Habakkuk 1 vv 1 11
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Habakkuk 1 vv 1 11

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Here are the slides to accompany today's sermon on Habakkuk 1 - a video of which appears on the Grace Wales Rural Chaplaincy YouTube channel

Here are the slides to accompany today's sermon on Habakkuk 1 - a video of which appears on the Grace Wales Rural Chaplaincy YouTube channel

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  • The prophecy of Habakkuk dates from the early 6th century BC in the kingdom of Judah.They are dark and difficult days for the godly, and his big concern is with the injustice of it all.He looks out on his world, his people, his time, his government and its institutions and he sees it falling FAR short of God’s ideal for society and for the people of God … and he COMPLAINS.Just as many of us see things happening in our world or in our country and we want to shout: ‘FOUL!’ … so does Habakkuk, but he does it within the spirit of prophecy and in the presence of his God.So here’s how the big picture in this book goes …
  • 1:1-4 Habakkuk’s first complaint1:5-11 God’s response1:12-2:1 Habakkuk’s second complaint2:2-20 God’s (lengthier) response3:1-19 Transformed, Habakkuk worships in awe and wonder
  • Firstly, then, we’re looking at Habakkuk’s first complaint and God’s first response to it.
  • NIV sets out with the phrase: “The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received.”Look how he sees it … מַשָּׂא - massa‘“load, bearing, tribute, burden, liftingload, burdenlifting, uplifting, that to which the soul lifts itself upbearing, carryingtribute, that which is carried or brought or borneutterance, oracle, burden” – (Strong’s H4853)Habakkuk’s ministry is not some blessing-drenched walk in the park.God has called Habakkuk to serve in a time of radical spiritual decline when the people of God have abandoned the faith (though not their reputation for having it) with the consequences for justice, righteousness and peace that were always predictable.Habakkuk carries a HEAVY load; his ministry is that load and this prophecy’s a big part of it.God sometimes calls faithful people to serve Him through horrible days and has nothing to convey to them but the judgement that is coming upon them.Interestingly, it makes those people absolutely no less faithful or worthy to find themselves in that position!
  • The historical circumstances between 609 and 605 BC fit well with the prophecy of Habakkuk.King Jehoiakim had returned to the idolatries of his forefather Manasseh, providing government support for the disregard for God’s Law and the resulting impunity with which violence is allowed to take root in society (Hab. 1:4).The Lord responds to the abandonment of justice and righteousness by indicating that He will deal with the situation in a way these people wouldn’t believe even if they were told it was going to happen (1:5) … the Babylonians would be raised up by God as a fierce people that would march throughout the whole earth seizing land that was not theirs (1:6).This means calamity is coming on the people of God for their de facto abandonment of Him, and in such a crisis as this Habakkuk declares essentially one way to cope with this widespread abandonment of God and its consequences: Hab. 2:4 “See, the enemy is puffed up;    his desires are not upright—    but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness …”Jehoiakin – king in those days – was defeated in March 597 BC and carried off captive to Babylon … that’s it. Game over.Zedekiah did take over the throne but serious questions were raised about his right to do so and this was effectively the end of the Davidic monarchy and the OT people of God as a political entity.The throne of David remained vacant for the next 600 years.When did this prophecy get written?Well, the historical circumstances that prevailed between 609 and 605 seem to fit well.Habakkuk complains (1:4) about violence amongst God’s people … which fits well with events in the reign of Jehoiakim.Jehoiakim took the land back to the idolatries of Manasseh … which provided broad support for disregarding God’s Law (1:4)Then in 1:5 Habakkuk speaks of the Babylonians coming to conquer and oppress Judah … In 605 BC under the new leadership of the young Nebuchanezzar the previously mixed fortunes of the Babylonian war machine improved dramatically and the Egyptians (who had been holding them back in the region) were famously defeated at the Battle of Carchemish.Without the big superpower of Egypt to protect it, Judah became a Babylonian vassal state.A few years into that, Jehoiakim joined a rebellion with a few other little states, it all went horribly wrong, he died as the enemy advanced leaving Jehoiachin briefly in charge … and from that point on, the Davidic monarchy was history.Jeremiah 22:26-27 railed against Jehoiachin and prophecied all that happened to him and his mother, and then the content of Habakkuk’s prophecy was horribly fulfilled … and God’s judgement of the injustices Habakkuk cries out against was realised.Here’s what he’d said …
  • So exactly WHAT was going on in Judah that Habakkuk complains so bitterly against?
  • Habakkuk’s prophecy is described as a ‘burden’ … and as he proclaims the judgement of God on his own people, it MUST have been heavily burdensome!Interestingly, Habakkuk speaks up in the singular as one person – a plaintiff - addressing God’s court with a complaint, but God responds to a plurality of people (the assembly of the righteous either members of the Heavenly Court or crowding it’s public gallery?)
  • The implication of this first set of complaints and concerns is that Habakkuk has been taking the increasing godlessness and lawlessness of his society and people to God for some time.And, incidentally, it’s not going to have the sort of positive outcome Habakkuk may at first have hoped for!It looks as if Habakkuk has returned to the issue with his heart breaking to pray over the situation again and again …But ‘How long?’ almost appears to be a direct quote from God Himself, Who has been asking the same question from long before!
  • Exodus 16:27-30 “ Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none.28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you[c] refuse to keep my commands(AH) and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.”Numbers 14:6-11 “Joshua son of Nun(L) and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes(M) 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good.(N) 8 If the Lord is pleased with us,(O) he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey,(P) and will give it to us.(Q) 9 Only do not rebel(R) against the Lord. And do not be afraid(S) of the people of the land,(T) because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with(U) us.(V) Do not be afraid of them.”(W)10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning(X) them. Then the glory of the Lord(Y) appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt?(Z) How long will they refuse to believe in me,(AA) in spite of all the signs(AB) I have performed among them?”Matthew 17:14-18 (Just after the Transfiguration when you’d have thought faith was at a high level) “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures(P) and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.”Revelation 6:9-11 “ When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under(T) the altar(U) the souls of those who had been slain(V)because of the word of God(W) and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long,(X) Sovereign Lord,(Y) holy and true,(Z) until you judge the inhabitants of the earth(AA)and avenge our blood?”(AB) 11 Then each of them was given a white robe,(AC) and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,[e] were killed just as they had been.”There’s no doubt that the LORD had a great deal of sympathy with the agonies of his prophet, because the things Habakkuk was feeling about the faithlessness of his people are things the LORD had previously given eloquent expression to, and would do again!Prayers of perplexity like this often seem to find an echo in the frustrations of the Almighty!
  • So, the substance of the prophet’s complaint centres around this issue of what appears to be unanswered prayer …Right is on his side.He has called for justice … but his prayer has not been answered in any form that he realises.Now, that is something that should make his bells ring.The problem Habakkuk cries out about is a problem with government and monarchy, and at the time Israel insisted on having a king like all the godless nations around her the LORD had spoken out about that.1 Samuel 18“Samuel told(T) all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take(U) your sons and make them serve(V) with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.(W) 12 Some he will assign to be commanders(X) of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your(Y) fields and vineyards(Z) and olive groves and give them to his attendants.(AA) 15 He will take a tenth(AB) of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer(AC) you in that day.(AD)”19 But the people refused(AE) to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want(AF) a king(AG) over us.20 Then we will be like all the other nations,(AH) with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated(AI) it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen(AJ) to them and give them a king.””So here in this verse, at the end of the sad 300 experience with rebelliousness and monarchy, Habakkuk cries out but the Lord does not hear. The wickedness brought in by Manasseh and his successors has sealed Israel’s fate, and the answer to Habakkuk’s prayers will be very far from his aspirations.Most often in the Bible God’s people cry out in their distress and He hears them.Let’s face it – that’s usually our experience.But there are hints that the sin of God’s people, or at least some sort of disturbance in their covenant relationship with Him may lead Him not to respond with immediate deliverance when they cry out for it.In Jdgs 6:7 God forces the people to remember their sin before even hinting at their deliverance.In Ps. 22 the psalmist implies a long period of prayer before he was delivered (Ps. 22:6)But then there’s Job, who puzzles long and hard over God not hearing his cry … with striking parallels to Habakkuk’s language here:Job 19:7 ““Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response;(A)    though I call for help,(B) there is no justice.”Habakkuk 1:2 “How long,(B) Lord, must I call for help,    but you do not listen?(C)Or cry out to you, “Violence!”    but you do not save?”In fact, it’s not some philosophical explanation but only meeting with God that answers Job’s question, or (for that matter) Habakkuk’sAnd that makes sense, doesn’t it?Not all the answers we seek are going to be intellectual ones, because a human being is so much more than a spongy, grey ball of thinking kit.And so it is going to be for Habakkuk.
  • Now, that time related question is followed up by the purpose question we so often hear in situations of burden and calamity from the people of God.It’s a specially relevant question for believers.Atheists cannot rationally ask this question because they have no reason to think there’s any point to it all anyway.Believers, though, are sometimes … from within the context of a relationship of trust … justified in asking this!
  • The objection is to being in a situation where the consequence of rebellion against God has to be CONSIDERED, recognised … acknowledged.That’s the thing.We don’t want to hear uncomfortable things pointed out to us.We don’t want to have to confront uncomfortable truth.I saw some stats recently from a US church survey undertaken by Open Doors which demonstrated a HUGE reluctance on the part of US pastors to report on and encourage prayer for the persecuted church because they felt under compulsion to present only positive messages.We live in a world that requires of us that we only present un-contentious and un-disturbing things … and Habakkuk here complains that his nose is being pushed hard up at the glass of the window he has on the injustice and wrongdoing in his society whilst he would very much prefer for that NOT to happen.He isn’t afforded that luxury … and being soothed about sin in our society certainly isn’t the reason we come to church!What is Habakkuk getting disturbed by?
  • That cry of violence chimes with Job’s complaint in Job 19:7But the theme goes further back in the Bible than that.Now, obviously the pages of the popular newspapers and the tv news is full of violence.So are the films, the video games and a host of other media that shape the attitudes of the people we live with and amongst.Biblically this problem of societal violence goes back to the days before Noah learned navigation … in fact it’s one of the reasons for the Flood! (Genesis 6:11-13)But now a most unusual situation prevails in which those set apart to be God’s particular people are engaging in violence amongst themselves!And it’s because they have violated the stipulations of God’s covenant they must now live through the curses promised in that ancient covenant: “You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.” (Deut. 28:29)In the Hebrew the specifics of the situation are spelled out in three couplets like this …
  • Earlier Balaam had described the blessings God had laced on Israel by saying he could find no אָוֶן ('aven) – misfortune, nor עָמָל (`amal) – suffering, in Israel.No longer.Now sin and its full orbed consequence prevail throughout the land.Tell me we know nothing of that, will you?!Now, in that situation, Habakkuk observes a serious consequence … and it is presented as the consequence of the sinful violation of God’s law rather than the effect of it.
  • In their situation, having the Law does Judah absolutely no good at all.God’s Law is NUMBED by their drift into sin.פּוּג (puwg)– this word refers to the effect of extreme cold on the sensitivity of touch and functionality of the fingers.Judah’s sensitivity to God’s Law has been degraded by the sin she’s run to and embraced.
  • So here’s the nub of Habakkuk’s FIRST complaint (bear in mind he’s coming back with another!)He can find no justice amongst God’s own people.Trust me, being cast in the role of this old renegade preacher who’s been almost banished up here in these hills, pastors and people both elsewhere seem to reckon I’m the person to tell their complaints to …So I hear too much.Don’t I have to listen – here in Wales – to the same sorts of things regularly that Habakkuk is complaining about here?Rather than what he ought too be seeing, Habakkuk sees a brutal perversion of God’s law prevailing throughout the Land.Never mind anywhere else … don’t we see exactly that in and around our own home here?The people committed to following the Lord in the way and put their lives on the line for Him and His Word suffer endless abuse, the prayers of the faithful go unheard and His Law seems numbed by having spiritually frozen hands laid on it.If that’s not a pretty fair description of Wales today, I don’t know what is!How does God explain this dreadful situation and His failure to charge in and sort it out?!
  • Preparatory to unveiling His response to all this injustice the Lord warns ominously the extent of the trouble of judgement that His people will now see, v. 5
  • Next God identifies to Habakkuk the surprising instrument He’s rearing to bring about this judgement
  • Finally God characterises with as many as twenty explicit details the coming force of Divine judgement and retribution for the sin Habakkuk has cried out about.Now, we’re going to have to turn to that next week … this has already been troubling enough!For the moment here, please notice this: God is not EVER doing nothing.He may be doing something we can aspire and look forward to.He may be doing something He should but we hoped he never would.He may be doing something we don’t want to hear about because knowing about it too far in advance is frankly going to scare the pants off us!But He is never doing nothing, He is always doing something, and whatever it is that He’s doing the just shall ALWAYS live through it by faith.
  • What’s happened here is that Habakkuk has poured out a bitter complaint to God about the duration and the apparent lack of purpose that underlies the awful effects of the sinful rebelliousness of God’s people in his time.GOD’s people, you understand, not the nations … not the nations but God’s people who have simply adopted the ways of the Nations in place of the ways of God taught in His Word.Habakkuk has set out on his journey with God over this vexed issue of why God allows departure from His truth, injustice and violence to prevail.But God’s response hasn’t been what Habakkuk anticipated.God simply agrees and reveals that JUDGEMENT not mercy is coming.It’s going to be harder to take than the nation’s excesses.It’s going to call for far more investment in faith.An awesome Divine response to the trouble Habakkuk sees hovers on the horizon of history … as God sees the problem even more profoundly, even more seriously than this highly perplexed prophet.God’s resolution of the problem and answer to Habakkuk’s prayers naturally, then, seems overwhelming.In effect, the underlying message of the book is going to turn out to be that a maturing faith trusts perseveringly in God’s ways of establishing justice and righteousness on earth … and that His ways are not our ways.Habakkuk WRESTLES with the burden of submitting to an utterly new concept of the Lord’s purposes among Israel and the nations.God is interacting with His people and leading them forwards in ways that are utterly contrary to anything they’ve come previously to expect … and the challenge is for the ‘righteous’ to continue to live by faith through that.Tell me that’s not a challenge that we are not also facing, and then I might accept this ancient prophecy is irrelevant to 21st century Western Christian experience … but somehow I think I’m going to be safe coming back to Habakkuk next week!

Habakkuk 1 vv 1 11 Habakkuk 1 vv 1 11 Presentation Transcript

  • He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. Colossians 1:28
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction
  • Habakkuk • 1:1-4 Habakkuk’s 1st. complaint • 1:12-2:1 Habakkuk’s 2nd. complaint • 3:1-19 Transformed Habakkuk worships in awe and wonder • 1:5-11 God’s response • 2:2-20 God’s (longer) response
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction - massa' – “load, bearing, tribute, burden, lifting • load, burden • lifting, uplifting, that to which the soul lifts itself up • bearing, carrying • tribute, that which is carried or brought or borne – utterance, oracle, burden”
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction Ancient cuneiform text referring to Jehoiakin’s ration allowance in Babylonian captivity
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 “How long,LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the lawis paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.”
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 – How long? V. 2
  • God’s own ‘How long?’s • Exodus 16:28 … ingratitude over manna • Numbers 14:11 … accepting 10 spies report • Matthew 17:17 … deficiency in disciples’ faith • Revelation 6:10 …
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 – How long? V. 2
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 – How long? V. 2 – Why? Vv. 3-4
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 – How long? V. 2 – Why? Vv. 3-4 “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.”
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 – How long? V. 2 – Why? Vv. 3-4 • The big question “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” • The obvious problems
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 – How long? V. 2 – Why? Vv. 3-4 • The big question “Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” • The obvious problems
  • • Trouble and suffering • Plundering and violence • Strife and contention
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 – How long? V. 2 – Why? Vv. 3-4 • The big question • The obvious problems • Sin leads to lawlessness “Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.”
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 – How long? V. 2 – Why? Vv. 3-4 • The big question • The obvious problems • Sin leads to lawlessness • Summary
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 • God’s response, vv. 5-11
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 • God’s response, vv. 5-11 – Warning, v. 5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians …”
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 • God’s response, vv. 5-11 – Warning, v. 5 – The unexpected instrument, v. 6a
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 • God’s response, vv. 5-11 – Warning, v. 5 – The unexpected instrument, v. 6a – Here’s what you’ve got coming, vv. 6b-11
  • Habakkuk 1:1-11 • Introduction • Habakkuk’s complaint, vv. 2-4 • God’s response, vv. 5-11 • Conclusion