Big ideas can certainly come in small packages. Just ask Habakkuk, eighth of the twelve minor prophets, and certifiable man of mystery.
The minor prophets, so named for the brevity of their books, tend to at least give a hometown, a tribe, even an occupation for their author—but not the Book of Habakkuk, a short-story-length diary that finds its hero struggling with God.
The Book of Habakkuk is divided into three parts. The first two—a discussion, and an “Oracle of Woe”—consist of a dialogue with God, in which Habakkuk, watching Chaldeans tear his city apart, accuses the Big Guy of ignoring the injustices befalling his people. “How long will I cry and you will not hear? I cry out to you “violence!” and you will not save,” Habakkuk intones. According to scholars, the reference to Chaldeans suggest the prophet lived in the 7th century B.C.E.
But in the end, God saves the day. The third chapter finds Habakkuk rejoicing in his faith, though conditions remain rough: “Though the fig tree doesn’t flourish, nor fruit be in the vines…yet I will rejoice in Yahweh. I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”