Summary: This message gives us an "Appropriate View of God"
Contrasting God and Man – Pt 1
* It’s the fall of the year. It’s a beautiful time. Many things show evidence of the season we are in; the weather has cooled off, vegetation is in a different status of growth or death, the colors of the leaves are changing, and much more can be seen. The other morning I had to drive Lakeshore, the many colors of the season can be seen in the trees, and the “contrast” to other times of the year is startling. Contrast; this is our word for the evening. Consider this topic with me for a bit.
* To keep this simple, let agree on a working definition for the evening. Here is the noun definition; “an obvious difference between two or more things.” (Cambridge dictionary). And now, the verb definition; “To compare 2 or more people in order to show the differences between them.” Contrast.
* Most of the time we think of contrasts in terms of color and not in terms of people. This may well be one of the great issues surrounding the 21st century American when it comes to the concept of who man is as well as who God is. Think about this, if we have reduced God to, “the man upstairs” or “the big guy” or something on this order, we have now taken the almighty and reduce him human status. Additionally, we can take mankind and elevate him to ‘god-like’ status. Either way, we have missed the Biblical and divine contrast between God and man.
* Before we read, please remember, this book opens with the pleading prayer of Habakkuk. In essence he says, “Lord, I see and know how bad this country is and I ask you this question, ‘how long until you do something?’” God responds, “I am putting together a plan which you will not believe. Look at the world’s events and see what I am doing.”
* Tonight we pick up in verse 12 with Habakkuk’s second prayer.
* Admittedly, I had a difficulty discerning God’s message to us from this prayer because I know that verse 2:1 is the big tamale.
* After studying and praying, the message for us is a message which we need to “get our hands and arms around” that we may understand, embrace, and hold to, no matter what comes our way. We’ll divide our thinking into 2 major slices.
1. An Appropriate view of God – Of all the things which would help us as individuals, as a church, as a community, and as a country is this concept. For the actions and reactions of people are directly related to their personal view of God. If our concept of God is like Santa Claus or the Easter bunny, then we only go to Him for those things we need and “want.” If our concept of God is like the little old grandfather who doles out only kind words, extends forgiveness every time without any expectations, or is someone to protect us no matter what we do, then we have little respect for Him and His desires for us. However, God is not like Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, or a little old grandfather and Habakkuk points out at least 6 attributes in his prayer.
a. His Preeminence – This word means “over and above, excellence, and to be first.” Habakkuk begins with this thought “from eternity” (KJV “everlasting”). He follows with the word in the HCBS “Yahweh” which is interesting, the Hebrew word is Elohim. Of course the prefix El means “God”, but it is worth understanding that Elohim is the name for God used in Genesis 1:1 to 2:4 and contains the idea of creative and governing power. He is preeminent because He was first; He was and is the creator of all that we know. When we get our hearts around this one truth, it changes our view of God. But there is more.