 is a hymn in honor of Yahweh as the divine warrior. It describes the Lord’s march across the earth to do battle against his enemies, assisted by his allies of storm, pestilence and plague (Hb 3:4-5). The poet is terrified at the vision and yet ends with a deep trust that the coming of the Lord will bring salvation and rejoicing (Hb 3:16-18). Habakkuk thus shares many elements with Nahum. His oracles are very close to the style of psalms of trust and lament, and may also reflect the role of the prophet in liturgy. In a ceremony of prayer or sacrifice to God in a time of some great danger, the prophet was inspired by God to deliver an oracle that both condemned evil and asked for trust in Yahweh’s saving power. But the heart of his message, found in Habakkuk 2:1-5, is purely prophetic. Habakkuk climbs his watchtower to wait for a word from the Lord. God sends the word that is to be declared clearly and plainly to all even if it is very slow in coming about: the righteous who believe will live, the wicked will not succeed.
Zephaniah, Nahum and Habakkuk represent a resurgence of trust in the mighty power of Yahweh to turn the tide of world tyrants. To make their point, they have returned to the ancient language of God as a divine warrior. Filled with the reforming zeal of Josiah and Deuteronomy, they declare that fidelity to Yahweh will be more lasting than any empire. There is not much evidence that many listened to their words, especially those in the high offices of the royal palace. Judah continued to trust more in powerful nations than in a quiet attempt to build a just society.
Habakkuk begins by saying, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?” (Hb 1:2) Is there something you have been asking the Lord to do for you or for someone else and does it seem the Lord is not responding? Perhaps the Lord uses such times of seeming silence to build our faith muscles more than any other time. As the devil Screwtape says to his nephew Wormwood, “Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” That is our challenge as followers of the Lord.