Summary: Answer’s to our prayers are not always what we expect. What do we do when God speaks, but His answer is "Not Yet."
I. We have been looking these past weeks at listening to the voice of God.
A. The first week, we looked at what it takes to be prepared to hear from God.
B. In the second week, we looked at a few ways that God speaks to us.
1. The Bible,
3. Impressions, call them visions or dreams,
4. And sometimes even in our pain.
C. Last week we spend some time looking at the tests that we can apply to our thoughts, visions and dreams to help determine if they are truly from God.
D. This week, we look as some steps to put us in a place to hear the voice of God.
E. These words will help us to hear God
II. Our primary text this morning is found in Habakkuk, chapter 2, verses 1 and 2, but I want to begin by reading the first 2 verses from chapter one of this prophet because they will help us understand the context of Habakkuk’s plea.
III. 1:1The oracle which Habakkuk the prophet saw. 2 How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and Thou wilt not hear? I cry out to Thee, “Violence!” Yet Thou dost not save. Why dost Thou make me see iniquity. (Hab. 1:1-2) NASB
IV. There is not much in history, nor even in the writings of Habakkuk that explain who he was or what the exact circumstances were that caused him to write.
A. If we were to read the book in it’s entirety, what we would see is that Habakkuk had seen a lot of pain and he is beseeching God as to why He is allowing all this to continue, and why God is not answering.
1. Wickedness, violence, lawlessness, and unrighteousness are rampant.
2. In chapter one, verse 6, God answers Habakkuk saying that indeed He has raised up the Chaldeans and they are in fact running roughshod over everyone, with nothing and no one seemingly able to stop them.
B. In verse 13, Habakkuk says, “...Why do you look on those who deal treacherously, and hold Your tongue when the wicked devours one more righteous than he?”
C. We might say something along the lines of,
1. “God, how long will you allow Satan to rule?
2. How long will we call out for You to act, to speak, before you finally do that which you have promised to do?”
D. In fact, in three chapters, Habakkuk asks twice, “How long” and four times he asks “Why.”
V. Habakkuk one makes a case for God to speak, and then in chapter two, Habakkuk says, “And this is what I will do in order to hear from you.”
A. 2:1 I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved. 2 Then the Lord answered me and said, “Record the vision, and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. 3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay. (Hab. 2:1-3) NASB
VI. And low and behold, although we are not looking at is this morning, the rest of chapter two is God answering Habakuk’s prayer, which is exactly what we want to see happen when we approach God in prayer.
A. The reason I ask us to pay particular attention to these first verses is because they tell us what Habakkuk did in order to prepare himself to hear, when God spoke.
B. And the first thing he did was to prepare himself to “Withdrew” and prepared to wait for God’s reply.
C. In the same way, we need to withdraw from what is happening around us, and get alone with God.
I. The first part of verse one says - “I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart”
II. It is believed that Habakkuk was probably written sometime between 612 B.C., with the ascension of the Chaldean nation, and 605 B.C.
A. During that time, many cities had walls which were built around them for protection.
B. One commentator gave this description of a typical fortified city wall for a town called Mizpah. (Yadin, Art of Warfare)
1. The city had a wall 600 yards long, 4 yards thick and about 12 yards high surrounding the city.
2. It was built of stone with salients (sections that angled out) and recesses, and was further buttressed at it weak points.
3. The wall had a total of ten towers on it’s perimeter, with two additional towers at the gates.