Summary: Exposition of Habakkuk 1:1-17
Text: Habakkuk 1:1-17
Title: The Wicked Prospering
Date/Place: LSCC, 8/6/06, PM
A. Opening illustration: After the funeral of Soren the other night I was thinking about the “injustice” of men like him with a passion for God being taken so young, and how you have the people that Willard Scott puts on the Smucker’s jelly jar rarely ever avow faith or holiness…
B. Background to passage: Habakkuk began prophesying shortly before the fall of Jerusalem. He had seen the reforms of Josiah and the revival that followed, and now was witnessing a very corrupt, godless, government that was supposed to represent God. There was much political upheaval in the world at the time—Assyria was waning in power, the Babylonians were gaining, and Egypt was in the middle of it all. The courts were unjust, religion was a sham, government was corrupt, and it seemed that God was ignoring it all. All of these evil people were doing well when there was a good, just, and holy God on the throne of the universe not doing anything. So He respectfully submits a complaint or burden to God about the matter.
C. Main thought: We are all looking for an answer to the problem of unjust prosperity.
A. The Presentation of the Problem (v. 1-4)
1. Habakkuk was terribly discouraged about what he saw happening in Jerusalem. He was probably a temple priest/musician, and in the temple when he had this conversation(s) with God. And it seems as though he had been lifting this up before God for some time. Maybe days, weeks, or years, fasting, praying, and doing all necessary to move God to action. He lists about six concerns that lead to four results. These results sound much like America.
2. Psa 13:2, 37:7-9, 74:10, 94:3, Rev 6:10,
3. Illustration: a parenting book gave an illustration about how that some things are too heavy to understand for children, and how to explain that to them, like us and God, some things too heavy, Perhaps God keeps us ignorant because we are incapable of comprehending the answer .We remain ignorant of many details, not because God enjoys keeping us in the dark, but because we have not the faculties to absorb so much light Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse. –Philip Yancy, “I have seen many striking answers to prayer and more than one that I thought miraculous. But they usually come at the beginning before conversion, or soon after it. As the Christian life proceeds, they tend to be rarer. The refusals, too, are not only more frequent; they become more unmistakable, more emphatic.” –C. S. Lewis,
4. How often to we cry out to God for Him to act upon our nation and its wickedness? Honesty is a requirement for intimacy. Questioning is permissible in a respectful way. Remember that Habakkuk’s question was always founded on the character of God that He IS good all the time. And we are told to seek wisdom and bring our petitions unto Him. We are not always promised an answer, remember. In fact sometimes, we couldn’t understand the reason. Sometimes unanswered prayer is what God uses to really draw us close to Himself. We must also remember that by virtue of creation, God gave every man the freedom of the will to choose.
B. The Compounding of the Problem (v. 5-11)
1. God answers kinda. He never really tells Habakkuk why or how long. In fact, He simply makes the whole situation worse by telling that He is raising up a meaner and more godless people called the Babylonians to punish the Assyrians, the Egyptians, and the Israelites. He is like “WHAT! Are you crazy?!” This is one of those situations where you expect one answer and get something that you totally weren’t looking for.
2. Isa 55:9, Jer 29:11-14,
3. Illustration: this is like going to the mechanic because you think you have a problem with one part of the car, and we he calls, there are many more wonderful things broken on your car. In the 1975 World Series, in which NBC captured Carlton Fisk, jumping up and down, waving his arms, trying to coax his hit to stay fair. It did—for a home run. That colorful close-up would have been missed had the cameraman followed the ball with his camera, as was his responsibility. But the cameraman inside the Fenway Park scoreboard had one eye on a rat that was circling him. So instead of focusing the camera on the ball, he left it on Fisk.
4. We must remember that God sees things with a global and eternal perspective. Your life, even though very precious to God, is fairly insignificant in global history. We must remember to think in the big picture scheme of things. Bad things in life may be the seed to mighty works that God will do. And it is OK not to like God’s plan very much as long as we submit to it, and we trust Him to bring about the best results from it? We must be careful what we ask of God. This also testifies to the greatness of God, and His ability to do things that seem wrong and bring about his purposes. We can also see the loving caring hand of a Father in discipline of His children.