Summary: Being a godly leader, Habakkuk saw problems which others could not see. The same is true for leaders today.
The Heart of a Godly Leader
* Take a minute and look around you at the people in this room. Even though we think we know almost every person in this room, there is a good possibility that the person sitting on the same row with you has experienced or is experiencing deep hurt, deep heartache, or carries a deep burden which you would have no idea and would never guess. At the same time, there is a good possibility that you carry a hurt, heartache, and/or burden which no one else would ever believe.
* My question for us tonight is this: What is it that evokes hurt, heartache and burden within you? Seriously consider that which troubles you most deeply. Last weekend, via DVD, Beth Moore began her loving well message to our ladies by revealing one of the reasons for the developing of a hard heart was the “love of one’s self”. Paul writes to Timothy that in the “last days” men will become “lovers of one’s self.” Does it take something personal to give you a hurt, a pain, or a burden? What if it’s happening to your country, community, culture, or even your church? What then?
* The USA is arguably the greatest country to ever exist on the face of this planet. While we are a great nation, to take a look around should cause the child of God (who sincerely look) pain. This country, founded on the ethics, principles, and beliefs of God’s word, is now abandoning these in lieu of a “feel good” mentality. This should be a burden for every believer. This type of thinking destroys countries and erodes cultures. If you look around at the condition of our nation, while at first, we may think it’s encouraging to know, it should be frightening that a similar situation is found in the Southern Kingdom of Judah during the time that Habakkuk wrote. Please turn with me to Habakkuk 1.
* The book of Habakkuk was written during a dark time in Judah’s history. Admittedly, there was a seemingly “superficial revival” going on, but truthfully the country was steeped in idolatry, immorality, violence, and debauchery. Of all the things which might have been going on in his personal life, the man of God saw the big picture and was hurting.
* The book of Habakkuk is one of the most unique of the prophets. The entire book is a conversation between the prophet and God. Let’s read.
* We are in the middle of a hotly contested Presidential race. One of the reasons this race is so hotly contested is because America needs some real and godly leadership. This is not only true on the national scene; it is true at the state level, the county and city level, as well as in the local church. Being a godly leader (over being a good leader) can be compared to being a statesman over being a politician. A politician makes decision which propagates his political career while a statesman makes his decision which propagates the country he serves and the people who depend on him.
* We don’t know much about the prophet Habakkuk but we can see his heart. He saw things which no one else seemed to see, He prayed prayers which no one else seemed to pray, and wanted more for his country to be a godly place like no one else even thought it could.
* These first four verses give us a look into the heart of Habakkuk. I will submit three attributes or qualities found in him which is needed today.
1. The Ache of a Godly Leader – We see his ache & hurt in verse 1.
a. The HCSB uses the word ‘burden.’ Other translations and paraphrases use words like “problem, divine revelation, and even message.” But the interesting thing is that this is the message that he ‘saw’, the problem God gave Him to ‘see’, and even the divine revelation that he ‘SAW’. The godly leader can actually see or visualize the problems plaguing their followers’ verses the secular leader seems to have difficulty discerning what the real problems are.
b. Please understand that addressing real problems is much more difficult than focusing on the peripheral issues. What national or local, the easy way out is to always focus on the “felt problems” instead of the real problem. The problems which most people WANT to talk about are only the symptoms of the root problems. In verses 1 through 4 we can read a laundry list of problems; Violence, injustice, wrongdoing, oppression, strife, and conflict in the nation. While this is a serious list of tough issues & we see that Habakkuk has a hurting heart to see how his people are being subjected to violence, injustice, and oppression, he knows that these listed troubles are only a symptom of a larger problem. A godly leader doesn’t only want to relieve the symptoms; he wants to affect a complete cure. He knows without a cure, it is only a temporary fix.