Big Apple Chapel is a New Testament based church in New York City, modeled after the pattern of the early church, with a strong emphasis on following Christ as a community of His disciples.

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    New York, NY
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BAC Sermons

Habakuk Survey: The God Who Allows Difficult Situations into Our Lives.

2011-07-17 Habakuk



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Why don't you hear me?  1:2 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 does God allow evil?  1:3 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. 4 Therefore, the law is ignored And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore, justice comes out perverted.

He is absolutely just - God rewards good with good and evil with evil.
In response, we should:  take comfort in the fact that God can reward us (present and future) for suffering righteously in unrighteous situations and that God will not permit the unrighteous to go unpunished



Need to have a global perspective; not just of our little world.  1:5 "Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days--You would not believe if you were told.

All-knowing (omniscient) God - God sees everything (the unrighteous prospering and the righteous suffering)
In response, we should:  recognize that we may not be able to see the whole picture from where we are sitting

Of course I have a plan.  1:6 "For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans (Babylonians), That fierce and impetuous people Who march throughout the earth To seize dwelling places which are not theirs. 7 They are dreaded and feared. Their justice and authority originate with themselves.  9 All of them come for violence. Their horde of faces moves forward. They collect captives like sand. 10 They mock at kings, And rulers are a laughing matter to them. They laugh at every fortress, And heap up rubble to capture it. 11 Then they will sweep through like the wind and pass on. But they will be held guilty, They whose strength is their god."

Brings glory to Himself through His perfect, purposeful plan
In response, we should:  recognize that things may not always go the way we think they should; be patient and recognize that God's perspective is eternal and goes way beyond our short lives here on earth; recognize that the tough situation may be an opportunity to be blessed (if we respond correctly) ; recognize that we may not yet be ready for what we are hoping for



Why would God use a wicked nation to punish Judah?  1:13 Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You cannot look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they?

All powerful (omnipotent) - God is sovereignly in control and permits evil/tragedies to exist in our lives in order to accomplish His purpose (glorify Himself)
In response, we should:  recognize that God could use this difficult situation for our benefit, perhaps to change our character or to test us (Ps 11:5) (we may have not heeded God's gentler promptings); avoid preempting God from acting in His perfect time by taking the situation into our own hands



Habakkuk recognizes that God must have a plan, that God must be right and, therefore, that he, Habakkuk, must be wrong  2:1 I will stand on my guard post And station myself on the rampart; And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, And how I may reply when I am reproved.

King of wisdom - God is infinitely wise; wisdom is choosing the right objectives and the right means for attaining them
In response, we should:  question our conclusions before questioning God; be prepared to acknowledge that we are wrong and be rebuked

God's commands him to write on tablets.  2:2 Then the LORD answered me and said, "Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run.


King of communication - God desires to communicate with us and wants us to communicate with Him (prayer)
In response, we should:  be all ears and listen for God's promptings; be prepared for God to choose to not answer us at this time; be prepared to accept an answer we don't expect or agree with; remember that God always answers prayer in such a way that He is glorified; Jeremiah 29:12-13

Wait for God's perfect timing.  2:3 "For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

Exercise faith.  2:4 "Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.  Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Rom 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Undying faithfulness - God is who He said He is and will do what He said He'll do (even when we see the unrighteous prospering and the righteous suffering)
In response, we should:  have confidence in God's person and promises; remember past acts of God (through Scripture) and past acts of God for us and others in our lives (through a prayer journal, exaltation time); focus on what God has promised to do for us in the future

Ro 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. 

Habakkuk is commanded to write a song of “woes” because of the impending judgment against Babylon.  2:6 "Will not all of these take up a taunt-song against him, Even mockery and insinuations against him … Woe to him who increases what is not his … 9 "Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house … 12 "Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed And founds a town with violence! … 15 "Woe to you who make your neighbors drink, Who mix in your venom even to make them drunk So as to look on their nakedness! … 19 Woe to him who says to a piece of wood, 'Awake!' To a dumb stone, 'Arise!' … 20 "But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him."

King of holiness - God is separate, distinct and different from all other gods (He alone is the one God who answers prayer; He answers prayer not for our benefit, but so that His glory is increased)
In response, we should:  prayerfully make specific requests for God's glory to be displayed



By being faithful in the various attributes of God, we can have some real, tangible benefits, particularly when we are in difficult situations.

A.        A healthy fear of God.  3:2 LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear.

            In order to have a healthy fear of God, we need to recognize the magnificent power of God.  See 3:3-15  His splendor covers the heavens, And the earth is full of His praise. 4 His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power. 5 Before Him goes pestilence, And plague comes after Him…the perpetual mountains were shattered, The ancient hills collapsed. His ways are everlasting…You did cleave the earth with rivers. 10 The mountains saw You and quaked…The deep uttered forth its voice, It lifted high its hands. 11 Sun and moon stood in their places; They went away at the light of Your arrows, At the radiance of Your gleaming spear. 12 In indignation You did march through the earth; In anger You did trample the nations. 13 You did go forth for the salvation of Your people, For the salvation of Your anointed. You did strike the head of the house of the evil To lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah. 14 You did pierce with his own spears The head of his throngs.

B.         God's mercy.  3:2 O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy.

C.        Peace.  3:16 I heard and my inward parts trembled, At the sound my lips quivered. Decay enters my bones, And in my place I tremble. Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, when He comes up onto the people, He will invade them with His troops. 17 Though 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,

D.        Rejoicing.  3:18 Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds' feet, And makes me walk on my high places.

E.         Reward. 2:4 "Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith. Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Rom 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:

  1. Which of God's attributes are most difficult to be faithful in?
  2. What can we do today to prepare a correct response to a future situation of evil or tragedy (they will usually come as a surprise)?
  3. What do you do if a seemingly unrighteous situation has continued in your life for a really long time?
  4. Have you been able to tie God's attributes to difficult situations in your life?  If not, what steps can you take?
  5. Is there a situation of injustice in your life which you have not responded properly to?