Living by faith - Habakkuk 1

Why does God allow injustice and violence to persist, and what is His response? Dive into Habakkuk's passionate plea and God's surprising plan involving a feared and ruthless nation. Discover how lament aligns our hearts with God and reveals His unceasing, limitless work in our world.

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Dylan Flood

31m

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good morning church if you got your Bibles there I'm going to invite you to open up to habac habak chapter 1 we're continuing our Series in um living by faith we've looked at Hagi before May Mission month but we're diving back into it habac 1 reads like this the Oracle that habac the prophet saw oh Lord how long shall I Cry cry for help and you will not hear or cry to you violence and you will not say why do you make me see iniquity and why do you idly look at wrong destruction and violence are before me strife and contention arise so the law is paralyzed and Justice never goes forth for the wicked surround the righteous of Justice Goes Forth pert look among the Nations and see wonder and be for I am doing a work in your that you would not believe if I don't for behold I am raising out the shelines that bitter and Hasty Nation who marched through the bre of you to seiz dwellings not their own they are dreaded and fearsome their Justice and dignity go forth from themselves their horses are swifter than leopards more Fierce than the evening wolvves their Horsemen PR proudly on their Horsemen come from afar they Fly Like an Eagle Swift to devour they all come the violence all their faces B they gather captives like sand at Kings they scoff and at rulers they laugh they laugh at every Fortress for they pile up Earth and take it then they sweep by like the wind and go on guilty men whose own might is there church have you ever felt abandoned by God have you ever felt abandoned by God you know that he's real you've experienced it you've been maybe on your walk with Jesus for some time now but there comes this point where things seem to fall apart where you really need help maybe you're going through hardship maybe you just really need God there but it feels like you've being abandoned it feels like God just doesn't understand the situation that you're in it feels like he's not there with you in that moment it feels like God doesn't really care what's going on he's just sitting idly by have you ever felt abandoned by God have you ever had a season that has been spiritually dry that no matter how hard you try just seems as though God's presence is far off he's not answering the questions that you're asking him you ever felt abandoned by God have you ever questioned God have you ever questioned God gone well God if you're so good and so just then how is it that you sit there and let all this evil all this hardship all this suffering all this Injustice happen in the world don't you care about what's going on in my life right here right now have you ever wondered if God's so good and just then why is it that we find ourselves in places experiencing hardship and suffering that we see Injustice and it feels like God is sitting idly by that's what we're going to be exploring this morning as we look at the opening complaint of Haba and the answer that the Lord gives him but before we dive in would you join me in prayer Heavenly Father we thank you for your Lord we thank you that through it you speak to us and Lord we pray that this morning as we dive into the book of Hab Lord God that you would speak to each and every one of us here this morning that no one would leave here without knowing what it is that you wanted to say to us father God we lift up this time and ask that you would be with us in the name of Jesus Jesus habac who is he to be quite honest we're not told that much okay verse one of habac 1 says the Oracle of habac the Prophet so we know that he is a prophet but beyond that we don't get too many other details we don't know how old he was when he gave this prophecy he's not mentioned in any other book of the Bible that this morning we're looking at habac the prophet and when we see that he's a prophet we might parallel him to some of the other prophets we know in the Bible and yet there's something different about habac see all of habac words are addressed to God he doesn't speak to the people people on God's behalf he doesn't go out to the crowds and say thus says the Lord he doesn't accuse Israel of their wrongdoing every single word that habac says is to God so what do we know about habac well based on the contents of this prophecy and the prophecy as a whole that's recorded in this book based on God's reply of what was going to happen we can piece it in that habac falls in at the end of Second Kings if you got your Bibles there feel free to open up to Second Kings chapter 22 we can say fairly certainly Scholars agree that habac must have lived through or at least known of and experienced some of King Josiah's in Second Kings 22 we see some of the works of King Josiah we see that he repaired the temple in Judah he was the king of Judah he repaired the temple and whilst those repairs were taking place this book of the law that somehow they lost was found they found God's law and so out of curiosity or because it was something that they just found they started reading it wow God's law and we see that Josiah reformed the nation of Judah he led them to obey God's law which had just been found again he worked to remove any causes of sin any of the idols and other altars to different gods and He restored the Passover in a sense Josiah LED the Revival in Judah in the time that Josiah reigned Judah went from being this rebellious Nation to coming to align themselves with God Walking In step with God living how they ought to be living and yet as we read on we see that that didn't last forever if we wanted to summarize rign in just a single verse I'd direct you to 2 Kings 23 verse 25 it says before him there was no King like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might according to the law of Moses nor did any like him arise after this was massive Revival in Judah and yet as you continue to read those final parts of Second Kings you see this phrase which is repeated again and again in Kings for every King that followed every king after Josiah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord rather than continuing in the Reformation in in the people in sin they rebell against God and led all of Judah to Rebel also and as a result of that we see that they were taken captive of Babylon and so it's somewhere within this context having seen and or experienced and or lived through some of the Revival that has happened and then seeing the decline of the nation into Rebellion we get these words from habac oh Lord how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear or cry to you violence and you will not say why do you make me see iniquity and why do you idly look at destruction and violence are before me strife and contention arise the law is paralyzed and Justice never goes forth for the wicked surround the righteous so Justice Goes Forth in a very real way habac felt abandoned by God he had seen God in the nation as the nation was revived as they were following the ways in which God had called them to live and yet seeing the nation decline into what it was Hab when God where are you so we have to ask ourselves in our lives have we ever experienced what feels like God has abandoned us maybe you've gone through a period where you've been so on fire for God you've had your own bit of Revival you've been so on fire for God you've been walking and being obedient to what he's been calling you to do you've been step by step you felt like his presence is just right there like you could reach out and touch it but then all of a sudden something happens whether it be hardship or just the decline of all the busyness and it feels like God's moved away maybe even now you're going through hardship or sickness or suffering and it feels like God is busy maybe you look around at the events of this world you see that this social Society is moving away there's a cultural shift away from Christianity maybe that burdens you maybe you're in a spiritual drought maybe a couple weeks ago when it was shared that there's a lot of churches looking for a senior pastor maybe there was a disheartening moment where you went God you know the needs of your church you know that we need this you know that we're struggling you know that there's pain and suffering and Injustice where are you see what we have in the opening four verses of habac is nothing short of a lament to summarize it habac says God you make me see all of this wrong I see the pain and the suffering and the Injustice I cry out to you I cry out to you for restoration I cry out to you to fix this and you've done nothing where are you habac makes his complaint he draws God's attention to the sinful Injustice and the suffering and he demands that God does something if you're a notaker here this morning I want you to write this down God invites us to LIT God invites us to lament he uses it to align our hearts with his own now you might be sitting there going Dylan how on Earth can you say that well from my reading God replies very graciously he doesn't strike Habu down he doesn't reprimanding reprimand him he doesn't say how dare you question where I am how dare you bring this up in fact he replies graciously and reveals what he is doing a habit but before we dive into this whole idea of lament I want to make two things very clear two dangers that we as Humanity have a tendency to pendulum between two extremes the first danger we can have when it comes to our Christian walk when it comes to living by faith is to fake happiness has has anyone ever faked happiness has anyone been having a really bad day and someone says hey how's your day going you're like good good smiles I'm going to go cry in my car a bit later the first danger is to fake happiness they're thinking that oh God only wants the good part of my day this thing that I'm struggling with I don't want to trouble god with that that's too much for him or it's too little a thing for me to give to God God only wants happy me so I'm really struggling with this but when I pray thank you God you are so good you are so gracious Lord you just give me the most perfect day but really there struggles don't fake happiness how draining but the second danger is on the other side of the pendulum I need to make this clear complaining does not equal lenting complaining is a part of lamenting but it is is not in and of itself lament see to lament is to lift your complaints to God but then also to actually listen for a response and be willing to actually respond to what God tells you lament is not a cycle of endless complaining it requires more than that and in fact in fact as we see biblical lament expressed in this scripture and in others throughout the Bible we see that lament always leads to either rejoicing or at the very least A Renewed Reliance on God and His nature it's never just God this sucks and that's the end lament leads to rejoicing and at the very at least a renewed Reliance in God and his character and we'll see that if you want to skip ahead it won't be for a couple weeks but habac 3 we see that after the complaints habac rejoices in the Lord the second part I I mentioned when I said to write it down not only does God invite us to lament but God can use our lament to line our hearts with his own if you got your Bibles there read verse three with me why do you make me see iniquity and why do you idly look at wrong it's a fair question God if you're just and good why is it that I have to see Injustice on the news why is it that I have to experence experience pain or see others going through hardship why do I see this where are you in it church I want to suggest this morning if you ever lift up a complaint of Injustice to God like habac has done here you're only able to do so because God has aligned your heart with this see remember the context the rulers of Judah did what was evil in the sight of the Lord they were leading this Injustice this hardship and they didn't care they didn't mind what was going on and yet in the midst of a nation that was rebelling against God here's habac lamenting he sees the Injustice he sees the suffering and he is troubled troubled to the point that he complains to God his heart mirrors God's Own because if God is just then he hates injustice God doesn't want suffering for his people and that is what habac cries out he says God are you seeing what's going on here this isn't right and so what does God answer if we read verses 5- 11 he says this look among the Nations and see wonder and be astounded for I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if t for behold I'm raising up the shelines that bitter and Hasty Nation who marched through the breadth of the earth to seize dwellings not their own they are dreaded and fearsome their Justice and dignity go forth from themselves their horses are swifter than leopards more Fierce than the evening wolves their Horsemen press proudly their Horsemen come from afar they Fly Like an Eagle Swift to devour they all come for violence all their faces forward they gather captives like sand at Kings they stop and at rulers they laugh they laugh at every Fortress for they pile up Earth and take it then they sweep by like the wind and go on guilty men whose own might is their God here's habac he's just lamented he's cried out to God about all this Injustice and God's response isn't thanks habac I was completely unaware of that I'll get to that next week it wasn't well things have got really bad here I can't believe that I've missed this it wasn't how dare you question me and accuse me that I'm not doing something his response in summary is habac I know I know what's going on you don't see it yet you don't see it yet but I'm certainly not idle in fact I'm going to restore Justice in an unbelievable way I'm going to use a nation that doesn't even acknowledge me to bring Justice to the Rebellion to the Injustice of my own people depending on your Bible translation you might have the shelines you might have the Babylonians that people put quite simply the shelines lived in southern Babylonia so it's a little bit like saying I'm from Queensland instead of saying I'm from Australia okay both are true one's just a little bit more specific God says this people who don't know me this Ruthless People I'm going to use them to bring Justice to everything that you've cried out about and so our second and third note for this morning God is Not unaware indifferent or Idol in fact he is always at work but not only that God is also not restricted to work within our human limitations I don't know whether you're guilty of this I certainly am myself has anyone ever prayed to God with the solution but not the problem gone God I just really need you to do this this this and this and then my life sorted rather than going God this is where I'm at this is the problem would you help please the Bible tells us over and over again we see it so clearly in his reply to habac God's Not unaware he's not indifferent and he's not Idol God by his very nature is everywhere all the time he doesn't miss any so in those times when we feel like God Is Out Of Reach be comforted he's right there if you're a Christian here this morning you have God indwell in You by the Holy Spirit he may feel distance but he surely is not see Hab cried out to God and I can't help but wonder if God's answer would have shaken him a little bit made him go what do you mean that's not the answers I had in mind because in describing the people that we're going to bring Justice God describes them like this they're guilty men hold up isn't God using them to restore Justice how are guilty men being used not only are they guilty they worship Their Own Strength their own might they don't worship God they worship themselves God how are you going to use this Pagan nation that doesn't even acknowledge you to do your work isn't there something wrong with that come back next week chapter 2 fills that out but isn't there something wrong with that church God is not limited to our human limitations he's not limited to working within what we think he can work within he's not unaware he's not indifferent he knows exactly what's going on for habac he knows exactly what's going on for Judah he knows exactly what's going on in your life and my life in Kucha in Queensland in Australia in all of the world he's not unware it's not a surprise and God's at work to bring about his purposes and so we have to ask ourselves have we ever felt abandoned by God have we ever questioned where God is in the midst of our trial have we ever gone God I know you're out there but if you could direct a little bit more attention this way that would be appreciated the Bible doesn't sugarcoat us it tells us that we're all going to experience hardship Injustice suffering it's a consequence it's a result of sin but the Bible also tells us that God is with us that God sees everything and that God is good and just and that he will bring restoration he will will punish all Injustice and so for you and me this week this month the next time that you feel slightly abandoned by God the next time you're questioning where are you God do you see what's going on here in that moment just remember God invites your the men to it don't pretend to be happy that's going to be exhausting if there's something upsetting you give it to God nothing's too big or too small he already knows give it over to God but also remember that lament is not a cycle of complaints without listening and waiting for a response lament should always cause you and I to remember and rely on who God is during our circumstances despite our complaint lament should lead us to go God I trust that you've got this be encouraged God is Not unaware he's not indifferent or Idol he is already at work and even though we may be in a situation where we can't necessarily see it we may not think it's happening we may not be able to feel that he's there with us we may not even be able to comprehend how it is that God's going to solve this difficult thing that we've caused or maybe we haven't caused maybe we've fallen into we may not be able to understand it but God is always always aware he's always present and he's always at work and his answer may not look anything like we expected to it may not even be the answer that we want but God's not restricted to what we think God's not bound by our thoughts and solutions God is greater and beyond that and he says to habac he says to you and I in those times look among the Nations and see wonder and beest down for I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if talk would you pray with me Heavenly Father we thank you for your lord God we thank you that you know the trials and the things that we Face here on this Earth we thank you that you don't expect us to keep those things to ourselves father God we thank you that you know that our lives can be difficult you know that things can be hard and that you reveal to us that you see that that you're aware of it and you're working towards restoration thank you that through Jesus we've seen that example we've seen that salvation father God we thank you and Lord I just pray for each and every person here this morning each one who will reflect upon the words of have a cup Lord would you teach us in those times where we feel distanced from you to lament well not to hide the things that are going on but to offer them up to you Lord not just to complain and complain for the sake of complaints but Lord to wait patiently to listen intently for your reply in those situations we thank you that you are God we pray all these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.