Category Archives: Habakkuk

Tasting Faith (Habakkuk 3)

This week we are wrapping up our study through Habakkuk. After a cycle of Habakkuk questioning God, God answering, Habakkuk questioning, and God answering we arrive at chapter 3 where Habakkuk finally puts his full trust and faith in God.

The chapter starts out with Habakkuk asking God to bring revival to his city and nation. In verse 2 he stats that he has heard of the great things God has done in the past, but has never seen them first hand. Many of us, at times, are in this boat. We have heard of God doing amazing things, performing miracles, and transforming lives, but have never seen or experienced it ourselves. Or we will forget about what God has done in our lives. As we dream of leading the charge of the Church in this new and evolving culture it is important for us to know and reflect on what God has done in the past throughout history. Habakkuk looks back and prays that God would “revive” his nation. Out of faith he is praying that God would move like he has done, and like Habakkuk has heard of, in the past. Throughout the chapter he refers back to God leading the Exodus out of Egypt along with Joshua’s victory at Gibeah where God made the sun and moon stand still in their places. These were, and still are, landmark events in the history of Israel.

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In the last part of 3:2 Habakkuk prays for the Gospel when he says “in wrath remember mercy.” He knows that he is a sinner, knows that God justly punishes sin, and asks that God would show mercy through His wrath. He is praying for Jesus. The beautiful reality about this is that as Habakkuk looked forward to the future and how God will show his mercy in wrath, we look back with confidence that Jesus is our Mercy in wrath.

Habakkuk has faith that even through suffering and trails God is working with intentions of good for those who love him (Romans 8:28). This is what he prays in 3:17-19:

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 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.

The amazing thing about this prayer is that God has not changed the circumstances. The Chaldaens are still scheduled to come and destroy Judua (see Habakkuk 1:5-11). Habakkuk’s heart changes because he has gone from knowing God to experiencing God. His heart is changed not because God has made circumstances better for him but because he has seen and experienced God on a deeper level.

Jonathan Edwards puts it this way:

“There is a difference between believing that God is holy and gracious, and having a new sense on the heart of the loveliness and beauty of that holiness and grace. The difference between believing that God is gracious and tasting that God is gracious is as different as having a rational belief that honey is sweet and having the actual sense of its sweetness” (A Divine and Supernatural Light, Jonathan Edwards).

Think about what God has done throughout the difficult times in world history, our nation’s history, and your personal history.

Love God for his soveriegn plan throughout all suffering and trails.

Live centered around the gospel of Christ. Not just rationally knowing that he is our Mercy, but tasting and experiencing the mercy and love of Christ.

Nick

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Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself (Habakkuk 1:12-2:20)

The second cycle of Habakkuk is, in my opinion, the hardest to work through. Habakkuk continues to ask God questions relating to how he is going to deal with sin and God does not sugar coat the answer.

    Recap of the first exchange between the prophet and God (1:1-11)

    Habakkuk – “God, there is sin the nation. Why are you not doing anything about it? God, do something!”

    God – “OK. I will deal with your sin with my justice. I am going to send the Chaldean army, a much more wicked nation, to come and wiped you out as a punishment.”

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    2nd cycle

    Theme: God wants us to know our sin, and his punishment for our sin so that we can turn from it and turn to him.

    Habakkuk’s response to God’s plan (1:12-2:1)

    God’s answer does not make sense to Habakkuk. God is choosing to send people who not only seem to be more sinful, but also don’t have any conviction for their sin to carry out the punishment for those who have committed the lesser of sins. Habakkuk cannot understand how a more sinful nation can punish a less sinful nation. Even though this is improper way of look at sin, I would contend that we all do it. We all will gauge our sin based on other people’s sin. The problem is that this approach to dealing with sin does not lead you to the cross. If you feel like you are sinning less then it can lead to pride. If you feel like you are sinning more then it can lead to guilt.

    This is a though pill for Habakkuk to swallow. Being punished by “more sinful” people just doesn’t make sense to him. This would be like being punished for immoral business practices by the former CEO of Enron… or being punished for lusting by Hugh Hefner and Tommy Lee…. or being punished for bad parenting by Britney Spears. It just does not seem logical.

    On top of that Habakkuk questions why the Chaldeans are not getting punished for their own sin.

    God’s answer (2:2-5)

    God’s answer to Habakkuk doesn’t change: His justice will be carried out over every sin ever committed. He tells Habakkuk to write down what God has told him and let everyone know about it. God wants people to know their sin and also the punishment for their sin. He wouldn’t be a loving God if he didn’t. God desires all people to come to repentance and put their faith in Christ (1 Tim 2:4).

    God reveals his punishment for sin because he desires us to repent of our sin and turn to him. We need to know that the punishment for sin is death and separation from God. The ultimate punishment for sins eternal damnation in Hell. This is obviously not a pleasant reality, but none the less a true reality. The beautiful thing is that God doesn’t stop there. Jesus has been offered as a substitute in our place to absorb the punishment for our sin. A common misconception is that God dismissed our punishment. The fact is that Jesus became our sin taking our punishment. In turn we become his righteousness (2 Cor 5:21).

    Check yourself (2:6-20)

    So what is God going to do with the Chaldeans? Surely they have punishment coming their way?!? God address their sin along with the punishment for that particular sin. Once again, God address sin so that we have the opportunity to repent of it and turn to him.

    Here are the 5 Woes that God has to the Chaldeans:

    (2:6) “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own- for how long? – and loads himself with pledges?”

    • Do you spend money that you don’t have?
    • Are you running up credit card debt on things that you don’t need?

    (2:9) “Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm!”

    • Are you more concerned with your own comfort or caring and serving others?
    • In what ways do strive to keep your own comfort?

    (2:12) “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity!”

    (2:15) “Woe to him him who makes his neighbors drink- you pour out your wrath and make them drunk, in order to gaze at their nakedness!”

    • Do you do whatever is necessary to feed your desires?
    • In what ways do you take advantage of others to get what you want

    (2:19) “Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise!

    • I’ll let Mark Driscoll speak into this one….

    It is almost impossible to cover everything that is in this passage in a week, but hopefully we can tackle some of the main points.

    Spend time this week wrestling with the ideas in the passage. More post will come over the next few days…

    Nick

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    Habakkuk 1:1-11 “How God deals with sin”

    The book of Habakkuk starts with the prophet stringing together heart-filled, sorrow soaked questions to God. Habakkuk is reflecting on the sin, affects of sin, and God’s seemingly idle observance of it all. Wickedness is prevailing and he is sick of it. I would contend that is is a good thing to come to God with your questions. When times are tough, your life seems to be falling apart, or you don’t see or know what God is doing, ask him. Searching for answers anywhere else will only lead to speculation. Seeking God’s council will lead to revelation.

    Habakkuk pleads with God to do something about the sin that is “perverting” the nation and God answers.

    God’s answer to sin: justice. picture-21

    God responds to Habakkuk’s complaints by telling him that the Chaldeans, a rival and hated nation north of Israel, would come down to destroy them in form of God’s justice.

    Too easily we can forget that our God is a just God. As Christians we like to focus on more pleasant attributes of God such as grace, mercy, peace, compassion, etc. What we need to remember is that our God is just. When sin is committed against him it is punished. Romans 1:18 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

    The word justice is in the Bible 163 times.

    The word wrath is in the Bible 212 times.

    I’ve been asked several times over the last few weeks why we are studying through Habakkuk. Surely a New Testament book would be easier and more practical! The reality is that Habakkuk, being in the Bible, is the inspired Word of God and speaks to us here and now. It shows us how God deals with sin and ultimately leads us the Jesus Christ.

    Jesus took upon himself the wrath of God for those who believe in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Martin Luther calls this the “great exchange”. Jesus died on the cross in our place becoming our sin. In turn we become his righteousness.

    Habakkuk is book about God dealing with sin. It ultimately points us Jesus and show us how he dealt with our sin in the cross.

    Think about the magnitude and punishment for your sin. The more you come to a reality of the severity of your sin against God, the more you will worship Jesus for being your substitute for your sin.

    Love Jesus Christ for becoming your sin so that you can become his righteousness and live a life full of worship and mission for His glory.

    Live knowing that you are in this sin-stained world to be a light to those who don’t know Christ. Just as Jesus stepped down into our world to be a Light, we are to step into our world to be a light.

    Nick

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    Habakkuk

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    This week kicks off our study of Habakkuk! I will be teaching and setting the tone for the study Thursday at The LR as we begin in Habakkuk 1:1-11. I’ll post my notes from the teaching on Friday.

    Spend time during the week to get to know this Old Testament Minor Prophet.

    Backgroud

    Date: 600-550 B.C. after the reign of King Josiah

    The importance of King Josiah:

    Before Josiah came to reign as king over Israel the nation had been controlled by two wicked kings: Manasseh and Amon. During the era of these two kings, Judah had radicailly fallen away from the worship of God. They (God’s choosen people) started worshiping the god Baal, offering their children to the god Molech, and dedicating their horses to the sun god. They abandoned the Temple and allowed it run to ruins.

    Josiah comes to power at a young age and begins to restore the spiritual state of the nation. He leads the people to repentance and back to God. King Josiah restores the Temple and while doing so finds the Book of the Law. Judah got so bad that they completely lost the Bible! He restores God’s Law as well as the Passover celebration. The nation has turned back to God and is living by his Law.

    Josiah dies in battle after 31 years of reign. After his death his son, Jehoahaz, becomes king. Things do not start off good for him. In Scripture, one verse into his reign, he has already done “what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” – 2 Kings 23:32.

    Long story short…. Judah slips back into it’s wicked, idol worshiping ways prior to Josiah. The nation turned away from God and injustice is running ramped.

    This is when Habakkuk comes on the scene.

    Note- the full account of King Josiah is in 2 Kings 22-23

    Key Themes:

    • God is just
    • God is sovereign
    • Sin will be punished
    • God is working even though we may not see it or understand

    Structure:

    • Habakkuk questions God (1:2-11)
    • God answers (1:5-11)
    • Habakkuk questions God (1:12-2:1)
    • God answers (2:2-20)
    • Habakkuk trusts God (3:1-19)

    Nick


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