Summary: Pentecost 20(C) - The righteous will live by his faith in a wicked world. The righteous will live by faith by God’s patience.

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October 18, 2009 --


Habakkuk 1:1-3; 2:2-4

INTRO: There can be a very fine line between patience and frustration. Today’s words of Scripture examine the fine line between patience and frustration. Like Habakkuk believers ask, “How long, O Lord?” Believers may ask first with patience waiting for the Lord’s answer. At times that patience turns into frustration. Man is not as patient as the Lord. We are not the first generation to ask such a question. "How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?" (PSALM 13:1). A simple solution to that question “how long” is in the last verse of today’s text, “the righteous will live by his faith”. The Lord provides his answer, strength, and encouragement to the righteous – by faith.


I. In a wicked world.

II. By God’s patience.


A. Habakkuk is a short book. Ch. 1 Habakkuk pleads. Ch. 2 the Lord answers. (Ch. 3 Habakkuk prays)

1. Verse 1:1. “The oracle” is sometimes translated vision or revelation. God inspires his word.

2. The Hebrew word implies a burden is given to Habakkuk. The prophet has a difficult task.

B. Verse 1:2. Habakkuk cries out to the Lord. He wonders if the Lord really sees or even cares at all.

1. Habakkuk lived during the time of kings. Most of Israel’s kings were wicked and ungodly.

2. Verse 1:3a. Habakkuk is frustrated that the Lord has let things go on from bad to worse.

C. Verses 1:3b. Habakkuk sees and even experiences the violence that is prevalent in his day and age.

1. One king, Manasseh, sacrificed innocent children to false gods. Habakkuk was frustrated.

2. How long? When would the Lord take notice and stop mankind’s wickedness and evil?

D. How could anyone sacrifice children to false gods? Today the times are just as evil if not worse. The believer cries out to the Lord, “How long?” Our nation is guilty of sacrificing millions of children to the false god of convenience. Unwanted or inconvenient pregnancies are sinfully ended with abortion. Abortion has become a birth control convenience. Although we do not have one name for our false gods they are still very alive and well today. Some names could include convenience and selfishness. "But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous…." (2 TIMOTHY 3:1-3a). We see ourselves in this list more often than we would like. This list goes on a few more verses. Such are the hearts of mankind.

E. “How long, O Lord?” This is the question believers cry out in every generation. It starts out as a patient plea with a loving Lord. Later this question may become a refrain of frustration for God’s seem-ing lack of speed in carrying out his judgment. As the world speedily races toward the day of God’s judgment believers might even feel overwhelmed. "The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net" (MICAH 7:2). In selfishness everyone only seeks out his own interest. It seems as if no one righteous is left.

F. In this wicked, wicked world it is all the more important for the righteous to live by faith. One may wonder why the world seems to be more and more evil than ever before. The Lord does remind each of us that the world will indeed grow more evil as the Last Day approaches. All around today are miracles and wonders of God. Mankind thinks himself as the greatest. God is rejected. Man’s hearts are hard-ened. "O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent" (JEREMIAH 5:3). The Lord clearly reveals himself daily. Man turns away from God and to himself.

“THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE BY HIS FAITH” in this wicked, wicked world.


A. “How long” Habakkuk asks in chapter 1. In chapter 2 we study the Lord’s answer, verse 2:2.

1. The Lord provides a simple answer. The words of the Lord’s reply are important.

2. Write the words down. Keep them simple. Send them to the people with the messenger.

B. Verse 2:3. The word of the Lord, his “revelation” comes at the Lord’s appointed time.

1. The end of the time of the wicked kings will come to an end. Babylon would defeat Israel.

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