Summary: When the future looks bleak, God asks us to trust Him.
There was once a monk who joined a very strict monastic order. In fact, they were so strict that the monks had to take a vow of silence which could only be broken every five years, and then only with two words. After his first five years, the monk went to see the abbot for his two-word interview. The abbot said, “My son, you have been with us for five years now; what two words would you like to say?”
The monk said, “Bed hard.”
“I see,” the abbot said. “You are excused.”
After five more years, the monk went in again to see the abbot. The abbot asked the monk, “So you have been with us ten years now. What two words would you like to say?”
The monk answered, “Food bad.”
“I see,” said the abbot. “You are excused.”
After five more years, fifteen in all, the man appeared before the abbot one more time. Again the abbot asked, “What two words would you like to say?”
The monk replied, “I quit.”
The abbot responded,” Well, I’m not surprised. All you’ve done since you got here is complain!”
• Habakkuk: “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (1:1). God: “I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe even in you were told” (1:5). The problem: IMPATIENCE. When God frustrates us, He asks us to trust Him.
• God: “I am raising up the Babylonians [to judge Judah]” (1:6). Habakkuk: “Are you sure? That doesn’t make sense!” The problem: CONFUSION. When God confuses us, He asks us to trust Him.
• Habakkuk: “I head and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (3:16). The problem: FEAR. But Habakkuk also says…
(1) “I will WAIT PATIENTLY” (3:16);
(2) “I will REJOICE” (3:18).
Habakkuk was learning to live by faith. “The righteous will live by his faith” (2:4).
The Big Idea: When the future looks bleak, He asks us to trust Him.
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crops fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls” (3:17). In Habakkuk’s world, life couldn’t get much worse than that.
The people of Israel had been warned many years earlier that this is what would happen if they turned from the Lord: “If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit” (Lev. 26:18-20).
What should I do when the future looks bleak?
1. ADMIT my fear.
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3).
Habakkuk was not some super saint who could handle whatever came his way (3:16).
Sometimes I think we’re guilty of pretending everything is alright when it really isn’t.
2. Focus on GOD.
“I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD” (3:2).
Amazing things happen when God is worshiped: (1) people change; (2) perspectives change.