Summary: How does Habakkuk face his fear and the reality of the prophesied Babylonian invasion? How can we face the reality of the things that make us fearful, and find the joy of the Lord?
“Faith & Joy in the face of fear.” Habakkuk 3:3-19. WBC 20/6/4am
H= 6CBC prophet
Troubled by God’s apparent inactivity in history… against injustice.
- what we would call ‘unanswered prayer’
HAB 1:2 How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
but you do not save?
HAB 1:3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
When God DOES answer- he doesn’t like it (sound familiar?!)
- His answer perplexes H, MORALLY. “what, you’re going to use THEM?!” 1:12b (the Babylonians 587BC)
- And then he is troubled by the NATURE of God’s answer
o God says to him 2:4 “yes, they ARE arrogant- but You must live by faith”
But, understandably- he’s still fearful. Yes- he has faith,…
- … but the awareness that an invasion is going to happen in his lifetime fills him with bone shattering fear, as well
HAB 3:16 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.
And the last chapter deals with faith and joy in the face of this fear and threat
Is it relevant for us to address this? (isn’t fear just a lack of faith?)
- oh yes!
- This is such common experience- among Christians- but also in the Bible, as well
- And in the Bible it is confronted and dealt with honestly
o David: is filled with fear as he hides in the cave of Adullam.. but he has faith that can kick a giant’s but as well
o Paul- bore up well under pressure but also states honestly
o 2CO 1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life
Listen. Strong faith is NOT having no fleshly weaknesses… never getting frightened
- even when that weakness manifests itself in intense anxiety
- (H would have had to be in psychotic reality denial not to be frightened of what he knew!)
It may be that there are real things that you face that are genuine causes for concern and anxiety.
- Jobs, marriage probs, children, singleness, direction for the future. Putting bread on the table (in other parts of the world)
Don’t go asking yourself ‘should I or should I not be anxious about this?’- the question to ask is ‘how can I DEAL with this… and find joy at this time’
- and H’s example shows us
Ch 3 is not the only confession of weakness and fear (and solution)
- earlier on he did fear… but also turned to God… and had victory
And in ch 3 and the whole book (a dark book with shafts of light)- fear doesn’t get the final say
- fear is mentioned… but it is surpassed by faith
- ch 3 particularly: he comes to a point of rejoicing!
HAB 3:17 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,
HAB 3:18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
- I will be joyful in God my Savior.
This can be our experience. However real the thing to be feared is
- our faith… and our Lord… are made for trials like this
The world responds to a threatening, fearful situation by:
“it’s going to happen, so I might as well accept it”. A kind of despondent yielding to kismet (fate).
- this is not the Christian response. It’s not H’s
“I don’t want to think about it” “don’t talk to me about it”
- “that makes me depressed”, “I can’t bear it”, “that’ll bring it on”
- (do some Xians have this attitude?? Denial?)
- THIS is not the Christian response. Nor is it H’s
- Besides: like a ball that you try and force down in a swimming pool- it pushes up from your unconscious mind (where we’ve shoved it)..
o And manifests in focussed anxiety or free floating anxiety (depending on how honest we’ve been)
- AND the problem still remains
- “"Blind faith closes its mind to thinking issues through. It’s not honest and it’s not Biblical."
“pull yourself together”. “I’ll get through!”
okay! Not too bad an attitude: but if you’re terrified and your knees are knocking , a pep-talk might not help!
- and the thing this misses out on is EVOKING GOD’S HELP!