091129 Thanks, Anyway - Habakkuk 3:17-18

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A Thanksgiving sermon on Habakkuk 3:17-18 presented November 29, 2009, at Palm Desert Church of Christ by Dale Wells

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091129 Thanks, Anyway - Habakkuk 3:17-18

  1. 1. THANKSGIVING TRIVIA When & where was the first Thanksgiving observance in the New World?
  2. 2. The first Thanksgiving celebration in the New World 1630 in Mass Bay Colony 10% 1621 in Plymouth Colony 85% 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida 5%
  3. 3. The First Thanksgiving? 1565 – St. Augustine, Florida 1621 – Plymouth, Massachusetts 1630 – Massachusetts Bay
  4. 4. Why the Pilgrims came – Politically Correct 4th Grader’s version • The Pilgrims came here seeking freedom of you-know-what • When they landed they gave thanks to you-know-who • Because of them we can worship each Sunday you-know- where
  5. 5. The Real First Thanksgiving! 1541 – Palo Duro Canyon, Texas Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
  6. 6. The first Thanksgiving after US became a country 1776 in Philadelphia PA 26% 1777 in Valley Forge, PA 26% 1780 in New York City, NY 10% 1781 in Yorktown, VA 38%
  7. 7. When & by whom Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday 1863 by Abraham Lincoln 26% 1777 by George Washington 23% 1901 by Theodore Roosevelt 41% 1941 by Franklin Roosevelt 10%
  8. 8. When was Thanksgiving set to the 4th Thursday in November? 1941 59% 1863 5% 1777 8% 1901 28%
  9. 9. 1777 – Revolution 1863 – Civil War 1941 – World War II Three Notable Thanksgivings
  10. 10. If there is a God … • Why does evil exist in the world? • Why do babies die? • Why do people get killed by drunk drivers? • Why do people get cancer & die? • Dare we ask those tough questions? • The Bible says a lot about it – and one of the clearest things is this …
  11. 11. IT IS OK TO QUESTION GOD Just don’t get stuck there!
  12. 12. We want reasons for all the bad stuff that happens • We say things like … • Life is a like a tapestry – light & dark, good & bad, happy & sad • God is a great weaver • The pain in our lives is all a part of it & it only makes the good stand out better • There may be elements of truth, but telling it to one who’s suffering sounds hollow
  13. 13. Christians are too quick to go to Romans 8:28 • KJV And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. • NASB And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. • NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
  14. 14. At times we don't need to ask why • Person who abuses drugs, alcohol, food or tobacco should not be surprised to find self on a hospital bed • Person who cheats on spouse shouldn't be surprised when the mate leaves and life falls apart • Some sins carry their own price tags • But what about other tragedies?
  15. 15. IT IS OK TO QUESTION GOD He really doesn't seem to mind!
  16. 16. Psalms 13:1-3 NIV • How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (2) How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (3) Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
  17. 17. IT IS OK TO QUESTION GOD But then what?
  18. 18. C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed • “When you’re happy, so happy that you don’t have any sense of needing God, if you turn to him with praise you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
  19. 19. C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed • “But go to him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, a sound of bolting & double-bolting on the inside & after that, silence. You may as well turn away.”
  20. 20. What if you question God & are not satisfied with the answers? • That's the question of Habakkuk • Things are bad • Wickedness abounds • Habakkuk just can't stand it anymore • Text & interpretation
  21. 21. Habakkuk 1:2-4 NIV • How long, O 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 wrong? 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.
  22. 22. Interpretation: God, why don't you do something?
  23. 23. Habakkuk 1:5-6 NIV • "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, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own.
  24. 24. Interpretation: I am doing something!
  25. 25. Habakkuk 1:13 NIV • Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
  26. 26. Interpretation: But I don’t like what you’re doing!
  27. 27. Habakkuk 2:20 NIV • But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him."
  28. 28. Interpretation: Too bad, because I’m God and you’re not!
  29. 29. Question: When you’re through questioning God, what then?
  30. 30. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV • 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 pen and no cattle in the stalls, (18) yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
  31. 31. Someday something terrible is going to happen to you • Terrible things happen to everybody sooner or later • You will not be exempt • You are going to question God • That's OK, He doesn't mind • But when you’ve asked all the questions, what then?
  32. 32. Martin Rinkart – 1637 • Thirty Years’ War • Eilenberg, Saxony, faced siege & plague • Buried 5,000 in one year – Average of 15 a day – Sometimes as many as 50 – Including all other preachers – Including his wife • Wrote a hymn of thanks
  33. 33. • Terminal cancer at 45 but focused on living • “Last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon Sept. 18, 2007 – Values he hoped to pass on to children: integrity, honesty, character, hard work, laughter & gratitude • Lecture became best selling book • Died July 25, 2008
  34. 34. Bobby Ray Murcer 5/20/46-7/12/08 • “From the very start of a journey that began Christmas week 2006, Kay and I believe – we know – that we have been God-led. • “And so we thank our God for illuminating the path, our family for taking our hands, and our friends and fans for cheering us along the way to a new wonderful life.”

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