- Continuing to Trust
- Habakkuk 3
- Lyndol Loyd October 26, 2020
Habakkuk 3: Continuing to Trust
Well, if you’ve ever faced a very difficult situation and you just knew God could do something about it, but God didn’t do something about it, and that confused you, then you very likely will relate to the story of an Old Testament prophet, whose name is Habakkuk.
Let me just kind of review the foundation of the story of the book of Habakkuk, written somewhere around the year 600 B.C., Habakkuk was one of the twelve Minor Prophets. Now, his story is a little bit different. The Minor Prophets all would represent God’s message to the people, but Habakkuk was the only prophet that actually represented the people’s message back to God.
Now, you may wonder why this took place. Well, God spoke to the prophet Habakkuk and said, “Go tell the people that they are corrupt, and that they are sinning, and that I am going to have to judge them for their sins.” And, most likely, Habakkuk would have said, “I don’t like that. I don’t want to tell my people in Judah that message, but God, You’re right. They are corrupt. They are vile. They are violent, and so, I understand.”
But, here is the part that wigged him out. God said, “What I am going to do is, I am going to use a group of people, who are much more evil than you, to destroy you.” And he’s going, “Well, uh er I don’t get that. Okay? I know that we are bad, but You are going to use these people known as the Babylonians? I mean, they’re the meanest, most violent, the most corrupt. They are cheaters. You are going to use the people much, much more horrible than us to destroy us? God, that doesn’t seem fair. In fact, God, we protest, and we would like to say we know You are supposed to be just, but that doesn’t seem just at all.”
If you’ve ever had an experience like that with God, where you thought, “God, this just doesn’t seem fair,” very likely, you will relate the story of Habakkuk. Be honest. How many of you have ever had a time like that with God? A bunch of you would say, “Yeah. I can relate to this type of time.”
We’ve called it in our series what black would be called, a CRISIS OF BELIEF. “Oh, my gosh, I thought God, but it’s not, so what do we do?” A lot of people want to go immediately back to their last point of spiritual high. Others, though, say, “Okay, God. If that’s how it’s going to be, either You’re not good or You’re not really there, so forget You, God. I want to go back to life without You.” And that’s what happens to a lot of different people. They hit a crisis of belief.
Chapter One, that’s where Habakkuk is living. “God, I don’t understand.” Chapter Two, he goes into what we would call a season of waiting. In Chapter Two, God says to him, “Be quiet and listen. I want to speak.” God says, “Take notes. Write this down, because that way, you can document what I’ve shown you. And then, wait and wait and wait and wait. And even though things on the outside aren’t getting any better, Habakkuk is waiting on God.
In Chapter Three, we are going to see something very beautiful and powerful and that is, even though the circumstances don’t change, Habakkuk’s faith and worship of God goes to a new level.
The New Testament way of actually representing this principle, it’s found in James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete without lacking anything.”
A lot of people want to have this very real intimate faith with God, but don’t recognize that God will often use the struggle to prove His faithfulness and bring it to a Chapter Three type of faith.
With that foundation laid, let’s dive into Habakkuk 3:2, “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”
He’s saying, “God, I, I remember, I’ve heard about Your miracles. I’ve heard about Your power. I’ve heard about Your glory. I remember them, but God, You’re not doing it right now.”
Being completely transparent, I could tell you that there are seasons in my past where God’s presence seemed more real than at other times, and there were seasons where His power seemed more evident. It was like God was doing this, and God was doing that, and God was doing this and then all of a sudden, sometimes I wake up. I’m like, “God, I know You can, but You’re not. Renew what You used to do in our day. I know You can. God, do it again,” and that’s very much what he’s saying.
In fact, the Hebrew word that’s translated renew is the word chayah. It means revive. It means restore. “God, I remember when You used to do this. God, do it again. Do it again.”
What do you do when you are in a time of struggle? When circumstances aren’t changing or improving, how do you by faith get out of the struggle? Today, we are going to look at three things that Habakkuk, the prophet, does that we can apply directly to our lives.
- REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE We are going to look back and remember the faithfulness, the character, and the goodness of God. We are going to remember what God has done. And here’s what Habakkuk is going to do. He’s going to look at some very tangible and visible things that will trigger spiritual memories, because things can trigger memories.
For example, smells can trigger memories. I don’t know if you are like this or not, but whenever I smell fresh baked bread I immediately think of my Aunt Elane and her homemade yeast rolls. It takes me straight to Thanksgiving dinner.
It could be a song. If I hear the song, “You Are My Sunshine” it takes me immediately back to rocking my girls when they were babies, reading books to them and then singing that song before I would put them down to bed.
I don’t know what it is, but you know, there’s those certain things that trigger your memories, and this is what Habakkuk’s going to do as he goes down a memory journey with the goodness and of the power of God.
- 3, he says, “God came down from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.” Now, you might be scratching your head going, “What does this place mean?” Well, to God’s people, they would know exactly what it meant, because whenever God delivered the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, He parted the Red Sea. They went through. The sea closed up. The Egyptians drowned, and God took His people to this very place. It was this place that they found refuge and started to become a new people of God again, and so he’s saying, “I remember that place!”
Just as God would often have people build an altar to remember who God is and what He did. Or, in the New Testament, we take the blood, and we take the bread to remember what Jesus did, and this is what Habakkuk is doing.
- 4-6, he says this. “His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. 5 Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps. 6 He stood, and shook the earth;he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed — but he marches on forever.”
And then here’s what Habakkuk does. You can read in your own Bible verses 7 through 15. He goes through this very detailed explanation of remembering when God displayed His glory and power through nature. In fact, you could almost imagine saying, “God, I remember some times. You just have to remember. I remember when You guided Your people by fire and by a cloud, and I remember when You fed us with bread from Heaven. And I remember when the waters parted and we walked through, and I remember when You shook the earth and the walls came tumbling down, and I remember when You used torrential rains to defeat the enemy, and I remember when You used pestilence and plagues. God, I remember what You’re capable of. Renew those deeds in our day.”
Whenever I am in the middle of the struggle, sometimes I just have to remember. I just have to remember. I go back to who I know God is. When I don’t see Him, I remember what He’s done in the past.
Sometimes, you just have to remember who He is and what He’s done. It doesn’t have to be that dramatic. For those of you who’ve been believers for any amount of time, I guarantee you, if you think, God will show you some things He’s done. It could be the time where you just didn’t know what to do and you came to church, and it might as well have been just been you and God, because every word that was spoken, it was like it was just divinely inspired just for you. You can remember that.
Maybe it was the time where you were hurting and you turned on the radio and there was this song that it was like, it was like God’s message to you. Or, it could have been something as simple as one day, you were reading in the Bible and you came across a verse, and you were like, “Oh, my goodness. If this verse was ever for anyone, it must have been for me,” and you remember what God did. It could have been as simple as when you were hurting and there was someone there who prayed for you, and you knew, you know God sent that person for you. You just go back.
What do you do when you are in the middle of the struggle? You remember what God has done. “God, I remember Your glory and Your deeds and Your power. Renew them in Your day. I know You’ve done it before, God, and I believe You can do it again.”
- YOU ACCEPT WHAT GOD IS DOING. Now, this doesn’t mean that you just have to roll over and play dead and not pray for a miracle. If God has directly spoken as He did with Habakkuk, if God has spoken and said it is so, then you accept what God has said, because too many Christians don’t. They are what I call hits Christian, h-i-t-s. You want to know what a hits Christians is? I’ll show you.
Hits stands for “head in the sand.” Too many Christians put their head in the sand. When the doctor says, “Hey, your health’s not very good. You need to make some changes.” Instead of facing the truth, they just put their head in the sand. When their marriage is in trouble and their spouse says, “Hey, we need counseling,” they go, “Eh, it’ll work out,” and they put their head in the sand. Sometimes when finances are bad, people say, “But I want the house. I want the house.” So, they buy the house on faith, and they put their head in the sand. When the storm is coming, some Christians don’t prepare. They don’t face the truth. They just put their head in the sand, and maybe God is saying to you, “Pull your head out.”
Too many people, we just, we deny the reality of what’s going on. That doesn’t mean we can’t pray for a miracle. Yes, we can, and should, but if God has spoken clearly, then we have to accept what God is doing even if we don’t like it, and you can see this come about in Habakkuk. He looked truth squarely in the face and said, “This is not going to be a fun season. A lot of innocent people are going to die. Probably me, probably those that I love, and I don’t like it, but I trust God, even though I don’t fully understand.” It’s not a denial. It’s not a denial, but he says, “The sovereign hand of God is doing something here. God has spoken, and so I’ll accept what He is doing, as difficult as it is for me to accept.”
Sometime, something is going to happen that we don’t like, and it’s already happened, and we have to accept what has happened. You remember what God has done. You accept what God is doing.
- TRUST WHAT GOD IS GOING TO DO.
We remember what He did, we accept what He is doing, and we trust what He is going to do, and this is found very, very clearly in V. 17-18, “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.”
In your life, it may be that “Even though my spouse said ‘til death do us part and didn’t live up to the word, I will still rejoice in the Lord my God. Even though I raised my kids to know better, and they’re making very scary decisions right now, yet will I trust in the Lord my God. Even though we’ve prayed physically for someone to get better and they’ve actually gotten worse, yet I will trust in the Lord my God. Even though our house will not sell and we are on the line, I will yet trust in the Lord my God. Even though finances are tough, yet I will trust in the Lord my God. Even though I don’t like it, even though I don’t understand it, even though I know He could and He should, but He’s not, yet will I trust in the Lord my God.”
I pray every single one of you would grow to have what I call a Habakkuk Chapter Three Type of Faith, but here’s the deal. You can’t have a Chapter Three type faith until you’ve had a Chapter One type of question, and a Chapter Two kind of waiting, because God can do more spiritually in the middle of the struggle in the valley than He does on the mountaintop, and those who are closest to God, they’ve been through this.
- 19 He says, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.”
When you do the Habakkuk, what does his name mean? It means to embrace. It means to wrestle. Even when you are in the struggle and you don’t understand, you continue to embrace God, even perhaps, wrestle with Him. You embrace Him, and even though He may not change the outward circumstances, or He may, He will take you spiritually to a new place of trust, new heights.