WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON? A SERIES FROM HABAKKUK
God, I Don’t Understand
A. Have you watched the news lately? It would seem that things are in terrible shape.
1. Our society is in terrible shape
a. Greedy mortgage companies have put our economy in a tail spin
b. Crooked company executives are skimming money and accepting high dollar bonuses, while at the same time tubing the company, tanking retirement accounts of their workers and absolving from any wrong doing.
c. Politicians committing all mannor of moral grievances while at the same time proclaiming their innocence
d. Gang wars, shootings, and violence
e. Homicides, thefts, muggings and rapes
f. To say nothing about abortions, homosexuality, and euthanasia, terrorism and war
g. Everywhere you look, every paper you read, every news broadcast you hear we are forced look upon violence, iniquity, spoiling, wrong doing and lack of justice!
2. And if that is not bad enough we look at the outward visible church
a. Priests and pastors committing acts of child molestation and being involved in pornography
b. Men and women leaving their spouses and children for others
c. Husbands who do violence to their homes: physically, and spiritually
d. Members who are more interested in the entertainment, sports and things of the world than God
e. Greed, selfishness, and individualism abound destroying the unity of the church and giving rise to factions, confusion, and apathy
f. Seemingly, everywhere you look: violence, iniquity, spoiling, wrong doing and lack of justice!
B. Does this sound familiar? It should, if you have read Habakkuk 1.
1. That was his lot in life – not much different from ours
2. And because the circumstances were not much different we could expect to hear the same questions – and we do.
3. Listen, O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. Hab 1:2-4
4. Narrowing it down to one sentence: God, I don’t understand!
C. Do you ever feel this way?
1. I know I do.
2. I bring this to our attention to show you how relevant God’s word is, in general, and Habakkuk specifically!
3. To really bring this to bare, I want to look at Habakkuk 1:2-11 and see:
a. The Situation
b. The Solution
c. And The Significance
4. May God grow our faith and endurance as we listen to His conversation with Habakkuk.
Lets begin by taking a look at
I. THE SITUATION – as we look at the situation it begins with
A. A Complaint - Habakkuk 1:2-3a O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?
1. As you can hear, Habakkuk lived in a time of moral and national decadence throughout Judah.
2. At one time it seemed as if Judah would move toward God as king Josiah came to power in 640BC – but that was short lived – when He died in battle against the Egyptians in 609, the reformation died with him.
3. The next four kings of Judah all did evil – the final three were in the time period of Habakkuk 609-589, a total of 20 years
4. No doubt a great portion of this time Habakkuk saw the wickedness of the people and prayed for God’s intervention
5. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?
6. God I don’t understand why You don’t answer my prayer! Ever feel this way?
B. What was the cause of Habakkuk’s consternation?
1. It is written for us in Hab 1:3b-4…for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
2. Habakkuk’s Complaints came because he saw so much injustice in Judah – in God’s people
3. Spoiling (someone taking, by force what is not theirs), violence (murder rape, etc), strife (quarreling, disputing, law suits) & contention (discord & brawling)
4. Because of all this, the law (God’s law – the Torah) was made of none effect and righteous judgment was nowhere to be found.
5. In other words, God’s people had become as the heathen, if not worse.
6. God I don’t understand why You don’t and won’t do something! Ever feel this way?
Before we deal with the questions, lets move on to
II. THE SOLUTION, Habakkuk 1:5-11 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.
A. The Solution begins with a Declaration by God - Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. Hab 1:5
1. “Take hold, Habakkuk, I’m about to tell you something that is going to rock you to your core” might be a good way to say it.
2. What could be so un-nerving so unbelievable? – God said I’m raising up the Chaldeans (the Babylonians) to judge my people!
3. Habakkuk are you ready for my answer?
B. And there is more, God goes on to provide a Description of what is coming
1. It’s a nasty group who will march through the land
2. There only guide – self interest (the HCSB translates v. 7 as …their views of justice and sovereignty stem from themselves.)
3. They are described by the use of three animals of pray: leopards, wolves and eagles: swift, vicious and haughty
4. They are come for one thing only violence and take captives as the sand
5. They laugh at kings and strongholds – nothing will stop them.
6. Back to the question: Habakkuk are you ready for my answer? – NO, I don’t understand, is his answer
This brings us to our final point,
III. THE SIGNIFICANCE TO US
A. Most of us can relate to Habakkuk’s situation
1. We have said, Lord I don’t understand
a. Maybe it is while we look at social injustice
b. Maybe its while we see judicial injustice
c. Or maybe it is when we perceive personal injustice
2. God I pray and I just don’t understand why you will not answer or are not answering.
3. God I don’t understand!
B. I believe we can find some answers in these first 11 verses of Habakkuk that will help us to understand, but we might not like what we hear.
1. First and foremost, God is sovereign.
a. Even when we cannot see God at work He is doing so
b. To the question: Why are you not answering my prayer – God said, I am, look to the horizon
c. Things are not always as they seem – God was raising the Babylonians to judge Judah for her sins, though Habakkuk could not see it.
d. Even when we cannot see God at work He is doing just that – on a global and grand scale.
e. Jesus told the Jews, "My Father is still working, and I am working also." Joh 5:17
f. This should be the ultimate comfort For God’s children.
2. Second, God’s ways are not our ways
a. Habakkuk was so focused on one answer he could not see any other.
b. How true this is for us, often when we pray for something, we have our own thoughts about how it should be done and can miss the answer totally because we were not looking in the right direction.
c. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa 55:8-9
d. And that is a good thing, because we really do not know what is best for us most of the time – open your eyes to God & watch for His answer
3. Third, God works according to His divine Plan – His timetable not ours
a. This is a hard thing for most of us
b. We are not a patient people
c. This is why we are told Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
4. Forth, God judges sin
a. He may tarry but He will judge
b. The judgment will be found in Christ (through salvation) or upon your own head in hell
c. But Peter tells us something that fits right in with our lesson: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long- suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
d. God had waited a long time on Judah’s behalf, but their time was up – how about yours?
5. Fifth, God is interested in our lives and is at work in our lives
a. God had heard the prayers of Habakkuk and He knew the agony he felt – he felt God was not hearing him or that God did not care – but that is not true
b. All is under God’s watchful eye and he does care for us
c. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
6. Finally, God’s working are set around His kingdom goals
a. Too often we are prone to think in terms of short term personal goals, rather then kingdom goals.
b. All of history: O.T, N.T., current events are only relevant in light of what God is doing in His kingdom.
c. We can know God is working in us to bring about eternal aspects of His kingdom – we must only look.
A. When it comes down to the nitty gritty, our life with Christ is to be a life of faith
1. In fact this is what Habakkuk wrote in Habakkuk 2:4 … the just shall live by his faith.
2. Our faith is to be in God: not ourselves or the world’s way of doing things.
B. Let me ask you a question, or two
1. Do you believe God is sovereign? Your answer to this one question will go a long way to making or breaking you as a faithful child of God
2. Do you believe What God’s words says? Our faith is not based on the practices of this world, but on the promises of God.
C. God I don’t understand.
1. That’s okay, we don’t need to understand everything – nor can we.
2. The final analysis of things, is not do I understand, but rather can I live by faith when I don’t understand?