Habakkuk: Living by Faith. Living with Joy.
Open your Bibles, if you would, to the book of Habakkuk. That's on page 785 if you're using one of the Bibles under the seats there. It's one of the last books in the Old Testament. Hopefully, you got a Bible outline journal, when you came in - one of these things. It'll help you follow along as we go through the sermon. I've been preaching an overview series. So, the idea is that I'll preach an entire book in one sermon, so that you get an overview. What's this book about? What would be missing if we didn't have it? Today, the title of the message is “Living by Faith and Living with Joy”, “Living by Faith and Living with Joy”.
In May of 2013, I was finishing up seminary and had another career prior to that, and already graduated from college prior to that, and then went to seminary. And about the time you're finishing up with college or with graduate school, there's one question on your mind, “Where am I going to get a job?”, right? Because, you know, the bills are coming, and the loans are going to be called due, and you want to provide for yourself. And in my case, my family, married, and wife, three kids. Needless to say, prayer was constant in our lives, constantly asking God to take care of us. I wasn't comfortable though, doing the normal thing guys do when they get out of seminary, and they're looking for a job. They send their resume out to all kinds of places: churches, mission organizations, different things, chaplain services, anything so that they can kind of get a job and provide for themselves.
But I wasn't comfortable with that. You see, I didn't go to seminary just to work at any church. I went to seminary because I felt God calling me to preach His word and to preach the truth of the gospel, but also specifically to plant a church or revitalize a church. You see, when I was in church in the Midwest, one of the larger denominations there actually had a plan to plant new churches and not revitalize old ones, because it's really difficult to take a dying church and to turn it around. Most of them crash and burn. So, as I'm finishing sooner, I am thinking about these things and on my knees in prayer a lot that God would raise up an opportunity, call me to it, fund it. And my family would happily move. You may have heard the phrase, “Where God guides, God provides.” It's cute and catchy but doesn't always work like that. I guess it's mostly true.
Grace Bible Church, at the time, had 15 people and were about to close. Their pastor was moving on. Even though the church, this church, had been around for 25 years or so at the time, they were dwindling. And they were wondering, “What is going to happen?” But there was a sweet group of people here, just a few of them. And they had a little bit of money to make things work, not hardly enough that you would want. But there was a group of people, a group of God's people, who were made in the image of God, and they wanted their church to survive. They wanted the Word of God to be preached, and they wanted to be taught. So, as they came, and I got to know them, it was just pretty straightforward to me that I prayed for a situation where we could revitalize a church, and here it was. There was a church that needed to revitalize. I was a shepherd. They were the sheep. They were kind of roaming around like one without a shepherd, it seemed, and I thought, “Well, God would have to do all kinds of things to make it work.”
And then problems arose. You start going over the particulars of theological positions and doctrine and history and where the church really wants to go. They had very little means to support a full-time pastor, let alone a married pastor with children to support in a very expensive area, and the time was running out. But their Shepherd was moving on. And so, it was either go and try or let it, you know, just write a check and send it out to the missionaries. So, we ended up moving here before having a contract and before receiving the official call to come to the church. We moved from our place in LA and drove across the country, and I learned that a Chrysler Pacifica is not a good car to drive across the country. It was about dead when we got here, so that was another thing that had to be fixed. We came with only the promise of my parents allowing us to stay with them for a couple of weeks; they lived about a half an hour from here, and we had no place to go. But on the way out here, God provided a place for us to stay. And after we got here, thankfully, they offered the job to me. But there was no guarantee of success.
Purcellville, if you don't know, already has three other Bible churches, one large Bible Church and two tiny ones with less than 30 people in it. And this one would have been a fourth at that time with about 15. Could it support the effort? Was that really the question? Was that really the question? The church was meeting in a library, which sounds really comfortable for little kids, until you realize there are things to look at non-stop the entire service. And so, you've got heads darting around like this constantly. And then when we got here, we got kicked out of the library. And they said, “You can meet in our auditorium at Harmony Middle School”, which seats over 400 people. The first two rows this morning would have been enough. So, needless to say, it was a little awkward. We had about nine months before all funds would run out. And the offering was sometimes less than $200 a week, which didn't even cover the building rent. In moments like these, and I'm sure you've had plenty of them like this, big life questions tend to rise to the surface. Like, “What was I thinking?” Like, “What makes me happy?” No really, “What is it that makes me happy in life? Am I even capable of living by faith? Lord, I want my faith to grow.” Okay, well, “Here you go.” So, when he provides the situation for you to live by faith, are you overjoyed? Or are you terrified?
I can say I was probably a little too naive to be terrified. But after the first couple years, you're still only 40 people. And you're wondering, “How is this going to work? Did I totally do the wrong thing, Lord? Did I misunderstand you?” You go to the Lord in prayer, and you constantly take your request before God Almighty who established the universe, who gave his word, and you just say, “Okay, I'm not sure if this is what you want. But I'm willing, and I've got all the information I have, and I'm going to go forward.” And God says, “Good. Here's some adversity for you, so that you will grow.” You see, adversity is part of God's plan. Adversity is not God seeing us and looking out and saying, “Oops, I guess I better fix this.” Adversity is the plan. It flushes out the real you. Many times, it forces us to our knees in prayer. Think about that for a second. A great trial forces you to go to the most loving person, God, in all the universe. That's what it forces you to do. That's not all that bad.
This happened to Habakkuk. He was a prophet. He didn't just hear from God, he spoke for God to an entire nation. And in the context of Habakkuk, I'll give it to you quickly. Assyria has already conquered Israel. Israel at that time was the northern 10 tribes, okay, all but Judah and Benjamin down in the south. So, they are conquered. They were living under constant threat. And about 100 years of this has gone by, 100 years of wondering every single day, “Is Assyria going to now conquer Judah? Are they going to take us over? There's absolutely nothing we can do about it.”
Well, Habakkuk takes place around 615 BC. And they feared Babylon even more than Assyria because Babylon was rising up in power, and no one was able to challenge them. And Assyria, which as you learned last week, has been around for well over 1500 years by this point, established both inside the Bible and extra biblical sources. They were about to go away and never come back. So, what does a mature believer do at that point, at that point in his life when it was just, ”God, I don't know what's going on. I am not okay, God. I'm really not okay with what's going on in life.” What does a mature believer do? Well, thankfully, Habakkuk was a mature believer, and he turns to God in prayer. Not just any prayer, but honest prayer.
Look in chapter one, verse one. And you can kind of see Habakkuk’s state of mind here in these first four verses, it says, “The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. O, LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? 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; so justice goes forth perverted.”
Let me ask you a question. When you pray to God, are you this honest? Are you that bold that you will go to God, not sinning, but being that honest in your prayers to God? Habakkuk was, I mean, he was complaining; there's just no other way to say it. He was complaining to God, “Woe is me.” But God already knows how you feel. God already knows if you're excited and joyful, or if you're destitute, and on the last straw. When people pray, you can hear and understand their theology. You see, your theology will come out when you pray to God. What you truly believe, that if you're always praying for miniscule things, then your God is probably small. If we're always asking God just for, you know, the daily things which He wants us to ask for, then God is probably not that all-powerful, conquering God.
And when you look at the theology of his prayer, you see some amazing things. We can learn a lot about Habakkuk’s theology just by looking at his prayer. What does he believe about God as you read verse two? What does he actually think? Well, in the long run, he thinks that God actually can save and, so he levels at him a complaint that “You're not saving, because I know you can.” So, Habakkuk in his theology, says, “I cry to you and you will not save.” Not that He's incapable, but that He doesn't.
Verse three, what do you learn about his theology in verse three? He says, “Why do you make me see iniquity?” Well, that's God controlling all of life. God controls everything. And whatever has come before his eyes, he knows God has ordained to be there. The things his eyes see, the life he experiences, he lays at the feet of God. Verse four, what does he think about God that we see in verse four here? “The wicked surround the righteous; and justice goes forth perverted.” He knows God is a just God and isn't bringing about justice. When he says justice never goes forth, that's a that's a dig at God. Because God would act in a just way, but what does go forth is perverted. In other words, perverted justice is no justice at all. Right? We've heard that cry from a worldly, sinful perspective for a couple of years now. Pretty bold prayer to our Lord, isn't it? But I asked you again. Are you that forthright with God? Do you bring your grievances to God or are they shared with others? Does Facebook get more honesty from you? Or whoever you like to call or spend time with? Do they get more honesty from us than God? Because God wants to hear from us. He wants to have this communion with us in prayer and this, this reception of His Word, and as we don't understand life, He wants us to come to Him.
God does answer his prayer. That starts in verse five. Look at this. It's actually shocking. Verse five, “’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 told. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march 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 on. Their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an evil swift to devour. They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gather captives like sand. At Kings, they scoff, at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress for they pile up earth and take it. Then they sweep like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!’” Gods says, “Oh, I'm working. Oh, I see. But you wouldn't believe my answer if I told you. I'm working in such a way that it's gonna blow your mind. For behold, I'm raising up the Chaldeans.”
Now who are the Chaldeans? The Babylonians, the wise men, the leaders. They're the Babylonians. And of course, Habakkuk didn't need to be told what they were like. He knew how awful they were. Everybody knew how awful they were. This nation is thirsty for violence. They were God's answer. “You have trouble? I'm raising up even more trouble to take care of your trouble.” That was God's answer. Does God's answer ever cause more questions in your mind? And when you go to God in prayer, you're like, “Lord, I'm praying and I'm praying for this job.” He's like, “Oh, great. I got one in Siberia ready for you?” And you're like, “Wait a minute. That's, I need to be more specific. I meant high paying, sunny, you know, 75 all year, that kind of thing. Really easy job for lots of money. “No, I've got something else for you. Because I love you so much, I want you to actually grow.”
God's answer caused many questions for Habakkuk. So, he goes to God a second time in prayer. And again, look for his theology as he prays. Look in chapter one, verse 12. “Are you not from everlasting. O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, you have ordained them as a judgment. And you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? You make mankind like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. He brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net; he gathers them in his dragnet; so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich. Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever?”
He had questions, “Why do you remain silent when the wicked devour the righteous? Why? Why do you not see these things? Why are these things okay with you, God? Shall we be like the insects in verse 14 that get stomped on? Or the fish that are caught in a net; they're helpless? Or shall we be like the loot that makes the wicked rich?” People are still the greatest commodity in all of the earth. You know, on social media, if you're not paying for anything, then you are the product. Gathering all of your information and reselling it, that's big business. Right? So, every time you use something, if you're doing it for free, and this business seems to be growing and growing and growing, then you are the product. And Habakkuk says, “Are we to be like the fish in the net that other people use for their gain? They worship their nets. Are we to be the loot that makes other people wealthy?” Habakkuk seemed like he had lots of questions. But he knew the answer. He knew God, “my Holy One, my God.”
Chapter two verse one, “I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.” He's so honest. “God, I don't know what's going on. I don't even really like what's going on. I see your answer. I see that we're gonna be, you know, what makes these Babylonians wealthy. Right? They conquer. They take us they; use us for their purposes. They tax us. We make them rich. Okay, that's your plan, God.” So, what's his answer? “I'm going to take my watch post. I'm going to stand in the tower. I am going to be there to watch God's plan unfold.”
Is that your answer when God gives you life circumstances that seem bitter. Notice, He doesn't offer another plan. You wouldn't offer another plan to someone wiser and smarter than you. That would be foolish, as if we could come up with something better. But, yet in our prayers, we also need to take stock that when we offer new plans to God, we need to submit those to God and say, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” Habakkuk in 2:1 says, “I am going to wait on the Lord, to look out and see. I'm here, God. Use me however you want”. And if you want to have the life that God wants for you, that's the cry of every person. “Use me however you want.”
This is very instructive to us. It helps us see that when God's answer is tough to take, the best response is to receive it. The best response is not to reject God's plan. Jonah tried that. It did not work. Moses, before he went away to Midian, tried to take over, right, and deal justice to his people who were being wronged, and he killed a man. And then he had to flee for his life and was gone for 40 years. Right? It didn't work for him either. He had to learn the hard way. Whenever we try and wrangle all of life's plans and squeeze them into our own perfect agenda, we know we're trying to control the outcome.
So, God answers him a second time in chapter two, starting in verse two and following. He says this, “And He answered me, and the LORD answered me, ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end--it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.’” What's the good news? They're not coming right away? What's the bad news? They are coming, and you have to patiently wait for it. I mean, this is difficult. This is really difficult. And if you miss the context of this, you're gonna miss one of the most powerful verses in all of Scripture, and it's in Habakkuk. Like, “Oh, that sounds good. Let's get to that.” Well, you have to understand the weight that was upon this whole nation. One hundred years of being oppressed by Assyria, and it's gonna get worse. “I'll take care of Assyria, but I'm gonna use Babylon to do it. And then I'm going to punish Babylon for what they've done. That's my plan.”
If you don't get that, then you and I will have no idea how to do what is so profound in verse four. “’Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith. Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.’” Did you see that? We have two kinds of people in those two verses. And one is so significant. It's the foundation of the largest theological treatise on salvation in the New Testament. And it's also the foundation of the largest argument of why the law can never save, and why obeying the law, no matter what the situation is, can never bring you to God. Those two kinds of people are the puffed up and the righteous. That's it. The puffed up, in verse four, is described in verse five: traders, arrogant, greedy and lusting for more. The righteous, in verse four, shall live by faith. Impending war is the context of “the righteous shall live by faith.”
Knowing the context of your Bible of Scripture is so significant. God is sending war, that's why you must live by faith. When our faith is most tested, our faith is most clear. The strength of a climber is not seen on the ground. It's seen on the edge of a cliff as he climbs 100 feet, 200 feet, 1000 feet. When you're pushed to the limit, only then do you know your limits. The speed of a car is not known in first gear. You might be saying, “I can't go any faster.” Time to shift gears. The full capacity of the mind is not understood in first grade. The depth of your faith is not seen in shallow waters. Do not be scared of the deep water; it brings deep faith.
Habakkuk was a man of immense faith, of deep maturity in God. He didn't just speak for God, he lived out God's truths in his life. You know, we think finding a new job and moving across the country is a test of mature faith. But that's just, like, basic. That's just so 101. “I lost my job.” You can't drive a mile, within 100 miles of here, and not see a “Wanted. We're hiring.” sign. You just can't. If you don't have work, it's because you don't want it. Mature faith can handle so much more. Don't be scared of the trial. Run to God. Put your faith and your hope in God and God alone, and you will know so much more of God. That's why Habakkuk could stand and proclaim, and as God said and told them, “Make it clear what's coming, so that they can read it and run.”
The more we are tested, the more opportunity we have to grow. Remember, I told you that this verse establishes the foundation of the book of Romans. You can turn there, if you want to, to Romans 1:16 and 17. Those are what is widely regarded as a summary of the whole book, that the righteous shall live by faith. Romans chapter one, verse 16, reading out of the ESV, says this, listen to this powerful statement. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” And normally we stop there. But it says in verse 17, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” Paul was quoting Habakkuk.
Turn to Galatians chapter three, verse 11, if you would. Galatians is the summary book to set aside your faith in the law, which was a huge deal for them. They thought the customs made them a child of God, they thought circumcision made them a child of God, they thought they would be known by these things. Galatians 3:11 says this, “Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” Romans is established on that verse. Galatians is established on that verse. And the author of Hebrews uses it profoundly as well.
Turn to Hebrews chapter 10, verses 36 and following. We love chapter 11. But chapter 10 is the setup. You can't understand 11 without 10. Hebrews chapter 10, verse 36, “For you have need of endurance, [that describe anyone], for you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For ‘Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’” “My righteous one shall live by faith.” The righteous must live by faith, and the righteous do live by faith. Is that you? You see, doing the will of God takes endurance and courage. It takes a willingness to die to self and to live to God. No one receives the prize if they do not finish the race. You may say, “My legs are not strong enough to run.” I can relate to that. I don't run as much as I should.
And I remember years ago, seeing one of our brothers here today on the bike path, and I'm, like, dying. And he's just, like, trotting along, you know. And I’m thinking, “How are you doing this?” And he’s, “Well, I'm just finishing up a race, a run, it's so good to see you.” And I'm like, “Okay.” And then he, like, wants to run with me. And I'm thinking, “I'm running like, three or four times slower than you are. It probably looks like a walk to your eyes.” “Oh, that's no problem. I'll go with you.” Like, “You know, my, my, my knees are just a little weak.” He's like, “Well, you know how you make them stronger? You run more.” Thank you, thank you. I'm pouring down sweat at my 10-minute mile pace. That's how life feels. We’re just like, “I'm giving it my all.” I'm like, “No, you're really not.” You need to strengthen those knees; you need to strengthen those tendons. You need to strengthen those muscles. You need to use what God has given you for His glory and see over and over and over again how God uses you and fortifies you. And I'm happy to report I’m at least at an eight-minute mile now. Yeah, that's big progress for me. I won't tell you how long that's taken. But see, we need to exercise what God has given us.
He has given us faith. We have not found it or generated it on our own. This is a gift from God, says Ephesians two. It's a gift of His grace. It is not of ourselves. Right? So that no one can boast. “If it's my faith, and my faith is really strong, then I can boast a lot.” But if my faith is strong, all I can do is point to God. Because God gave it to us. Avoid the reality of the work, and you will shrivel. That is not the path to strength. It's just to get on the couch. There's good news, though. This faith is not faith in yourself. We have to hear that. The faith is not faith in ourselves. It's faith in Jesus Christ.
For Habakkuk, he was looking forward to the return of the Messiah. He was a prophet; he knew the scriptures; he knew there was one who would come to redeem them, to save them, to set them free to be a light unto the Gentiles, even. For you and I, it's not just faith, it's faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians goes on to make this point in chapter three, verse 26, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” See, faith is so important in your life. Habakkuk had faith in God. He knew God was good. He knew God's plan was best. And guess what? That was enough for him. Let me ask you, do you know that God is good? And do you know his plan is best? And is that enough for you? Is that enough? We're gonna have to work on our “Amens.”
God then continues with his answer in chapter two of Habakkuk. And he tells Habakkuk what's coming for the Chaldeans, and he pronounces this series of woes on them. “Woe to you who heaps up what is not his own. Woe to him who builds a town with blood.” That was verse six and verse nine. Verse 15 in chapter two, “Woe to him who makes their neighbors drunk to gaze at them.” Five times God pronounces doom on the Chaldeans.
Verse seven, “You will be spoil for them.” Verse eight, “The people will plunder you.” This is the Chaldeans who will be plundered. Verse 16, “You will have your shame.” Verse 17, “Violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you.” In other words, God's going to take you down. What you thought would end, in your glory, will end in God's glory. Chapter two, verse 14, has this wonderful refrain, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of His glory.” Chapter two, verse 20, “The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silent before him.” All we need to know, every argument finds this conclusion, and God is in His temple. That's all we need to know. He's on his throne. No one has been able to depose him. It's not going to happen. He wins. And he is working out his plan. Right now, in in through you.
Can you recognize God's plan as he works in you right now? Can you see God at work in your life? Do you see the circumstances of your life, how he's given you blessings at times, how he's given you trials at times, and how he encourages you to grow. Growth comes in sometimes painful ways. That we have to admit we are sinners, and specifically say what our sin is, not just that we are born with sin, or not just that at some time, we have sinned.
But mature Christians will confess their sin specifically and say, “God, forgive me.” They will confess their sins specifically to others and say, “Would you forgive me? I spoke an unkind word to you. Will you forgive me? You needed me, and I had the capacity to help you, and I rejected helping you. I did not do the good that was set before me. I was lazy, and I put it off. Will you forgive me? I have not been praying for you. I have not lifted your name up before our father. Will you forgive me?” And when you confess, and you receive forgiveness from that person, and you are forgiven from the Father, you grow spiritually, and you become stronger. Habakkuk confessed. He was complaining in chapter two. He said that, “In my complaint before you, God,” but now he's praising God.
Look at chapter three. He's changed. He's allowed himself to be changed. He's compared himself, compared the cruelty of life to the good plan of God. He's changed by the truth of his theology, of the study of God, of the understanding of the coming and going of God and His plan. He's changed by it. He is freed from sinful thought and sinful fear. And this truth that changed him can change you too. In short time, his circumstances didn't change. He changed. Look what happened?
Chapter three verse one, “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth. O LORD, I've heard the report of you, and your work. O LORD, do I fear.” He's not saying, “I fear the Assyrians. Of course, they've been oppressing us for 100 years.” He's not saying, “I fear the Babylonians though they should be feared.” “O, LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.” He's still straightforward and honest with God. “As you pour out Your wrath on these wicked nations, and on us who have worshipped foreign gods since the days of Egypt, have mercy on us.” Verse three, “God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.”
You see, our theology, our doctrine, that just means the teachings, they are for us to be growing as disciples. They're not just for us to agree with, and have our best life, they are to change us, specifically. The truth is there, and it's supposed to do a work in you, that you can see the hardest situation that you could ever be in. And none of you are in this hard of a situation right now, no matter what your situation is, it's not this dire. This would be like saying, “Soon, the United States will not exist. Be patient and wait for it.” So, your situation is not this dire.
And if we can look at the situation that Habakkuk had, and see now that he is fearing the Lord, and that he is saying the earth is going to be filled with this praise, how is he changed like this, he's no longer complaining. He's now rejoicing in who God is. It's sincere; he does not mix words. He does not veil his thoughts. He gets straight to the point. We must ask ourselves, do we fill the earth with praise, like chapter three, or complaint, like the first two chapters. And I know I have my share of complaints. I know that I need this as much as anyone. I want to be the person who lives by faith. I want to be the person who lives with joy, with the confidence knowing that God is on His throne. And we can be like that; we can be those who fill the earth with the praise of God.
It is a great privilege to proclaim the praise of God. It is not something that we see as a heavy obligation. We see it as something that we run to, that we love, that we are encouraged by. And we must remember who we are. We are the children of God. If you have confessed your sins to the Lord, if you are following Jesus Christ, then you're a child of God. You have the Holy Spirit within you. That you seek to love God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, then you're a child of God. If you've rejected what the world has for you, these are the things that let us know that we have been given a new name, Child of God. We must remember who we are, and who God is, that He is the sovereign of all the earth, the most good, the most kind, the most powerful, the most capable, and the most willing. This is a very privileged position, an unearned grace given position.
Maybe you're here today wondering, “Where'd all the joy go? Life is killing me.” Well, you need to remember that God is on His throne. You need to remember that the righteous live by faith. Habakkuk closes, and we will too, with a prayer that only a mature believer could pray. And this prayer, these few verses in 16 to 19 are something only a mature believer who lives by faith, who lives in joy could ever pray. This is astounding. This is where you want to be. Verse 16, “I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit beyond 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 in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the LORD, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” You may not know it, but that's supposed to be sung to the choirmaster with stringed instruments. We don't sing a lot of Habakkuk. But that's the joy that comes through when you live by faith. Let's pray.
Lord, God, we want to be a people of courage. We need you to do a work in our lives. To change us, to help us to have a strong, mature faith irregardless of what's going on in life.
Lord God, we pray that you would bring that to us. We pray that You would give us the courage to run the race with endurance, to look at the hill as a way to grow and not a way to die of exhaustion, to look at the circumstances as a way to know your power more than we could, Lord God, just standing at the base of the mountain.
Father, we need you to strengthen us. We need right thinking and right theology. And we want to know You, Lord, deeply.
Friends let’s just take a moment right now and beg God to help us to live a life of faith.
Lord God, I know that you will answer that prayer. It is in your will that we be strengthened and live in this way. In your precious Holy Name. Amen.
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