Bible Study, Current Issues

Profiting from the Prophets–Habakkuk

The past several months have shown us the fortunes and misfortunes of our country.  We see moral decay abounding, abundance of wealth for some, political distention, conflict over values, wars and conflicts, etc.

As I have been studying and teaching several of the Prophets, I am again struck at how relevant and current those 2000-3000 year old prophets really are.

Habakkuk is a classic example.

Habakkuk looks around him and sees rampant sin and evil and questions God’s lack of action (Habakkuk 1:1-4).  He asks the natural question–“Why?”

While his challenge of God may not be the right response–I am challenged by his concern or consternation over sin.  And I have to ask myself, “Do I morn over sin?” “Am I becoming comfortable with the sin around me?”  “Have I become comfortable, accepting of my on sin?”

God responds to Habakkuk 1:5-11, in essence–“look out, I’m going to act; I’m bringing a foreign power to judge Israel.”

Not the answer Habakkuk had anticipated–he challenges God’s methods based on his understanding of God’s character (Habakkuk 1:12-2:1).

Here is another challenge.  Habakkuk is correct theologically in His understanding of God’s character, but God’s implementation of His plan is beyond Habakkuk’s perspective.  Which makes me ask, “Do I understand God?”  “I’m I willing to allow God to be God?” God’s methods are not always what we expect and He is more concern with accomplishing long term change which results in His glory than He is in fulfilling my demands.  God sees and paints the big picture.

So while Habakkuk is not pleased with God’s methods, God explains that He is in control and must be trusted (Habakkuk 2:2-20).  This section reminds us that God is patient with sinners but that sin must be dealt with.  And while most of this section is a statement of judgment to come on the Babylonians, God makes two theological statements which help us understand His plan and purpose.

Habakkuk 2:14
God’s goal–His glory.
Habakkuk 2:20
God’s control–man’s submission.

Habakkuk gets the message and responds with a humility and worship (Habakkuk 3:1-19).  Highlighted in this pray psalm is Habakkuk’s self-description–“I fear what is coming, but I will trust” (Habakkuk 3:2, 16).  His plea “Don’t abandon us, in wrath remember mercy.”   And his declaration “I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:19).

The challenge?  When we naturally or instinctively ask why?  when we face of uncertainty, or in the face of lose, or in the face of sin–we must trust God.
We must trust His justice.
We must trust His timing.
We must trust His methods.
We must trust His purpose.

The answer to our “why?” is usually not a comforting “because. . . ” but “who!”  And while we really want answer, God is more interested in use seeing Him than giving us answers.

So the answer to “why” is who.  Who is God, what is His character, what are His promises, what is His primary purpose?

Will I trust Him?
Will I worship Him?!

Author: Steve

Steve Kilgore joined the staff of Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA in the fall of 2002 as the Pastor of Discipleship to facilitate the equipping ministries, which include Adult Bible Fellowship and other adult discipleship ministries, and work with the rest of the education ministries. He currently serves as the Executive Pastor of Ministries with a focus on providing ministries that facility individuals taking intentional Next Steps for growing and participating in the leadership and administrative aspect at Calvary. He has also taught part-time at Lancaster Bible College in the area of Spiritual Formation and New Testament. Prior to coming to Calvary he served in two churches as well as taught part-time at Philadelphia Biblical University. He was born in Dallas, Texas, but spent the first 13 years of his life in Guatemala where his parents were missionaries. It was there at the age of four and a half that Steve placed his faith in Christ as his Savior. Steve received a Bachelor’s degree in Bible from Philadelphia College of Bible and a Masters of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve and his wife, Mary Anne, have their two boys, Andrew and Nathan (both in college), and live in East Lampeter Township. Steve lives and ministers by the personal motto, Know what you believe and why, live it, be able to defend it. His hobbies, other than playing with his family, include tinkering with computers, reading, drinking coffee with his wife, playing and watching basketball. Steve and Mary Anne are looking forward to exploring new hobbies as they transition to life as empty-nesters.

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