How Can I Trust God? (Habakkuk 3)

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Life can sometimes feel like a big snow globe that someone is relentlessly shaking (cf. Hab 3:6, 3:16). When, and not if, the shaking comes, what will the foundation beneath your feet?

Will your foundation be all that you know, relying on what you can see or resource?

Or

Will your foundation be what is far greater than what you can see, trusting in the God who shakes to be the God who saves?

For Habakkuk, he took his problems to prayer.

While we often seek resolution to our problems, God seeks our relationship in His presence. And when we spend time in God’s presence then we’ll have His perspective on our problems. Our challenge is that we settle for resolution without a relationship with God. Habakkuk sermon logo - Jan 2018

EXAMINE       Habakkuk 3                How Can I Trust God?

Habakkuk Review

–        Habakkuk 1: Wrestling with God from honest questions turning into a quest of faith and seeing God as able to handle our questions.

–        Habakkuk 2: Watching God’s ways and seeing He is everlasting (wise), LORD (loving), God (sovereign), Holy (fair & just), and Rock (refuge).

o   God was telling Habakkuk that judgment on evil is slow but not suspended. His wrathful woes may be in the future but when it comes it will be final. No one will escape God’s judgment, even the Christian understands their judgment is in faith of Christ’s expense paid on the cross.

–        Habakkuk 3: Worshiping God in faith, trust, and hope.

 

In trying times, we can trust God by asking for revival. 

–        H 3:1 “A prayer… according to Shigionoth[1]

o   Heard the report of you and your work

  • Habakkuk knows God’s ways can be trial for the righteous and terror to evil. Through the hints of trial and terror, Habakkuk has come to more closely know the Lord.
  • God’s trials are meant to teach us faith and tow us toward deeper fellowship with Him.

 

o   do I fear

  • Habakkuk response doesn’t start with God’s love or forgiveness but with his fear of God. The level of our fear of God reflects the level of our faith in God.
  • “It is impossible to be devoted to God if one’s heart is not filled with the fear of God. It is this profound sense of veneration and honor, reverence and awe that draws forth from our hearts the worship and adoration that characterizes true devotion to God. The reverent, godly Christian sees God first in His transcendent glory, majesty, and holiness before he sees Him in His love, mercy and grace.”[2]
  • Too often we view God to be either just an invisible version of ourselves bc we think too highly of self. But God is far superior without equal. Habakkuk learns God is holy and just.

o   In the midst of years, revive it

  • Revival is a gift from God and cannot be manufactured with lights or logistics, or scheduled on a calendar; But we can prepare for it.
  • Definitive revival is preceded by deep repentance. (Judges, David, Kings)
  • Definitive revival is marked by persistent prayer. (Acts)
  • Definitive revival is marked by powerful reading and preaching of God’s word not human platforms. (Josiah, Ezra, Acts)
  • Definitive revival is marked by an enduring impact.[3] Life change from the gospel, churches strengthened and started, communities and cities reformed morally, and a continued fervor for evangelism and making disciples.

o   “in wrath remember mercy” Habakkuk knew Babylon and Israel deserved wrath. But Habakkuk was no longer praying for God to judge evil, but instead was asking for mercy.

  • Our view of the world should not be contempt but compassion for God to change and save with His mercy. Christians cannot hate and reach it for Christ simultaneously.

è Revival

–        Repentance: we don’t fall out of love but out of repentance.

–        Selah: if we fail to pause before God then God will find other ways to pause us.

o   Me rushing to hospital to see Bob (SCBC) and got pulled over. I told officer why I was speeding he said, “If you don’t slow down you won’t be any good to anyone.” That line has stuck with me for many years.

o   Sabbatical – learned a lot about myself and temptation to “do” instead of “be”. I often define my success by how much work I can accomplish, time spent in office, projects completed, meetings attended, etc…

o   As we go through life we will face trials. Our temptation in trials is to either dismiss them hoping anxiety will go away on its own, or to doubt and disobey the Lord believing God doesn’t have a purpose for my trials and selfishly rely on my own understanding. Both temptations: dismissing anxiety and doubting God are contrary to what we should do. Instead of distancing yourself from worry, let them come. Allow your anxieties to become a pathway to prayer.

o   In prayer, you don’t have to fold your hands to be saintly, in fact it may be better to throw them up in surrender.

o   In prayer, you don’t have to close your eyes, in fact it may be better to keep your eyes open to pray and participate in the faith actions He leads your away. 

è SPBC we need revival.  

o   More concerned about rationalizing sin than repentance.

  • Leaving church because their feelings are hurt when held accountable.
  • Avoiding church because inconvenient or intruding on personal schedules.
  • Excuses will be empty one day when we stand eye to eye with Jesus.

o   More concerned about worldly priorities than prayer.

o   More concerned about cultural church that dispenses forgiveness like a pez dispenser without convictional Christianity that is devoted to the word of God.

o   More concerned about what others do or don’t do than being loyal, devoted, and investing personally to God and the church He’s called you to covenant in membership.

àWho wants God’s blessing?

 

In trying times, we can trust God by rejoicing at God’s judgments.

Habakkuk reflects on God’s self-revelation to Israel. God’s glory was shown to Moses and Israel so that they believed and bowed to God in worship. The brute power of thunder and bright splendor reflected the brilliance and beauty of the Holy One. They knew God was the Almighty Creator. And this great God judged sin with plague and punishment. The God who can channel the forces of nature as weapons against His enemy is truly supreme. Habakkuk sees the purpose of God’s judgment is to provide salvation of His people – through His anointed [Messiah – Jesus] in v)13. The prophet is able to both look back at God’s deliverance and forward to God’s complete crushing of the enemy through the cross of Jesus Christ.

–        vv 3-5 (Ex 7-12)

–        vv 6-7 (Ex 19:16)

–        vv. 8-10 (cf. Ps 77:16-19)

–        vv. 11-16 (cf. Ex 14 & Rev 6-20)

“The Lord is a warrior, the Lord is his name.… Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?… In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.… The Lord will reign for ever and ever.” (Exod 15:3, 11, 13, 18). 

“the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants… Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” (Revelations 19:1-2, 6b) 

è As a Christian, when we understand that no one escapes God’s eternal judgments, our perspective of trials are transformed. We no longer see trials as God punishing us but as instrumental in our salvation.   Since God controlled the past, we can trust His care in the present and His compassion for the future.

è Habakkuk realizes that life on earth is not permanent but prepatory to live in God’s presence. “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd I the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” (Hab 3:17-18)

Contemporary

Though my bank account be meager, my retirement investments exhausted, my career without prospect, and my house mortgage on the brink of foreclosure, family and friend abandoned me; yet I will trust in the Lord, and have contentment and celebration in God who saves and sustains me.

à Where in your life do you sense barrenness and need to trust God?

è  Habakkuk’s foundation is not fleeting earth but faith in the Lord. “God the Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the deers; he makes me tread on my high places.” (Hab 3:19)

Habakkuk sees the future for God’s people is to reign, therefore he doesn’t need any longer to complain.
APPLY/THINK

2 final applications

1)   Prayers and Unanswered Prayers

–        A prayer life reflects who our God is.

o   Self & Stuff & Stress or the Savior Jesus Christ
–        A prayer life reflects our spiritual growth

o   We can pray or fray. (Philippians 4:4-7)

  • Release valve – imagine a tub without a drain or a toilet without a flusher… your life will flood or stink if we don’t release our issues to the Lord. Our prayers transfer the burdens to God to turn them into blessings for our spiritual growth.
  • Jesus says come to me and take my yoke… (Matthew 11:27; 1Peter 5:7)

o   Book of Habakkuk is a journal… journaling helps you to see the path forward by reflecting backward.

o   Faith is fueled by taking our problems into the presence of God.

–      A prayer life is trusting God even when prayers are not answered to our satisfaction.

o   Reasons why prayer is unanswered to our satisfaction:

  • Not through Jesus (John 14:6)
  • Without Repentance (Psalm 66:18)
  • Praying for Show (Matthew 6:5)
  • Praying Insincerely (Matthew 6:7-8)
  • Praying with Bitterness or Unforgiveness (Matthew 6: ; Mark 11:25-26)
  • Praying without Faith or with Doubt (Mark 11:23-24; James 1:6-8; 1John 5:14)
  • Praying Selfishly (James 4:3)
  • Praying while ignoring poor (Proverbs 21:13; Isaiah 58; Amos 5)
  • Prayer is not God’s will or timing (Matthew 6:10) – so instead of no it’s not yet
  • Not Praying (James 4:2)

 

2)   “To the choir master: with stringed instruments”

Habakkuk’s writing was for future generations to read, reflect, and rejoice in God. He concludes with final instructions for God’s people to worship. Reading this book we note Habakkuk’s progression: Wrestling in prayer, Watching in faith, Worshiping in hope.

 

 

[1] Shigionoth = an unknown term, perhaps meaning to reel or meander; play instruments expressively. In other words, Habakkuk’s prayer is one of deep lament and lingering devotion.

[2] Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of God, pp.19-20.

[3] https://s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-documents/carson/2003_what_to_do_if_revival_comes.pdf

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