Summary: This message deals with Habakkuk’s prayer and how we can look to God to strengthen our faith in difficult times.
"HABAKKUK’S POWERFUL PRAYER" Habakkuk 3
INTRO – Life is full of questions, isn’t it? Some questions are unimportant. Others have life-changing, life-altering implications. And then there are those questions that sound relatively unimportant, but definitely have life-changing implications. Like when your wife asks you, “Does this dress make me look fat?” Sounds innocent enough, but definitely has some life-altering implications and consequences!
The Old Testament prophet Habakkuk had some questions that he was struggling with as he lived and ministered some 600 years before Christ. Let me give you a little b’ground on this contemporary of Nahum, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah. He was one of the minor prophets – minor only b/c of length of book. Minor prophets include 12 books from Hosea to Malachi. Major prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
Babylonian King Neb. had defeated Egypt and was about to attack Judah, which is something that Jeremiah had said would happen. Hab’s basic questions stemmed from his confusion as to why God would allow a wicked nation like Babylon to conquer His people. Hab knew that the nation of Judah was in a state of rapid deterioration with corrupt, wicked leaders who would not enforce laws and would ignore them. Knew that God could not ignore the sins of these leaders. But he was really struggling with the fact that God was going to allow the godless Babylonians to conquer the Jews to chasten and discipline His people. This just didn’t seem right to Hab.
Hab’s name means “to embrace” or “to wrestle.” In his short book, he does both. He wrestles w/ God concerning the problem of how a holy God could use a wicked nation like Babylon to chasten the people of Judah; and then by faith, he embraces God and clings to His promises. Hab also wrestles with the spiritual decline of the nation and why God wasn’t doing something about it.
I’m sure there are folks here today who’ve wrestled with God. I’m sure there have been times when circumstances of life have caused questions to arise in your heart that have gone unanswered, times when your faith has been shaken and it seemed that God just wasn’t coming through. Hab’s powerful prayer in chapter 3 will help us when we find ourselves in times of uncertainty and insecurity. There is nothing wrong with having the questions. There is nothing sinful about having a faith that is shaken or wavering a bit. We just need to make sure that, like Hab., we turn to the Lord and trust Him for the answers, no matter what shape or form those answers take.
As we look at Hab. 3, we find 4 faith-building expressions that will encourage and strengthen us today:
I. A STATEMENT OF STRENGTH – v. 2a
A. When our faith is being shaken by things we don’t understand, we need to go back and remember some of those foundational things about our God that we do understand.
i. May not understand why evil people prosper.
ii. May not understand why godly people suffer.
iii. May not understand why our prayers seem to go unanswered.
B. Those are the times when we need to quickly get back to the basics and remember who God is; remember what He has done for us; remember what He has promised to us.
C. Hab. had heard of the “fame” of God.
i. He had heard of God’s deeds, God’s power, God’s strength.
ii. One reason why it is so important that we share our testimony of God’s work in our lives. It encourages others. Helps them in their times of struggle.
iii. Hab. had heard of God’s fame.
1. Ps. 44:1-3 – “We have heard w/ our ears, O God; our fathers have told us what you did in their days, in days long ago. With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our fathers; you crushed the peoples and made our fathers flourish. It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”
D. Hab. stood in awe of the deeds of the Lord.
E. We need to remember all that God has done in the past. Need to remember His deeds. Need to be awestruck once again! Need to make our own statement of His strength and power and work in our lives.
i. How long has it been since you took the time to ponder and meditate on the fame and awesome deeds of God?
1. In your life?
2. In your family’s life?
3. In creation?
4. In this church?
II. A REQUEST FOR REVIVAL – v. 2b
A. Hab’s meditation on the fame and awesome deeds of the Lord led him to make a heartfelt, passionate request of his Lord – “Do those deeds in our day, Lord.”