TEXT: Habakkuk 3
TITLE: Will I get through this?
SERIES: Questions we Ask God!
OCCASION: Burnside Christian Church, September 21, 2008
PROP.: A lot of times when we go through difficult times or we are going through the valley, we wonder to ourselves: Will I get through this? Our problem can seem big!
INTRODUCTION: Good morning! Today we conclude our series on Questions We Ask God. There have been 2 other tough questions that we have posed to God.
#1. The first question in this series has been: Where Are You God?
#2. The second question in this series has been: God, Are You Really Fair?
Today’s question is: God, Will I Get Through This?
The thing that separates us as people, is not if I’m going to suffer. Everyone suffers! God appoints different times of suffering for different people at different seasons. The thing that separates us as God’s people is HOW you handle it!
So how are you supposed to handle it? I’m going to tell you. Habakkuk chapter three, he moves from questions to answers!
Just a quick rundown of where we’ve been so you will know where we’re going.
God has told Habakkuk that the Babylonian army is going to come and get the nation of Israel back on track.
Habakkuk isn’t so sure he likes God’s plans. He isn’t too sure that God is fair or loving because if that were true, how could God allow His people to suffer?
God assures Habakkuk that what He says will happen WILL happen and that it will serve a purpose…HIS purpose!
So now Habakkuk knowing that suffering is going to come…he is now wondering, “Will I Get Through This?”
T.S.: So Habakkuk goes from confusion, to confidence! Let’s read out text to see what he did to get through this difficult season in his life…
Vs. 1: “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet…”
I. Habakkuk had a time of prayer (vs. 1 - 3)
And your saying, “But man, prayer is hard. I’m really good at worshipping. I have the serving thing down. Giving is not a problem. Coming to church - piece of cake. It’s the prayer thing I have difficulty with. Do you have any suggestions for me?”
Our text does! Let’s read verse 2
2 LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
A. Reverence for God’s work! (vs. 2)
“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds!”
How did Habakkuk hear of God’s fame? The same way you hear of God’s fame:
1. General revelation
God revealing Himself to everyone! God’s creation is the perfect example of how God works.
Design shouts designer!
ILLUSTRATION: You come home to a beautifully prepared meal, it doesn’t even cross your mind to think that this came from an explosion. Or that this meal was 12 billion years in the making! That the cow evolved into a steak and then cooked itself.
Think about the complexity of the UNIVERSE! Ok? So we learn about God through all we see!
Second way we learn about God is…
2. Through the Written Word.
God’s written a book, and we are pretty animated about this book! If someone were to say something in direct contradiction to this book, you’d see a pretty noticeable reaction! Why? Because this is God’s word! This is how He has chosen (in part) to reveal his character and plans to us! So that brings us together!
The third way we learn about God is…
3. Through other people
Who see and experience God. So we share these stories!
You put all three things together, and you get the FAME of God!
So what does Habakkuk do after he hears the report of God‘s fame? The NIV says, “I stand in awe!” The NASB says, “I fear!”
To better understand this feeling Habakkuk is having, he describes what is going on in verse 16:
“I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.”
I like how one preacher has defined FEAR.
FEAR IS THE ATTITUDE OF HEART THAT SEEKS A RIGHT RELATIONSHIP TO THE FEAR SOURCE.
ILLUSTRATION: Man with a gun…you’re going to seek to get a right relationship with the person holding a gun!
What we are learning from Habakkuk is a renewed reverence for God! As long as prayer is just rushing in and babbling some words to the man upstairs; our prayers are not going to very consequential.
But when we have a renewed sense of God’s work; your prayers are going to be sensitive. Reverent. Humble.
Your prayer life will take off!
So what else does Habakkuk pray about? Let’s read the second half of verse 2...
Vs. 2 “I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. RENEW THEM IN OUR DAY!”
Then pray for…
B. Renewal for God’s works! (verse. 2)
That’s what Habakkuk prays.
--Deeds Habakkuk has heard of:
What are some of the deeds Habakkuk has heard of in his day?
The red Sea!
“God I heard about the Moses plague thing and how you rescued God’s people by dividing the Red Sea and causing them to walk through on dry land.
For real! Marching seven days and music…and walls crashing down!
I heard all about that, God!
And the boat…and two by two…and water…and gone….and one little family.
And Habakkuk is like, I’ve heard of all this stuff you’ve done…and I believe it! And the obvious cry of the child of God
--What are some works YOU have heard of?!?
And the Lord added to their number DAILY those who were saved…
DO IT IN OUR DAY, GOD! I don’t want to be just a hearer of the things you’ve done, I want to be the guy who experiences Your works!
Isn’t that a great thing to pray? He’s praying for revival!
I have heard of your fame, and I stand in awe of your deeds! RENEW THEM! Make them known again!
This is something that needs to be part of our prayer life! Begin to pray about the purposes of God!
Now we’ve got a prayer time going. REVERENCE FOR GOD’S WORD, RENEWAL OF GOD’S WORK…you give that 10 or 15 minutes, let me tell you: Your burden just got a lot smaller!
Well now we are going to pray about you! But not the way you think! Look at the end of verse 2
“in wrath remember mercy.”
C. PRAY FOR RELIEF FROM GOD’S WRATH
Habakkuk knows (and I hope you know it too) that the God we serve is a God of infinite holiness and perfect justice. And to say that God is offended and repulsed by sin is an understatement of universal proportions!
So Habakkuk says, “I know what I deserve.”
Hebrews 12: See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. Our God is
Loved ones, the question we are asking is WILL I GET THROUGH THIS? And you will! With prayer! Pray these three things and you will get through it! You’ll get on top of it!
The second thing you need to do when you are faced with something ugly in your life, is
II. A time of pondering (vs. 3 - 15)
To stop! To concentrate and marvel at what God has done and is doing!
This is something that is NEEDED! And it gets lost in our culture.
The Biblical term is: CONSIDER!
ILLUSTRATION: How many moments of silence do we have in our service? Moments where no one is speaking. We have one at the beginning of our service. We have a moment of ‘pondering’ after the communion meditation. Do you know what you are to be doing during times such as those? Man…take advantage of it! It’s not a time of awkward silence, it is a structured time for you to PONDER the works of God!
So in verses 3 - 15, Habakkuk stops and ponders and considers the works of God!
Habakkuk ponders the…
A. Person of God (vs. 3,4)
“God came from Teman the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.”
The person of God is
1. Revealed by the stars and planets (heavens).
If you want to see something of the person of God, go camping! Sit around a campfire at night and look up into the heavens! You will see God’s glory revealed in the billions of stars!
ILLUSTRATION: I’m so excited! Next Sunday, you are going to learn more about God’s glory revealed through the universe! You will have a better appreciation and love for God…and you’ll get a little glimpse of just how big God is! We have a sermon on DVD by Louie Giglio that we are going to watch next Sunday. I pray that you will consider inviting a special friend or neighbor to join us next Sunday. You won’t be sorry!
The Person of God is…
2. Revealed by creation!
Not only can you look into the heavens to get a glimpse of God’s person…
But verse 3 says: “His praise filled the earth!”
God’s person is evident through His creation! Romans 1:20 says that God’s nature (God’s person) has been clearly seen being understood from what has been made.
The person of God also..
3. Resembles light.
Vs. 4 continues by saying: “His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.”
Habakkuk describes God as light! It’s interesting how the Bible in many other places describes God! 1st Tim 6:16 - “God lives in un-approachable light“ 1st John 1:5. “God is light!“
Not surprising that God’s word is consistent!
What the light is referring to is the power of God’s glory! God’s glory is a powerful thing! Remember when Saul was on the road to Damascus to persecute more Christ followers and Jesus showed up…and what happened to Paul? He was blinded! The Glory of God is too much for us to even look at! There are other accounts of humans being faced with God’s glory…
--Moses in the cleft of the rock as God passes by
--Transfiguration of Christ…God’s glory being revealed once again.
--Genesis 19 Sodom and Gomorrah - The angels blinding the men at the door!
B. GOD’S POWER (vs. 5,6)
Vs. 5 & 6 “Plague went before Him; pestilence followed his steps. He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble.”
--God has the power to impact mankind in a HUGE way!
--God stood and shook the earth. This describes God’s absolute control over this world! He can hold it in His hand and shake it! Mix it up. Do with it as he wants!
His LOOK caused the nations to tremble.
--Have you ever gotten a look that made you tremble? When God’s face is upon you, it gives you goose-bumps.
“The ancient mountains crumbled, and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal.”
--God will outlast the mountains! He will be here a while!
C. God’s Attitude (vs. 8 - 10)
vs. 8 - 10 “Were you angry with the rivers, O Lord? Was your wrath against the streams? Did you rage against the sea when you rode with your horses and your victorious chariots? You uncovered your bow, you called for many arrows. You split the earth with rivers; the mountains saw you and writhed. Torrents of water swept by; the deep roared and lifted its waves on high..”
These three verses describe God’s anger. And God’s anger is NOT against creation. His anger is with the earth’s inhabitants!
D. God’s action (11 - 15)
We won’t read these 6 verses, but what you need to know is that God is a God of action! He doesn’t just sit by and do nothing. He is VERY much involved!
And if you’re going through a tough time, you need to ponder how God moves. How God works.
ILLUSTRATION: What is a practical way you and I can PONDER GOD? A time where we can STOP and CONSIDER. Have you considered a time of fasting! The act of fasting is so that you can better ponder and consider God! By fasting, you are denying one thing (usually food) so that you can spend that time focusing on God! You are removing something that is distracting you so that you may STOP AND CONSIDER!
So Habakkuk so far has a time of prayer…and a time of pondering. THAT’S HOW HE IS GOING TO GET THROUGH THIS TOUGH TIME IN HIS LIFE. But he also has a third thing…
III. A Time of Praise! (vs. 17 - 19)
A. a decision to rejoice in the Lord (vs. 17 & 18)
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,”
Habakkuk has just listed everything that could go wrong in his life. And even though these things are awful and not any fun to experience…did you notice his response?
Vs. 18 “yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior”
--Let’s break this phrase down…shall we?
--WILL! It’s a choice whether you will rejoice!
--notice also it’s a personal choice! Habakkuk says “I”. I’m not sure if my mom or dad is going to rejoice in the Lord…I’m not sure if my spouse is going to rejoice in the Lord…but I’M going to rejoice! No matter how difficult life will be, I will rejoice!
Every believer at some point will be faced with this choice in life. Are you going to rejoice? How hot will the furnace get and you will still say: ‘no matter WHAT..I’m going to rejoice?” For Shadrach, Meshach and abednigo the furnace got turned up 7 times hotter than normal! And they still were faithful to God! For Paul and Silas, they were thrown in jail and still were singing! What about your life? Are you in it pretty bad right now? Are you still able to make the choice to rejoice?
B. A decision to rely on God’s strength! (vs. 19)
Vs. 19 “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
1. The comparison of a deer.
What is Habakkuk talking about “Feet like a deer”? When we think of deer, we think of fast! We think of lightning bolt! BOOM! Gone!
But in this context, as you read the last part of verse 19, you understand what Habakkuk is referring to when he says he has the feet of deer: “He enables me to go on the heights.” Deer are sure-footed. You don’t see a deer tripping too often. And so what Habakkuk is saying, is this: GOD WILL SEE ME THROUGH! HE WILL ENABLE ME TO CLIMB ON TOP OF THIS THING IN MY LIFE THAT IS THREATENING TO BURY ME! GOD IS MY STRENGTH!
Notice this: a time of praise ALWAYS follows a time of pondering and prayer! You can’t help but praise God after you’ve experienced a time of talking with God and a right perspective about God!
CONCLUSION: WILL YOU GET THROUGH THIS? Answer: Yes you will…
With God’s help!
I want to end with Isaiah 40:30,31
“30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. “
Even young people will grow tired and weary of the struggles in life. Even those who are in the midst of trial and are wondering: WILL I GET THROUGH THIS?
But THOSE WHO PUT THEIR HOPE IN THE LORD WILL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH! YOU WILL SOAR…YOU WILL GET ON TOP OF THIS TIME IN YOUR LIFE… PRAY…PONDER…PRAISE!
We come now to our time of decision. If you have a decision that desperately needs to be made I want to encourage you to make that decision at this time. The decision to fast from something.