Good Morning Beloved!
I know we're living in uncertain times today
many are unemployed, battling depression
some are quarantined or on lock down..
I pray you will walk away from this mess
Thank You, for everything You have already done
We often find ourselves asking "why?"
Why us? Why now?
Father, we know there will be good days and bad days
We know You hear the cries of people at the end of their rope.
We acknowledge that not all is sparkling and bright right now
as things seem to continue becoming worse with the spread of Covid-19, that people are desperate for some ray of hope
When we are bombarded by devastating news
Give us a Word of encouragement
And so we pray for some good news
Lord, You know the particular pain of each and every one
Our stories of grief and sickness do not go unheard
You gather our stories of pain and of fear
in these uncertain times, when the most basic of supplies
are unavailable, or unaffordable to many
Your Words whisper encouragement and hope
Your light of hope to shine upon us
You lead us, guide our paths, our decisions
We exalt Your holy name
Thank You for always blessing us
Remind us, that as You bless abundantly us Lord
Lead us to offer help to others also in need
And in our confusion reveal them to us
All for Your glory
In the precious name of Jesus,
"Through the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds' feet,
And makes me walk on my high places."
Today's Message: From Pain to Praise!
The reason I want us to look at this book is because Habakkuk, had a number of questions for God and complaints against Him. The book is actually a dialog between the prophet and God, with Habakkuk arguing that God's ways are unfathomable and even unjust. He represented the questions of the godly in Judah, and he no doubt gives voice to some of out complaints as well.
This prophetic book takes its name from its author and possibly means "one who embraces." By the end of the prophecy, this names becomes appropriate as the prophet clings to God regardless of his confusion about God's plans for his people.
It is certain that he was a contemporary of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zephaniah. However, internal information is virtually nonexistent, making conclusions about his identity and life speculative.
Habakkuk prophesied during the final days of the Assyrian Empire and the beginning of Babylonia's world rulership und Nabopolassar and his son Nebuchadnezzar. When Nabopolassar ascended to power in 626 B.C., he immediately began to expand his influence to the N and W. Under the leadership of his son, the Babylonian army overthrew Nineveh in 612 B.C., forcing the Assyrian nobility to take refuge first in Haran and then Carchemish. Nebuchadnezzar pursued them, overrunning Haran in 609 B.C., and Carchemish in 606 B.C.
It's sometimes difficult for us to jump right into singing when all we fell like doing is crying. I'm reminded of Psalm 137:1-5 when God's people couldn't sing because they were so sad. They even hung up their harps: "By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps."
In the midst of these dark days, the prophet cried out for diving intervention. God's response, that He was sending the Chaldeans to judge Judah, create an even greater theological dilemma for Habakkuk: Why didn't God purge His people and restore their righteousness? How could God use the Chaldeans to judge a people more righteous than they? God's answer that He would judge the Chaldeans also, did not fully satisfy the prophet's theological quandary; in fact, it only intensified it. In Habakkuk's mind, the isse of crying for resolution is no longer God's righteous response toward evil or lack thereof, but the vindication of God's character and covenant with His people.
It's not wrong to ask questions, or even complain to God. The Book of Job and many of the Psalms express serious questions to God. For example, Psalm 10:1 begins rather abruptly: "Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?"
I know that many of us find ourselves asking, "God, You may be powerful and You may be personal, so why then can't I sense Your presence right now?"
Like Job, the prophet argued with God, and through that experience he achieved a deeper understanding of God’s sovereign character and a firmer faith in Him. Ultimately, Habakkuk realized that God was not to be worshiped merely because of the temporal blessings He bestowed, but for His own sake.
"How long, O Lord, will I call for help,
And You will not hear?
I cry out to You, “Violence!”
Yet You do not save.
Why do You make me see iniquity,
And cause me to look on wickedness?
Yes, destruction and violence are before me;
Strife exists and contention arises."
When tragedy leaves you standing on shaky ground, it's not unspiritual to declare your questions to God. He's big enough to handle your cries. I know that some of you have been completely rocked by some pretty tough situations in your life.
What do you do when you're faced with an avalanche of agony and you feel like God is playing "hide and seek" with you? Some of you think that Christians shouldn't question God and so you keep your concerns bottled up. Beloved, it's much better to ask God where He's been than it is to wear your spiritual smiles and act like everything's going well when you know darn well it isn't. It's better to express it to Almighty God than it is to suppress it and live in agony. He knows we are human, He created us!
If God is really like He’s portrayed in the Bible, why has He let this world get in such a mess? If God is really a good, kind, a loving God, why does He allow all the suffering and disease and murder and war and all of the horror that’s going on around the world?
The questions of the prophet represent some of the most fundamental questions in all of life, with the answers providing crucial foundation stones on which to build a proper understanding of God’s character and His sovereign ways in history. The word question has its root, the word "quest." If you're on a quest to understand, if you're serious about seeking answers, then don't hesitate to declare your doubts before God, if you don't ask, you might miss out on some surprising answers and ultimately short-circuit some growth that God wants to accomplish in your life.
The core of his message lies in the call to trust God, the righteous shall live by his faith, Habakkuk 2:4. That the believer needs to remain strong and faithful in the midst of affliction and trials.
I love the faith progression that takes place in the book of Habakkuk. The hurting follower begins with a "how long" question, followed by two bold "why" questions and he spells out his complaints in specific detail. As a result of being honest with God, and after questioning and complaining, Habakkuk is now in position to move to the next step in the praise process.
Instead of fooling around with what he doesn't know, Habakkuk backs up to what he does know and starts there. And in his mind, he is saying, "Well, maybe if I start with what I do know about God, I can come to some conclusion about what I don't know." That's a pretty good line of thinking!
"Are You not from everlasting,
O Lord, my God, my Holy One?
We will not die.
You, O Lord, have appointed them to judge;
And Your, O Rock, have established them to correct."
You could feel the ground getting more solid as he says it, its as if he's saying, "Wait a minute. Their god, what is their god? What is he? Well, my God is eternal, from everlasting. He is God from eternity to eternity. That, I know!
I’ll tell you this, there’s nothing more reassuring, nothing more consoling, nothing more helpful than in the time of oppression, when I'm confused by what’s going on in the world, than to pause for a moment, and say, "One thing I am sure of is God is eternal, He was here long before the world began and He will be here long after its gone! My God is always in control, He created it." That's a tremendous truth, there is nothing more reassuring, beloved. That's rich.
Habakkuk comes to the conclusion, "Since God isn't dependent on the world, He isn't dependent on what happens in it, He is self-sufficient. He’s sure not only of God’s eternal existence, he’s sure of God’s self-determined existence. And he is sure that He is holy and righteous. He also realizes, God is all powerful. God is sovereign. Nothing happens in this world outside the sovereign will of God.
Or in theological terms, God is omnipotent. And now, he’s standing on solid ground. That's a great place to be, in the midst of your battle, isn't it?, God is faithful. He knew that. And so now he says, "We shall not die."
The prophets of the Old Testament knew that, and think about this, they had no indwelling Spirit.
Yet they knew it... The prophets couldn’t forget that God said, "I will be their God and they will be my people." And we have Christ, not in a prophetic way, but in daily guidance and instruction.
They could have believed that God was far off, that God was oblivious to them, But they didn't!
Do you know why? Because of God’s covenant with them.
But the righteous will live by faith. In other words, God is saying to all of us today, "Hold on to me, because I know what I'm doing." When our faith is anchored to the Word of God we will be able to handle what comes our way.
Beloved, do you know that it's possible to praise even when you're in pain? You can love God when you experience loss. In fact, the most authentic times of adoration are often when we feel the most awful. As we study chapter 3, let's learn from Habakkuk as he followed a process that moved him from pain to praise. Worship is not complete until we follow the arc from agony to adoration. When pain has been acknowledged, we are invited to focus on God's faithfulness in the midst of suffering.
Verse 1 tells us that this chapter is really the prophet's prayer: "A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet." He's moved from a complaint about problems to a composition of prayerful praise.
When we praise God in the middle of our pain, worry is transformed into worship. Fear turns to faith. Terror becomes trust. Difficulties are resolved with hope. Our anguish begins to melt into adoration
Disappointment does not have to lead to despair. I absolutely love the small word "yet" in verse 18: "Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.." Even though there will be no food and no flocks, Habakkuk has determined to rejoice. The three "though" are followed by a crescendo of "yet." This is very similar to the process Jeremiah went through in the Book of Lamentations. He was filled with "why" questions and he listed his grievances to God but when he's finished, he forced himself to think about what is true. And Job experienced a similar thing.
In chapter one Habakkuk was low. In chapter two he climbs up to the watchtower to wait for God's answer. And in chapter three he is walking on new heights. He has steadily progressed on an upward arc toward God. Are you ready to move from pain to praise?
There are people in this world today, they're mad at God for something that's happened in their life.
Let me just say this, if you pull away from God, your life will unravel. It will spiral out of control.
Think of the words in Hebrews 10:23-25, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near." It's easy to get out of the habit of going to church, but you have to do it consistently, even when you don't feel like it!
Even when you don't feel like you can praise God, com anyway.
Praise must become personal.
Think about how Habakkuk tackles the problem. Can you see it? He reached his answer by stepping away from the problem and thinking about what he already knew to be true. And having established that, he could move to that which he did not know in the light of what he did know. Let me tell you something, you'll never hear any better advice than what Habakkuk just gave you.
Beloved, there is only one way to tackle your problems in this world: Back Off!
When you've run into a wall you can't climb, when you just can't figure a way out of the storm, Stop and back off the problem, and start focusing on what you know to be true.
There’s no problem that’s at all too big for Him.
God is a faithful God.
He will never break His promises.
Nothing happens but what God allows to happen, God will never do anything wrong!
That brings me to a question. Do you know Jesus Christ?
Do you have a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ?
If you don't, I don't know how you're getting through life.
In order to handle your problems you must first let Jesus handle you.
Turn what's wrong into your song!
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Brian Monzon Ministries