Book Review: The Twelve by Parker Bradley (Habakkuk)
Welcome to our monthly book review for, The Twelve- A Transformational Journey Through The Minor Prophets, by Parker Bradley. Drawing from the insights of the Minor Prophets in the Bible, The Twelve, is an encouraging, but also challenging resource for followers of Jesus, and anyone wanting to honestly understand how God reveals Himself in Scripture.
If you haven’t heard the introduction episode, go ahead and do that - it only takes a few minutes and will explain what the plan is going forward. We covered the chapter on Nahum, last month, and are covering the chapter on Habakkuk, in this episode.
Parkley Bradley called this book’s study: The God Who Is Enough and calls the first chapter: When God Goes Silent:
The book of Habakkuk came at a time in my life when God has gone silent, once again- so this study has been close to my heart.
Bradley reflects on what we do as believers when life gets hard and God remains silent. He speaks of uncertainty and doubt, oppression, fearful thoughts - this runs parallel to the events around the account written in Habakkuk’s book.
God’s silence is powerful - what do we do in the midst of it? What did Habakkuk do? There can be waiting, prayer, loneliness, difficulty, a need for affirmation and confirmation - what did Habakkuk do?
Parker reflects on Habakkuk’s bold questions in Chapter One. They are certainly bold and painful to read. The book of Habakukk is only three chapters yet even when they are read over and over - there’s still so much to digest, understand and ponder on. I found Praker’s reflection helped with thoughts I was not able to voice because I was reading Habakukk alone - my reflection is different them, as opposed to when I am in a discussion with someone.
Parker makes many powerful reflection on what can happen in the midst of trouble, trials, tribulation. He speaks of shouting back at the negative thoughts. This is not what Habakkuk was doing in Chapter One - he put his focus on God. I am reminded of Psalms 46 - a beautiful, powerful Psalm that reminds us what needs to be done when trouble comes full force and trouble was certainly around Habakkuk in full force.
Parker discusses lamentation and honesty, as opposed to fretting and bitterness that can arise in times of tribulation. He references Psalm 13. I am also reminded of Psalm 27.
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet[b] I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire[c] in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”[e]
9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look[f] upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
Bradley discusses and reflects on how prophets like Habakukk have questioned God, not His character - there is a big difference, because they knew His character. His has an extensive chapter on that. In fact each chapter in his review is extensive.
There’s is a discussion on self-centered prayer in times of troubles and Bradley, as usual, reflects on how he can relate to this, and we listen reflect to on our lives and the prayers we have prayed selfishly.
At some point, Parker asks the following: When we asked hard questions of God, and He replies with hard answers - will we trust Him?
I really relate to the reflection on remembering what God has done - pressing pause on the present and remembering God’s goodness in the past. For me, Psalm 40 comes to mind when remembering what God has done and then some.
This whole chapter revolves around God’s faithfulness and our response of faith, in all seasons, with unanswered questions, with silence and when God speaks, irregardless of what He then says.
This is painful and yet beautiful soul searching reflection - just like Habakkuk is painful and yet beautiful to read and experience, because it speaks to us.
Bradley references a lot of scripture, Job 23:8-10, is another one, that speaks of being refined and emerging as gold.
Parkley gives a clear review that does not encourage light poetic thinking - that’s reserve for the sunny seasons and the superficial faith. Habakkuk is truly about true faith, in all season - not to be lightened or taken lightly. It’s something to aspire to - the faith of Jesus in the making.
Parley reflects on what faith is, who the righteous are and what that all looks like in practice - and this is not Parker’s words of wisdom, it’s a reflection of what is written in Habakukk.
My thought of “God have mercy” was reflected on, as it also appears in Habakkuk 3:2, “In wrath remember mercy” - an in-depth reflection that drew out what asking the Lord to have mercy can mean, when we have deep faith.
There is so much more, so I encourage you to listen to this chapter, which wraps everything up in our need for God through Christ.
There is a scene in a film called, Good Will Hunting, when a counsellor tells a young man that the abuse of his alcoholic father was not his fault and the young man answers, “I know” - too quickly. The counsellor repeats the statement and the young man answers again, “I know”. The counsellor continues to repeat the statement, until the overwhelming truth of what is being said dawns on the young man, then he truly hears and processes what is being said - then he reacts, very differently. This scene reminds me of the times we hear of our need of God through faith in Jesus Christ - the just shall live by faith. We can reply all too quickly, when that statement is made during hard seasons, because we have focus, to one degree or the other, on dealing with the pain. Habakkuk is that statement repeated over and over. Parker references Habakkuk 2:4 and Galatians 2:15:16, 3:11, to show that this statement has repeated itself through the prophets to the apostles to the ears of each believer in Jesus Christ - and each believer in Jesus Christ that reads this message must truly listen, then they will react accordingly, no matter the season. Amen.
Parker Bradley’s discussion on Habakkuk is extensive, encouraging and a wonderful attempt to reflect the depth of the message.
Thank you for reading this review. Until next time - peace be with you.
Book and thumbnail source: www.audible.com