Living by faith - Habakkuk 3

Do you know how to find joy amid suffering? Explore Habakkuk's journey from questioning God to embracing faith. Learn how remembering God's deeds, relying on prayer, and resting in His promises can transform despair into praise. Can you find peace when circumstances remain unchanged?

Small avatar of sermon author David Herron

David Herron


Transcript (Auto-generated)

Good morning we're going to have a Bible reading um if you could open to habac chapter 3 in your paper or um devices habac chapter 3 I'll start reading at verse one a prayer of habac the Prophet on shigionoth Lord I have heard of your Fame I stand in awe of your Deeds Lord repeat them in our day in our time make them known in wroth remember mercy God came from Taman the Holy One from Mount Paran his glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the Earth his Splendor was like the sunrise Rays flashed from his hand where his power was hidden plague went before him pestilence followed his steps he stood and shook the Earth he looked and made the Nations tremble the ancient mountains crumbled and the age old Hills collapsed but he marches on forever I saw the tents of cushion in distress the dwellings of Midian in anguish were you angry with the rivers Lord was your wroth against the streams did you Rage Against The Sea when you rode your horses and your chariots into Victory you uncovered your B bow you called for many arrows you split the Earth with rivers the mountains saw you and rived rived torrents of water swept by the Deep roared and lifted its waves on high sun and moon Stood Still In the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows at the lightning of your flashing spear in wroth you Strode through the Earth and in Anger you threshed the Nations you came out to deliver your people to save your anointed one you crushed the leader of the land of wickedness you stripped him from head to foot with his own spear you pierced his head when his Warriors stormed out to scatter us gloating as though about to devour The Wretched who were in hiding you trampled the sea with your horses turning the Great Waters I heard and my heart pounded my lips quivered at the sound Decay crept into my bones and my legs trembled yet I will wait patiently for the day of calam to come on the nation invading us though the Fig Tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food though there are no sheep in the pan and no cattle in the Stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord I will be joyful in God my savior the The Sovereign Lord is my strength he makes my feet like the feet of a deer he enables me to tread on the heights for the director of music on my stringed in instruments thanks very much Kel keep your Bibles open there to habac chapter 3 be helpful to have that as uh we go along uh if you've been with us over the last few weeks you'll know that we've been in this series living by faith looking at some lessons that we can learn from two of our Minor Prophets Hagi and habak not minor in the sense that uh they're lesser but just the shortness of of the books that we have uh concerning uh their prophecy and uh what we've seen along the way uh as we've we've traveled through uh habac has been very helpful for me I've I've really enjoyed uh this uh last couple of weeks and the series as a whole I I hope that's been the case for you as well uh if you've missed any of the messages or you want to catch up on the sermon notes that sort of thing they're all on the website uh and you can catch them up that way uh just click on the sermons tab on the front page of the website and then you can click on the message and there's links to the audio to the YouTube uh clip and also to the sermon notes um usually it takes somewhere about a week or so for the the next Sundays to get posted up and processed on through uh but then there's the record of of them there uh for your reference Let's uh pray before we begin father we thank you so much that you are a God who speaks a God who reveals and Lord we thank you again for the opportunity to uh look at this uh prophet habach and his conversation with you and uh what it can teach us about living by faith in difficult times uh Lord would you speak to us today as you spoke to habac then may we hear your voice and respond in faith we pray this in jesus' name amen um quick recap over the last couple of weeks habac has been having this conversation with god chapter 1 uh we saw that habac laments he cries out to God because of the Injustice that he saw in the nation habac asked God where are you how how long should I cry out for help will you not save and God answered Habs complaint maybe not as habac had hoped God's solution to the Injustice and the wickedness in Judah was to send the the Pagan Nation the the Babylonians a nation even more wicked than Judah to bring about his Justice to his people and here we leared in uh in chapter one that it's okay to lament it's okay to cry out to God Dylan helped us to see that this is something that God invites us to do not only that we we learned as habac did that God is Not unaware of the things that are going on in this world in fact God is always at work and his sovereignty over all things means that he's not restricted by our human limitations he will accomplish his plans and his purposes and he can use a pagan Nation like the Babylonians to bring Justice to his people last week we saw habac second comp laain as he questions God about the problem of evil and suffering in the world why does God tolerate the wicked why does he allow the righteous to suffer along with the wicked and after all God those Babylonians are worse than Judah what's up with that and uh again God replies he he reassures habac that he is fully aware and in control God assures habach that there is an appointed time when he will judge all evil and bring Justice to the whole world a time when God will put all things right when the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of his glory as the waters covered the sea until that time comes we need to live by faith and this was the key lesson for habach that the righteous should live by faith faith in the holy God who will one day put things right then we get to chapter 3 this morning and it's Kell's just read it for us I don't know if you picked it up but we certainly get a sense that habach has learned these lessons along the way because he doesn't give a third protest there there's no third complaint he now moves from protest to praise notice in verse one of chapter 3 that it's a prayer of H habach on shigionoth we don't really know what that word means it only appears here in habach 31 there's a a similar word it sounds the same in in the Tittle of Psalm 7 which is another prayer song to the Lord the Bible translators don't know what to do with this they just transliterate it across um most Bibles will have a little footnote there that says it's probably a literary or a musical term we don't know but clearly we can see that this is a prayer this is a a song verse 19 tells us that this is a prayer that habach prays to music it's it's for the director of music gets to be played on stringed instruments it's a praise song it's really important to have these songs of praise particularly in times when when it's tough It's why we make it a practice of gathering together around God's word and lifting our voice in song and singing his praise because it helps to remind us and encourage us and spur us on in faith as we hold on to God in difficult times what's curious about uh Habs prayer this praise song that he sings is that his circumstances haven't changed the Injustice that he laments in chapter one has not yet been addressed the solution that God has promised by way of the Babylonians means that there's every likelihood that the righteous will suffer greatly when Judah is invaded and taken captive you probably noticed the familiar passage at the end of the song there in verse 17 though the Fig Tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vine though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stores abac's thinking ahead to what is likely going to be the case when the Babylonians arrive it's a a a catastrophe of national prop itions it's a cataclysmic social disaster and yet Hab says in verse 18 I will rejoice in the Lord I'll be joyful in God my savior how's habac able to find joy in the midst of these circumstances that he finds himself in how can he rejoice in the Lord even in the depths of his suffering and despair this is the big question of chapter 3 how can we hold on to God in faith when our world seems out of control how do we rejoice in the Lord and find our joy in him when things are not going our way I think we can see three ways that we can do this in this prayer song firstly by remembering who God is and what he's done secondly by relying on God in prayer and then finally by resting in the promises of God and we'll look briefly at each of those things firstly remembering who God is and what he's done it's the first way that we can rejoice in the midst of suffering habach begins his prayer in verse Two by addressing god with his Covenant name the Lord remember whenever you see the Lord in all caps in the Old Testament like that you know that it's referring to Yahweh to God's covenant name habac acknowledges this relationship that God has with people he remembers who God is Yahweh is is habac Covenant God and he he prays this prayer of Praise he says God I've heard of your Fame I stand in awe of your Deeds he can Rejoice even though his circumstances haven't changed because of what he knows about God in the past when you think about that it makes logical sense I mean it's how we decide to move forward with anyone it's how we evaluate and determine if we can trust somebody into the future it's by remembering and evaluating what we know about them and what they've done this why when you go for a job interview your prospective employer will ask you for your work history so they can understand and evaluate whether they can trust that you'll fulfill the roles and responsibilities of the position they do that by by looking at your past history and your past experiences they're trying to get a sense of who you are and whether you'll be able to to fit the role to move forward to trust someone into the future we need to look back and remember and this is what habak has done this is why he can Rejoice because he's heard about God's Fame he remembers all the good things God has done and is stunned he stands in awe it's a a mix of fear and wonder and respect remembering that God is the god who saves and then in verses 3 to 15 habach recalls this great long list of Deeds that he remembers about God and it's it's poetic language because it's a song it's a it's a prayer verse three God came from Tean the Holy One from Mount pan his glory covers the heavens and his praise filled the Earth verse four his Splendor was like that of the sunrise raised fles from his hands where his power was hidden plague went before him pestilence followed his steps he stood and shook the Earth he looked and made the Nations tremble and so it goes how AB remembers these various Deeds of the Lord in history being poetic language it's a little bit difficult for us to know exactly what Deeds he has in mind I think we can give it a reasonable guess I suspect that verses 3 to 10 could be referring to God's salvation work in in in the history of his people the The Exodus where God brought his people out of slavery in Egypt the the the language that he uses the The Poetry there kind of brings up pictures and images that remind us of God's dealings with his people in that way verse 5 as he mentions plague and pestilence we remember the plagues in Egypt in verse three as habac mentions this region uh this area around Tean and mount pan uh the sea Peninsula this this area there it reminds us of the places where uh the Bible tells us that God came from to deliver his people Moses records that in Deuteronomy 32 33:2 when he's uh talking about God God's actions in history with his people Moses records that the Lord came from SI and dawned over them from sea he Shone forth from Mount peran the pan mountains were this area on the edge of the sin desert and that's the place where uh God began to form the nation of Israel it it's where God's people would find Refuge from the Egyptian Army that swallowed uh that was swallowed up by the Sea it's the place of Mount Si where God began to meet with his people where he met with Moses to give him the Commandments this seems to give us this picture in mind as habac mentions in verse six how God stood and shook the Earth if you remember the story don't you that that God met with Moses on the top of the mountain on Mount sin there and the whole Mountain shook violently you can read about that in Exodus 19 in habac uh 3: 8 and following we get this poetic talk about God raging against the waters or in verse 10 the the waves being lifted up high there's a mention of Chariots in verse 8 and you kind of get a little bit of a picture of The Parting of the Red Sea as God helps his people safely across the waters and then closes them back up on the Egyptian Army verse 11 habac remembers the and the moon standing still and he would remember their history as Joshua in Joshua chapter 10 prayed for that to happen as they fought against the ammonites habac lists out all these Deeds of God in this poetic language and what he's doing he's remembering that God has a history of judging Nations and of saving his people and this is what leads habac to Rejoice notice that it's not just the Deeds of the Lord that he remembers but it's the character of God he's already started to talk a bit about God's character in verses 3 and 4 when he mentions God's holiness and glory and Splendor and power these are character things but then notice in verse 8 the way he he speaks earlier in in verses 3 and 4 he's talking about God in the third person but then in verse 8 he starts to talk about God talk to God in the second person you did this Lord you did that these were your chariots this was your Rivers your arrows your bows he starts to hone in on more of God the aspects of God's character we see him describing God as a a warrior who's strong and mighty to save in verses 9 and 10 and then he kind of summarizes it for us in in verses 12 and 13 and he says in wroth you stroe through the Earth in Anger you threshed the Nations you came out to deliver your people to save your anointed one and we know from the history of God and his people that he did that in a mighty way that's probably why habac picks up this Warrior language God is their deliverer who will surely save and habac can rejoice and hold on to God in faith because he remembers who God is and what he's done Habs confidence is not built on his present circumstances but it's grounded in the character and work of God no matter how Bleak things looked habach remembers God is still at work God is still with his people and he mighty to save friends this is the secret to our rejoicing in the midst of our suffering and trials when life seems stacked up against us and everything seems to be out of order in those times in the midst of uncertainty and confusion and sad sadness we only have to open God's word and we see that he's the same God yesterday today and forever he doesn't change if he was mighty to save and delivered his people then he's still mighty to save and will deliver his people today just as God revealed himself to Moses as the compassionate and gracious God slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness maintaining love to thousands and forgiving Wicked and sin so too he's revealed himself to us in the person and work of Jesus Christ the Bible says that God loved us so much that he gave us his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life friends we only need to look to Jesus to remember who God is and what he's done for us and to see how much he loves us we need to do that this is the the first way that we can rejoice in the Lord in the midst of suffering and despair it's to remember who God is and what he's done because then we'll have the confidence to move on to the next step which is to rely on him in prayer look again at verse two habak prays uh Lord I've heard of your Fame I stand in awe of your Deeds Lord repeat them in our day in our time make them known in wroth remember Mercy habac lifts his position to his petition to God and he he he cries outl do it again please would you do it again when our kids were younger they were easier to pick up and throw in the air uh and I was younger and stronger um we that was a a game that we would play uh and you would chuck them in the air and they would love it they'd come back and do it again uh often in the pool they'd climb up onto your shoulders and they jump off into the water and then do it again and you'd be exhausted after the amount of times that you keep coming back asking do it again do it again um any parents in the room you probably know what I'm talking about in a much more serious way this is kind of what habach is petitioning God pleading with him for God to do it again because he knows that God has done it before Babylon is about to attack Judah as part of God's judgment on them and his prayer is that in the midst of God's judgment that he would remember Mercy that he wouldn't forget his Covenant people in fact the Hebrew word that we have translated remember here doesn't mean that God's going to forget it it it just is asking him to act act again as you've done in history Lord save your people as you act in judgment show Mercy in Roth just as you've performed these great works of Salvation in the past would you please do them again now in our day make them known once more in our time lord would you be merciful once again as you deliver us habac is emboldened by the things that he knew to be true of God and so he can choose to have faith in God in his character in his nature in God's ability to continue to act in Mercy and love towards his people and so he holds on to God in prayer often times when we're facing the storms and difficulties of life we can tend to go one of two ways we can hang up on God and let go of our faith we can walk away go our own way we can reject God because we don't like the way things are going or we think that God should do things differently we can give up hang up or we can hang on we can trust him we can put our faith in him despite our circumstances and this is the the the option that habak chooses he goes this second way instead of giving up on God because of the situation and circumstances that he finds himself in he holds on To God In Prayer he continues to trust in God's character and nature and he cries out to God In Prayer this is what it looks like for the righteous to live by faith it means to hold on to God In Prayer every day it means to not give up when the going gets tough notice habac is holding on to prayer despite To God In Prayer despite how he feels look again at verse 16 I heard and my heart pounded my lips quivered at the sound Decay crept into my bones and my legs trembled habak is overwhelmed with fear about what's going to happen his heart PS P his lips quiver his legs tremble literally it's more like his belly trembles his bowels tremble and he's so anxious that he needs to go to the toilet Hab doesn't deny the feelings that he's feeling but he doesn't let them control it what does he do he goes to God in prayer and friends that's what we should do in similar situations the Bible is full of invitations from God for us to come to him in prayer we won't go through uh all of them there's too many to go through today but here's just a few Colossians 4:2 continue steadfastly in prayer being watchful in it with Thanksgiving well 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to18 Rejoice always pray without ceasing give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you pray in all circumstances Philippians 46 and 7 do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving present your requests to God well James 5:13 is any one among you in trouble let them pray is anyone happy let them sing songs of praise we see both of that this morning in habac chapter 3 Matthew 26:41 watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak it's why we need to keep praying why we need to keep holding on to God In Prayer Proverbs 158 the Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked but the prayer of the upright pleases him friends when we're facing the storms of life we need to hold on to God in faith know that we can rely on him in prayer because that is how we can learn to rejoice in the Lord even in the midst of our struggles and I encourage you if you're not really sure where to start in prayer maybe because you you haven't prayed much or maybe because of the circumstances and the situation that you find yourself in sometimes we're in those times and it's it's difficult to know how to pray start by being honest with God tell him like habac did in verse 16 how you feel remember our lessons from habac chapter 1 that God invites us to lament to cry out to him in prayer he can handle it tell him how you feel and then ask him to help you to pray trust in the character and the nature of God who invites us to pray and let the Holy Spirit be your guide in prayer Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit can lead us when we're not sure how to pray we need to start somewhere we need to pray until we can pray and so maybe that's a good start you can get in contact with us here at the church if if you would like us to be joining with you in prayer we've got a prayer team who are committ to praying for the needs of the church as they crop up you can email us at the email address on the screen prayer cab you can follow the link on our website there's a prayer uh option there and you can send in prayer requests you can let us know how we can be joining with you in prayer my experience in prayer is that you will like habac get to a place where you can rejoice in the Lord Even If your circumstances haven't changed but we need to trust and rely on God by faith believing that he can do it that leads us to our third way that we can learn to rejoice in the Lord in the midst of suffering and trials and that's by resting in the promises of God we just read uh verse 16 as habac shares his his fear and his anxiety but then look at the bottom of verse 16 yet I'll wait patiently for the Lord for the day of Calamity to come on the nation invading us one thing we learned from hak's example here is that rejoicing in the Lord is not simply being happy it's not just you know putting on a brave face it's not stoicism just a stiff upper lip he is distraught and in the midst of Despair and sorrow and yet with this overwhelming sadness in face of the coming Babylonian Army and the consequences that that would bring habac resolves himself to wait patiently for the promises of God to be fulfilled apparently that word that we've translated wait patiently comes from a Hebrew word that means deep peace or repose to rest or to settle down and remain that's what habac is doing resting and remaining in the promises of God it's the same word that David expressed in Psalm 621 when he said my soul finds rest in God instead of allowing his heart to continue to be shaken by fear and anxiety habac chooses to settle his heart on God's promises yes a terrible reality was about to happen but habac held on to an even greater reality that was coming to the promise of God came across this story this week of the engl missionary Alan Gardner he was a British royal Navy officer and a Christian who had a passion for Mission Gardner had a heart to bring the gospel to South America and he founded what would later become the South American Mission Society in 1851 Alan Gardner and a group of fellow missionaries went to preach the gospel and they ended up on pikon Island at the southern tip of South America after they landed they faced hostility after hostility setback after setback the land was Barren the climate was severe the locals were increasingly hostile and while they brought some initial Provisions with them for the trip their resupply ship that was meant to bring out the rest of their supply got stalled at the Forkland and because of the remote location that they were in there was no way they could buy any supplies eventually all of them died of starvation when the supply ship finally arrived late they found the bodies and alongside Gardner's body was his journal his diary and in it quite surprisingly he records that amidst the hunger The Thirst the wounds the loneliness that they endured there was still a deep sense of joy in the Lord as they faced the prospect of their death there's entries in the in the journal it's it's amazing it's reported that Alan Gardner was the last to S succumb to starvation and die and in one of the final entries in his journal he cites these words from Psalm 34:10 the Young Lions lack and suffer hunger but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing the final words in his journal I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God how can someone someone say that when their last moments of Life are one of hunger thirst wounds and loneliness the only way that somebody can say that is by resting in the promises of God in Philippians 4:4 the Apostle Paul seems to have learned habac lesson here and he encourages the Believers in Philippi to rejoice in the lord always he says it again he says it twice again I'll say rejoice notice the reason that Paul gives for the rejoicing in verse 5 because the Lord is near this is a promise that Jesus will return and Paul rests in that and he encourages the Believers in Philippi to rest in that in light of this great reality that Christ will come again that all things will be set right we can rejoice Paul goes on to point out that resting in God's promises is how we experience this peace of God which transcends all understanding the peace which guards our hearts and Minds in Christ Jesus that peace friends is found in resting in the promises of God we need to ask ourselves this morning in light of all this do we have that sense of the goodness of God do we feel that often when we feel the goodness of God it's when things are going well when when things are traveling okay for us when the circumstances of our life is is tracking along okay it's in those moments we tend to infer the goodness of God but here today in habac chapter 3 in in Paul's writing in the testimony of Alan Gardner all three of these men seem to connect to the goodness of God apart from life's circumstances they can only do that by resting in the promises of God by trusting in his word this is where true and Lasting peace comes from it's a peace that even rejoices when everything goes wrong which brings us back to those famous verses at the end of habach chapter 3 though the fig tree doesn't bud and there's no grapes on the vines though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food though there's no sheep in the pen No cattle in the Stalls yet I will rejoice in the Lord my savior I'll be joyful in God my savior habac resolves to rejoice in the Lord even if All Is Lost he's still determined to rejoice in the Lord I was trying to think of how we might better understand that because the the situation that he's describing is something that's so foreign to us we we most of us in this room have never had to face a national disaster on that scale that habak was facing the very real threat of there being no food to eat try for a moment to put yourself in habac shoes think about some of the struggles that we might Face In Our Lifetime can we say as habac did though I might suffer because I live in a fallen world a world under judgment though I might find out that a loved one has cancer that I might have health issues myself though I might be lonely or lose my job or my spouse or my child or my house yet I will rejoice in the Lord I'll be joyful in God my savior it's extraordinary words from habac words of praise to God and he can only say them and mean them because he's learned who God is and what he's done because he's learned to rely on God In Prayer because he rests in the promises of God and in God's power to fulfill them habak acknowledges in the final verse of his prayer in verse 19 that it's God who sustains and strengthens him it's God who enables him to persevere through suffering to make his feet like that of a deer who enables him to Tread On The Heights the Apostle Paul would later complete this thought in Philippians 4:12-13 when he wrote these words Paul says I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty I've learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether wed or hungry whether living in plenty or in want I can do all this through him who gives me strength friends let's resolve like habac to rejoice in the midst of our suffering let's look to God his character his nature let's rely on him in prayer because we know that he can be relied upon and let's rest in his promises as he gives us the strength to live by faith let's pray father we just want to thank you so much for your word to us thank you for habak who was bold and honest enough to come before you the Living God and to cry out and lament to bring to you the things that troubled him Lord thank you for the lessons that we've learned as we've dug into this over the last couple of weeks help us Lord to live in in light of that to be obedient Lord to the things that you've been speaking to us about over these past three weeks the things that you might have been speaking to us about today Lord help us to live by faith to trust in you Lord may we like habac look to you our God to be our strength in the midst of difficult times and trials we pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.