Summary: In the midst of trouble and fear, we rest in the fact that God is in his temple and the storyh is not yet complete.
Title: Where Is God When Life Goes Amok?
Text: Habakkuk 1:1-4 and 2:1-4
Thesis: In the midst of trouble and fear, we rest in the fact the God is in his temple and the story is not yet complete.
A cyclorama is a panoramic painting on the inside of a cylindrical platform, designed to provide a viewer standing in the middle of the cylinder with a 360° view of the painting. The intended effect is to make a viewer, surrounded by the panoramic image, feel as if they were standing in the midst of a historic event or famous place.
Panorama Mesdag is a panorama by Hendrik Willem Mesdag. It is on display in a special built museum in The Hague, the panorama is a cylindrical painting more than 45 feet high and about 130 feet in diameter and 390 feet in circumference. From an observation gallery in the centre of the room the cylindrical perspective creates the illusion that the viewer is on a high sand dune overlooking the sea, beaches and village of Scheveningen in the late 19th century. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panorama_Mesdag)
See if you can get the feel of it… imagine you are standing in the center of that cylindrical room as if you were standing on a sand dune with a panoramic overlook and are able to see a scene from a 360 degree perspective.
Project YouTube Clip Panorama Mesdag
People tend to be focused on what’s right in front of them, which would seem to be due to the physiological fact that we don’t have eyes in the back of our heads – unless you are a mother and then you do have eyes in the back of your head. It could also be due to the fact that history is not played out on a cyclorama so we can stand in one spot and observe the whole of it. Consequently, we are susceptible to becoming focused on only the one piece, one section, or one image at a time and failing to see, the big picture.
A panorama invites lingering and taking in the whole scope of a work of art so that the story becomes an all encompassing vision. God has a panoramic vision of how things are and how they will be. God sees the whole scope of things.
The fact that our vision is so “one-slided” or “single-scened” certainly skews our perspective and makes us wonder if God see what we see?
I. Does God see what we see?
How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, conflict abounds. Habakkuk 1:1-4
The book of Habakkuk is essentially a series of conversations between the Prophet Habakkuk and God.
In 1:1-4, Habakkuk complains to God.
In Habakkuk 1:5-11, God responds to Habakkuk’s complaint
In Habakkuk 1:12 – 2:1, we hear Habakkuk’s second complain
In Habakkuk 2:2-20, we hear God’s second response.
And in Habakkuk 3:1-19, we hear Habakkuk’s response which is a prayer of praise and humble submission to the will of God.
Our text begins with Habakkuk complaining to God, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help but you do not listen?”
So, what was the nature of Habakkuk’s complaint in verses 3?
• Injustice – “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?”
• Violence – “Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife and conflict abounds.”
His assessment of the ills of society in verse 4 is that the wicked people are prospering while the good people are suffering. And Habakkuk wonders why God allows this sort of thing to happen and when it does happen, why doesn’t God intervene and set things right?
One of the arenas where we are least tolerant of injustice is in sports. Matt Woodley tells of how he and his family sponsored a boy’s soccer team from Costa Rica. They turned out to be quite an elite team with advanced ball-handling and passing skills. They easily reached the finals of the soccer tournament. They were to play the American team for the championship.
From the onset it was apparent that the Costa Rican boys were the better team but the American boys were bigger and more physical players with a propensity for cheap shots and fouling. Unfortunately the officials were oblivious to every foul. They called nothing… and the upshot is that the Americans bullied the Costa Rican boys to a 2 – 1 final score and the championship.
Woodley said that he had to restrain himself from yelling at the inept officials… he said, “I just wanted them to notice the injustices and intervene like they are supposed to, and make a few calls. Instead they did not do their jobs and the game was not played fairly.”