Summary: The 3 prerequisites and 3 steps to help prepare us to seek and meet the Lord in our times of prayer.
Last week we talked about Recognising God’s Voice.
• Thoughts that come to us can originate from God, from ourselves or Satan.
• We are called to TEST the spirits in 1 John 4, to check these impressions and thoughts.
How do we do that? We went through 4 ways to test an impression:
1. Does it agree with the Bible?
2. Does it make me more like Christ?
3. Does my church family affirm it?
4. Do I sense God’s peace about it?
Today we want to end the series with this – how to receive guidance from God.
• We want to look at the experience of a prophet Habakkuk - 5th last book of the OT.
• This book is unique in that it has to do with the prophet conversation with God. Usually prophets proclaim God’s messages to the people, but this book record the prophet’s complain to God and God’s answer to him.
• You see the subtitles in your bible – Habakkuk’s complaint and the Lord’s answer; his 2nd complaint and God’s answer. Chapter 3 ends with his prayer of praise to God.
• He was upset at the violence and injustice he saw in his own nation Judah (Southern Kingdom). The Northern Kingdom, Israel has already been destroyed.
Read Hab 2:1-3
Learning from Habakkuk, there are 3 attitudes we can adopt, if we are serious about receiving guidance from God.
1. Believe God cares about you.
• Habakkuk is serious about waiting for God to answer. He believes and expects God to do so. He is going to station himself on top of the watchtower and wait.
• The Lord says to Jeremiah: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jer 33:3)
• Psalm 91:15 “He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him.”
If Jesus says in Matt 6:31-32, not to "worry about what you eat or drink or wear; Your heavenly Father knows you need these things" – it means God is concerned even to the point of what you eat, drink or wear.
• Most of the time we don’t seek Him because we felt some things are too small, too insignificant to bother God.
• I think He is far more interested in you and your situation than you think He is.
• So the first important attitude we must have is to believe that God is bother about your concerns, He cares about every little detail in your lives.
2. Ask God for specific request (question).
• Habakkuk has no qualms about asking God why. He is complaining to God, in fact. He wanted answer and He dared ask God for it.
• Most stopped short at this point. How can we get an answer if we do not ask? How would you learn if we do not ask in class, when in doubt?
• James 4:2 “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” Think for a moment, what are some things you did not ask God.
The Lord says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matt 7:7-8)
(1) There is man’s part and God’s part – man is to ask, seeks and knocks. God will respond. Jesus seems to emphasize it with verse 8. God wants to give, answer, open door. Our part is to ask, seek, and knock. This is the problem, man do not often do that.
(2) Ask means a heart of humility. Seek means a heart of desire (takes time & effort). Knock means a heart of waiting on God. Trust God.
3. Expect God to answer.
Habakkuk says, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.” (Hab 2:1)
• He is preparing himself to receive the answer. I do not know how long he waited. But the important thing is that God answered him. He always does.
We are called to expect an answer, not to expect a positive answer but to expect an answer. God don’t always say YES. God tells you His will and plan.
• James 1:5-8 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.