- When You’re in the Waiting Room
- Habakkuk 2
- Lyndol Loyd October 19, 2020
Habakkuk: When You’re in the Waiting Room Habakkuk 2
Good morning Church. This morning we are going forward in our message series on the Old Testament book of Habakkuk, with the subtitle being “A Journey Toward Hope.” Habakkuk is one of the twelve Minor Prophets and his name actually means to embrace or to wrestle.
In fact, if you weren’t here last week, I’ll kind of review. Habakkuk was written in about the year 600 or so B.C., and God told the prophet Habakkuk, “Tell your people I am going to have to destroy them because they are wicked”. And chances are, Habakkuk might have said, “Well, you’re right. They are,” and that seems relatively fair, but God added a little twist to the end and He said, “What I am going to do is, I am going to raise up the Babylonians to destroy these people,” and Habakkuk said, “Huh? Hang on a second. You’re going to raise up whom?”
You see, the Babylonians, they were much more evil than the people of Judah, and God said, “I’m going to use these really evil people to destroy you lesser evil people,” and Habakkuk basically said, “I don’t like that idea.” In fact, as you read this book, Habakkuk is going to say, “God, You know I worship You, and You know I’m going to honor You, but what You’re doing does not seem fair.”
Today, if you are facing something and you say, “I don’t understand, God. You could do something about this. If I were You, I would, but you’re not. I don’t understand.” If that’s the way You feel about any situation today, or maybe one day, then I’m certain the book of Habakkuk will speak to you.
The question we are going to wrestle with today is, “What do you do when you’re in the middle of a struggle?” Maybe there was something that felt like God could do that God should do, and everything would be okay, but God didn’t, and all of a sudden, they’re right here going, “Wait a minute, God, I thought You were going to be like this, but now, You’re not doing what You could,” and they experience a CRISIS OF BELIEF. Now, wait a minute. “I thought it was going to be like this, God. Why aren’t You doing what I know You could?”
We learned last week that the name Habakkuk, it actually means to embrace or to wrestle. If a person who comes to a point of crisis in their faith, if they will continue to embrace God, or even wrestle with Him through the difficult times, things may not get better, yet.
They may even continue to get worse, but this believer can live out the New Testament principle, where the book of James 1:2-4 says, “To 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, making you mature and complete so that you do not lack anything.”
To the believer who will continue to embrace God, even though things may not get any better at first, this person can grow much closer to God than they were in the past. In fact, if you look very closely at those who are closest to God, they are often those who have been through the most difficult times, and God has proven Himself faithful.
What do you do when you are in the midst of the struggle? Today, we will let the book of Habakkuk speak to us about three specific things that we can do while we struggle. These three things will come from the first three verses of Habakkuk 2.
Here’s what Habakkuk says. He’s just heard the news that God is going to destroy his people, using the evil Babylonians, and so he says, “Okay, here’s my plan”. V. 1, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts, and I will look to see what God will say to me and what answer I am to give to this complaint.”
- 2-3, The Lord speaks up. “The Lord replied: ‘Write down the revelation and make it plain on the tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time. It speaks of an end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it. It will certainly come and not delay.”
What do you do when you are in the middle of the struggle? When you know that God could do something, but He’s not, and He just doesn’t seem fair and life just doesn’t make sense and you’re wondering, “God, where are You? What are you doing?”
- WE STOP AND LISTEN In fact, if you look at what Habakkuk did, basically, he said, “God, I don’t like this. I’m complaining to You,” and the beautiful thing is, God seemed to respectfully hear this. It was as if God was saying, “Sure. You’re allowed to wrestle with Me,” and He says, “I don’t like what You’re doing. I’ve stated my case. Now, God, it’s Your turn to reply. I need some answers. God, what do You have to say for Yourself?”
He says, “I’m going to climb upon the wall, and I am going to look to see what God is doing,” and he says this. “I will look to see what God will say to me.” God, what’s going on here?
Too often, what we do is, we just whine about what’s going on and then we go on about our lives. Many of us, we never stop to listen. “God, what are You saying?” You see, here’s a beautiful thing about God. God is a relational God, who loves to speak to His children. God is a God who speaks, and if you will stop to listen, God will often speak to you.
How will He speak? All sorts of different ways. God can speak audibly. I’ve never heard His audible voice, but I know people who have, and I believe that He can. God can also speak through His word. Every single day, He can speak to you through His word. God can speak to you through circumstances. If you look around, God can speak to you through other people. God will often speak to you, and sometimes, He won’t, because He is God.
Now, here’s the deal. If you will listen to Him, and if He will speak to you, you may not like what He says. Habakkuk’s not going to like it. He’s not going to … “Oh, this wasn’t what I was looking for, God.” But at least when He speaks, you will know exactly where God stands, and so you stop and say, “God, I don’t understand. I don’t like it. This doesn’t make sense. Speak.” And if you are silent before Him, God will often speak to you. Now, if He says something that you don’t like, you know where you stand, and you know what God is up to.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul, he had what was known as a thorn in his side, or in his flesh, and he prayed over and over again. “God, I know You can do something about it. Please do. Take it away. Remove it.” Three times, he begged, “God, I’m pleading with You. Take it away. I’m pleading with You. Take it away. I’m pleading with You. Take it away.”
God said basically, “I could, but I’ve decided not to. No. My answer to you is no. Why? Because I am going to do something even better than take it away, and you may not understand, but I am going to teach you that My grace is all that you need. You see, I could do that, but I’m not going to, because I’m going to do something different inside of you.” When you don’t understand, and when you are in the dip, you stop and you listen and let God speak to you.
- YOU WRITE. The second thing that you do in the struggle is, you write. You write what God shows you. Habakkuk said, “Where are You? What’s going on?” and God said, “You want to know? Habakkuk, take notes.” Okay?
This is what God said in V. 2. “The Lord replied, ‘Habakkuk, write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” Why does God want us to write it down? Well, he was going to say to Habakkuk, “Years later, when I prove Myself just and true, I want it in writing so everyone can see that I am a God of My word.”
Now, it’s also for our benefit, too, because if you are like me and your wife has ever sent you to the grocery store with maybe only two things to remember, something happens on the way there and you can mess it up, even though you’ve only got two things. Write it down so that you will remember and you don’t have to call for the two item list.
When God says something to you, you want to record it, because your spiritual enemy is an expert at stealing the seeds of truth that God wants to plant. God may show you something. When I write it down and it becomes a spiritual anchor that, “yes, I believe that God has spoken,” and I’ve got a reference point to go back to. If you haven’t ever tried keeping a journal, now might be a great time to do so.
What do you do? What do you do, when you hit this crisis of belief? “Where are You, God? I don’t understand.” You stop and you listen. “God, what are You saying? God, where are You?” Then, when He shows you anything at all, document it. Record it. Write it down.
- YOU WAIT. Waiting can be awkward. I know that I don’t like to wait. I like to see things happen. I like to keep things moving. Most of us are by nature that way. We are so into instant return, instant gratification, and many of us, we don’t like to wait. We don’t want to wait.
Yet, watch what God says to the prophet in V.3 He says, “The revelation, it awaits an appointed time; it speaks of an end, and it will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; and it will certainly come and will not delay.”
When God promises something, you may have to wait a while, but you can take His promise to the bank. Some of you right now, you are in the waiting zone. You believe God has shown you something. You’ve recorded it, and now, you’re waiting and you are waiting and you are waiting and you are waiting, and you are afraid that it will not come to pass.
Remember this. God’s delays are not God’s denials. When God has promised something, it will come to pass. When you look through scripture, you can see example after example after example of people. God would promise something and then they’d wait.
- “Moses, I’m going to use you to deliver God’s people and rebuild the nation,” and then Moses goes on a forty-year wandering tour. Forty years. That’s like two hundred and something cat years, which couldn’t be good for anything at all, being forty, forty years. What does he do? [knocking] Wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and then God brings it to pass.
- God says, “You are going to be a great leader.” What happens? His brothers beat the snot out of him. Throw him into a pit. Sell him into slavery. He spends two years in prison, and it’s years before God fulfills the promise and elevates him to second in charge over all of Egypt.
- The apostle Paul has a vision, meets Christ. He’s transformed. He says, “I’m called to preach. That’s what I’m here to do. This is all. I am compelled to preach the Gospel. This is the one thing I’m here to do,” and it’s thirteen years before He ever says, “Open your Bible and turn to this.” Thirteen years before he gets to preach his very first message.
You, sometimes, you just wait. Now, here is what happens. A lot of people think, “Okay. I’m waiting, so I’m stuck right here. When they think of waiting, they think of no movement. What does a waiter do? A waiter serves, right? Here’s what you do when you’re waiting. You are serving the Lord the whole time. It doesn’t mean there is no movement.
In fact, there may be more movement when you are waiting than ever before. You are serving the Lord. Whatever you do, you do it unto the glory of God. You continue to wait on Him, and you serve Him. You see, even when you don’t understand, you continue to serve Him, and you wait on Him, and you serve Him, and at the appointed time, the Hebrew word for appointed time is the word mow’ed [mo’ade]. What does it mean? It means an appointment or an affixed time.
At the mow’ed, it is coming. It’s kind of like a woman who is nine months pregnant. When it’s time, it’s time. Can’t stop it. When it is the mow’ed what that means is, there’s nothing you can do to speed it up, because it is God’s time. But there’s also nothing that anyone else can do to slow it down, because it is God’s time. Wait for it. Wait for it. Wait for it.
You want to know how long Habakkuk waited for it? A long, long, long time. In fact, most of his people didn’t even get to see it come about. It happened in the next generation, when God’s promise was fulfilled. Even if you do not see His promises fulfilled, they will be fulfilled, because God’s word is absolutely true.
Now, what happens when you’re living by faith, and in your lifetime, you still don’t see what you believe God promised. There’s three words that you have to remember, and you never let go of these three words. Remember on your journey toward intimacy and ultimate trust and faith will be the words “but the Lord”, and you will find these words in Habakkuk 2:20, when Habakkuk says, “Even though I understand, and even though I don’t like it, and even though I don’t really want to believe that this is what’s going to happen, he says, “But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.”
The Lord is still in charge. He is good. He is righteous. He is true. But, the Lord is still there. Even though everything else says what I don’t want to see, “But the Lord is in his holy temple,” and he says, “let all the earth be silent before him.
We will still believe. Why? Because we believe the Lord is in His temple, and because He is still on the throne, I will live by faith.” What do you do when you are in the dip? You listen; you record it, and you wait with everything in you, living by faith, because the Lord is in His holy temple.