Summary: Exposition of Habakkuk 2:1-4 and related verses
Text: Habakkuk 2:1-5, Title: The Just Live By Faith, Date/Place: LSCC, 8/20/06, PM
A. Opening illustration: Gordon Dykes walking and jumping around the pulpit
B. Background to passage: After Habakkuk’s second response of disbelief and affirmation of trust, God speaks again about the things to come in the form of a vision that He asks Habakkuk to write down. In the vision He promises to bring to pass judgment against the wicked Babylonians that He is about to raise up to judge Israel. And in the first couple of lines, He gives one of the most quoted OT texts in the NT, “the just shall live by faith.” Since this is such an important theme in the bible, I want to linger over it here in our text and in the three other places that it is found in the NT.
C. Main thought: We, the righteous, should live by faith.
A. Trust in Hard Times--Habakkuk 2:4
1. In our text tonight, God has told Habakkuk to write down a vision that would surely come to pass. After telling the prophet that He was raising up the Babylonians to discipline Israel, they would be punished themselves. That God would not allow their wickedness to go unpunished. But God also says that all things have their appointed times and seasons. And the point of this text for Habakkuk and the faithful ones in Israel is that during the meanwhile they will have to live by faith that God is large and in charge, because it is going to look like the Babylonian gods are running the show.
2. Ps 46:1-2, Ps 37:3-5, 40:4, 125:1, Pro 3:5-6, Phil 4:6-7, 2 Cor 4:8-9, Matt 6:31-32, 1 Pet 5:7,
3. Illustration: quote from NIV App Comm bottom of p. 236, Flight instructor to the student that he had just scared to death very calmly said, “There is no position you can get this airplane into that I cannot get you out of. If you want to learn to fly, go up there and do it again.” At that moment God seemed to be saying to me, “Remember this. As you serve Me, there is no situation you can get yourself into that I cannot get you out of. If you trust me, you will be all right.” That lesson has been proven true in my ministry many times over the years.
4. What this means to us is that during seasons of our lives that are extremely difficult, we must remain confident that God is working out all things to our good and His glory. They may not make sense to us, but we know that they are best. So what does that look like? We refuse to worry and fret about things which we cannot control, because we know who is, and we know His character. We work toward contentedness. We constantly affirm our trust in Him, and live like we really do trust. Do not allow emotions to run your life. Rest firm in a solid foundation—Christ!
B. Perseverance and Patience--Hebrews 10:38
1. The writer here has given an admonition about apostasy, warning the Hebrew Christians that true believers will be faithful to the end and not turn from the faith. Then he encourages them to be patient in the waiting on the return of Christ. There were some that had begun to doubt Christ’s return and defect from the faith. So he quotes Habakkuk, and reminds them to live by faith and not by sight. Therefore, don’t shrink back from the faith, but wait patiently on the return and vindication of the Lord.
2. James 5:7-8, Rom 8:25, 1 Thess 2:19, 2 Pet 3:4,
3. Illustration: Some of the greatest missionaries of history devotedly spread the seed of God’s Word and yet had to wait long periods before seeing the fruit of their efforts. William Carey, for example, labored 7 years before the first Hindu convert was brought to Christ in Burma, and Adoniram Judson toiled 7 years before his faithful preaching was rewarded. In western Africa, it was 14 years before one convert was received into the Christian church. In New Zealand, it took 9 years; and in Tahiti, it was 16 years before the first harvest of souls began. Thomas a Kempis described that kind of patience in these words: “He deserves not the name of patient who is only willing to suffer as much as he thinks proper, and for whom he pleases. The truly patient man asks (nothing) from whom he suffers, (whether) his superior, his equal, or his inferior…But from whomever, or how much, or how often wrong is done to him, he accepts it all as from the hand of God, and counts it gain!”
4. The point for us is to endure with patience the trials of our faith that are more precious than gold, rejoicing in them in Christ, and counting them all joy. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces maturity in the faith. Also that we must believe in an immanent return of Christ. And we must live as though we believed in an immanent return. Live with no regrets, taking opportunities that you have to advance the kingdom while it is still daylight. Look forward to the coming of Christ to bring the age to its culmination.