Summary: A correct view of God enables us to face the New Year with confidence
FACING THE NEW YEAR WITH A FRESH VISION OF GOD
Sermon Objective: Facing the New Year with a Fresh Vision of God is aimed at helping God’s people face the New Year and its challenges courageously knowing that God is in control.
Introduction: Happy New Year! Will the year 2003 be a happy year? Some people hope it will be. They’re hoping it will not be as bad and tough as the previous year. Some hope they will not face similar crisis that they did the previous year. But with the prospect of war in Iraq, the continuous threat of terror attacks; the economic downturn; locally the possibility of a levy being imposed upon Foreign Domestic Helpers, and Article 23 – it looks like the year 2003 will be as challenging, if not more, than the previous year.
What do you do? Someone said, they wish to just go home, bury their head on a pillow and pretend the world and problems do not exist. Others expect it and hope they’ll survive. Some run. Some hide.
God’s people should face life and its challenges differently. We should not go into hiding. Neither should we get overwhelmed by these challenges. The prophet Habakkuk tells us how to face the new year.
Face the New Year with a Fresh Vision of God (Habakkuk 1:1-2:1)
Habakkuk, just like many of us, struggled with God’s seeming silence, inactivity and indifference. The prophet questioned God for inactivity in the midst of lawlessness and injustice. “How could you?”
God’s answered him by saying that He has been doing something all along. His seeming silence did not mean inactivity. The fact is God has been into something – raising up the Babylonians.
We learn from Habakkuk’s encounter with God about God’s sovereignty. He is in control of the world. He is not indifferent to injustice and to abuses. He has set a day of reckoning.
Face the New Year with a Commitment to Trust God (2:2-20)
God’s answer caused Habakkuk to further question God. How could you do that? God said, “Why not?” I could. “No” the prophet must have protested, you will not!” God said, “Sorry Hubby, I just did!”
Habakkuk 2:20 describes God as being in control.
“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.”
He is the Sovereign creator who directs world’s and man’s affairs. He rules from his holy temple absolutely. It’s time to be silent before God. It’s time to trust the LORD.
God was saying, “leave the world to me. Let me run the world. Stop trying to run it for me.” Instead you are to:
Wait for what is to come. Wait for the promise. Your hope lies in the coming of the promise. So what is the promise? The writer of Hebrews helps us understand what to wait for? In Hebrews 10:35-39
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a little while,
“He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
This passage tells us that the object of our waiting is not a thing, not a what, but a person, a whom. We wait for God. God’s presence, His revelation is our source of strength in times of trouble. To know that He is with you is the key to life.
Habakkuk’s tells us further that such waiting for God is not to be done passively, but to wait in faith, or to wait faithfully. The righteous person will remain faithful to God. While waiting he continues to be faithful to his covenant with God.
Face the New Year with a Commitment to Joyfully Express your trust in a Great God
Habakkuk 3:1-2 shows what kind of prayer we could pray. Pray for Great Renewal of God’s fame and God’s work.
Habakkuk 3:3-15 declares God’s deliverances. He saves his people.
Habakkuk 3:16 teaches us how to face our worst fear with great faith in God.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 contains one of the most amazing expressions of faith.
“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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.’