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Hope-Giving Love

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2021 9:00 am

Hope-Giving Love

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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April 28, 2021 9:00 am

At some point or another, we’ve all asked the question, “Where was God when my life went wrong?” But Pastor J.D. explains how we can have hope that will carry us through the painful seasons.

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With Jenny Greer for those you feel like God is nowhere to be found.

As you feel like the situation is hopeless. For those of you who are angry or maybe even worse, numb toward God.

I want you to find hope. I want to give you pep talk.

I want you to find real hope. The Bible teaching ministry of Pastor Arthur and theologian JD Greer. I'm your host Molly made a batch yet one point or another.

We all ask this question. Where was God when my life went wrong he was when you lost a job or your marriage fell apart or loved one died in Jesus are you might've been pretty angry with God today. Pastor JD helps us wrestle with those doubts and find hope to carry us through the painful seasons part of our series called come back to me to catch up on previous messages go to Jenny but for today we are turning to the Old Testament book of Habakkuk to learn about love that Paris Habakkuk is the fourth in our series of five minor prophets that we are looking at Habakkuk lived and prophesied around around the year 600 BC. It was a time when things were unraveling fast in the in the southern kingdom of Israel, which called Judah you know anything about Israel's history they gone to a Civil War.

The northern kingdom in the southern kingdom have split up the northern kingdom had a series of really, really bad, and rebellious kings. And so they were carried off into exile by Assyria in 722 but then after that Judah began to enter its own series of bad political leaders in a time of spiritual decline and so God had absent a drought that devastated the land to the point that their fields were producing little to no fruit. Their cattle had all either been starved to death or or been stolen. Habakkuk will describe the situation himself and in chapter 3 verse 17 and terms are very diuresis of the fig tree shall not blossom there there there are no fruit on the vines.

The produce of the olive will fail the fields yield no food. The flock is cut off from the folding. There is no herd in the stalls, things are as bad in Judah and Israel say they they ever have been, but the point was the region of Judah was was undergoing a starvation level social collapse think a Europe after World War II were something like that in addition to that, the Babylonians presented a looming threat and God had told Habakkuk and other prophets that Babylon would soon invade the southern kingdom they would destroy it and they would carry the rest of the survivors away captive and so Habakkuk understandably looks a God says God how we can make it, which leads to a second question that Habakkuk asked for this book and that is God, where are you now thought you loved us what listen to Habakkuk's opening statement. Listen see if you relate to this old Lord, how long shall I cry for help, you will not hear. How long will I cry out to you. Violence is be done for me and you don't say why do you look idly at wrong.

You see the word idly never feel like that in relation to God like God seems to just sit idly by while you suffering sometimes even say God are you even there I'm an amateur, unprintable God is listening. Sometimes life feels like you're in the middle of a really depressing TV series your get into one of those some shows where everything is one long and you start to wonder how can this show possibly ever turn around and end up with some kind a happy ending but you think you have faith, but surely the writers surely the writers will come up with some way to pull it back around to the end and it all makes sense, but many wonder what they don't want to make. There's no happy ending. Maybe there's no resolution to this.

Maybe there's nothing that comes out of the pain for good. There's no redeeming purpose and all that's happened which leads to 1/3 question that Habakkuk asked that we ask God how is this fair Babylon who was on the causes are all these problems was much more wicked and godless nation that Israel was so Habakkuk asked God how is it fair that we go through this wild Babylon gets off Scott free. Listen to what Habakkuk says in chapter 1 it's it's bold you who are purer eyes than to see evil.

You can even look at rock.

So why do you look idly again that word. Why do you sit around and look at traders and remain silent while the wicked people swallow up the man who is is more righteous than he did you ever feel like that, why is it that this person seem to get off and they didn't go through what you went through it.

You're the one who withdrawn. Be faithful in your the one he was try to do things right, but but you seem to be the one that's experiencing all the hardship those are three questions that I would think that every single one of us ask. I certainly about those have multiple points in my life. The book of Habakkuk is unusual in that it's not a sermon written to the nation. Like most of the other prophets. Some minor prophets gave instead this is a conversation between Habakkuk and God that Habakkuk wrote down later for us in the book Habakkuk is going to present a series of complaints after he gives his complaints is going to say I liked what he says in chapter 2 I will take my stand now, my watch posts and station myself on the tower.

I will look out to see what God will say to me and I will look to see what what he will answer me concerning my complaint, then God to give them an answer and then Bacchus can argue back with God and the guys in Antrim again flexes cosmic muscles a little bit Bacchus, shut up and as he does. He's an offer one of the greatest statements of faith ever recorded in the Bible the shape of Habakkuk's book is supposed to teach us something.

It's supposed to show us what the internal growth of faith in our hearts.

Looks like you see several portions of your Old Testament like this. A lot of times people don't realize that as they read it.

I'm certain books of the Old Testament, rather than just telling you what God says what the writer does as he opens up his heart and let you learn from his faith struggle Habakkuk's book. For that reason is at times uncomfortably candid, you'll say things and also you be like.

Can you say that the God and you could learn a lesson from not just right here the beginning God is okay with your struggles and he is okay with your questions. When Habakkuk question God God and snap back with.

How dare doubt talk us to me that way about worm Habakkuk. He actually seems to welcome Habakkuk's questions of me think about it got even saw fit to record this in the Bible to its reserve for future generations so that we could learn from his questions and learn to see faith developed in our hearts the way that they grow up, and Habakkuk's arts you see Habakkuk B. Doubt is one of the most common tools of God uses to drive us deeper into faith. It is true that doubt can drive you and this is happen with some of you doubt can drive you backwards into despair and unbelief, but it's also true that your never to take a step forward until you pick that foot up and so what God does is he sent situations in your life situations like what Habakkuk went through where you say God I don't understand this and that is God's tool to drive you deeper into faith. Doubt happens when the superficialities of your faith meet the realities of this world and it's not that there are questions that cannot be answered. It's that there are questions of faith that your experience and we had gone deep enough with God and God needs to rally you to get you to go deeper with him so that you can see that is deeper and better than the pain he's broader and more wise than the question you're asking and is more joy for more secure than anything you're hoping for in life, Bacchus faith was fragile, as are many of the as is. Many of our faith and I will try to strengthen it and that's what you see happen in this book that member years ago I read the story about a missionary named Alan Gardner was an English missionary one of the very first to get shipwreck off a remote island off the coast of South America in route to be one of the first first people to start a new mission work on the continent of South America. Well, after a ship that shook shipwreck they they try to stick it out may try to wait for somebody to come and rescue them but but nobody came. And finally they they died of starvation before his ministry ever really begin several months later the that that the rescuers finally discovered where they had been shipwreck debate. They discovered the body of of Gardner with this is personal journal was was tucked underneath his body so they pulled out they notice the last thing inscribed in it was Psalm 3410. Those that seek the Lord will lack no good thing, and underneath that verse was this final phrase. I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God. There was a pin discount of lying there beside it was the last thing that he written were the last thoughts he had before he died. Most of us here that I read that and you think goodness of God. How would you talk about the goodness of God at a time like that. Is that what you would been thinking about what you've been saying things to God like God. I'm scared. I'm angry guy why you forsaken me I was just trying to do what you wanted to see Alan Gardner knew the secret that Habakkuk new nuts. What I want to share with you because it's a power that will not only give you strength in these kinds of tragic moments.

It's a strength that will literally infuse into your life.

A supernatural strength for every moment is sometimes referred to as the power of hope and it is the most powerful, most shaping force on the planet. The ending of share with you before there was a legendary experiment conducted at Johns Hopkins University several years ago in which a researcher was trying to determine how long rats could swim before they drown. What he discovered was that you just took rats and then threw them in the water and let them swim in a in a bathtub. They can only make about 10 minutes before they they gave up strength and they just made the ground, but he discovered that if during that 10 minutes I get this if during that 10 minutes he simply pick them up and lifted them out of the water for five or six seconds and then put them back in if he did that three times in the first 10 minutes.

Then the rats could swim with some of this for more than 60 hours to get that changing no factor except the introduction of hope gave the rats the ability to swim more than 100 times longer than they were able to without it missing. My purpose is to give God's Summit church rats hope to keep swimming. For those you feel like God is nowhere to be found. Those you feel like the situation is hopeless. For those of you who are angry or maybe even worse, numb toward God. I want you to find hope. I want to give you pep talk.

I want you to find real hope that is expressed in times like this, so let's start with personal Habakkuk's complaint there and in chapter 1 Habakkuk question you realizes really an age-old problem the world and seem to be seem like it's been ruled by a good all wise all-powerful God philosophers call this the problem of evil may trace this question all the way back to 1/5 century BC Greek philosopher named Epicurus and basically Epicurus at it this way. If God really is all-powerful, he could stop all the evil and if God is really all loving that he would want to stop all the evils of the fact that pain and suffering and injustice and evil run rampant on the earth means that God is either not all-powerful or not good. My shortened version of that. But always say is if he's good. He would if he could he should since means the end is an age-old problem but here we see that Habakkuk framed it long before Epicurus did, which by the way, to me, as a comfort because were not asking new questions. We haven't philosophically stumbled on something that is a blind spot in the Bible the earliest Bible writers are asking that question. I don't see how a good and wise and powerful, loving God is actually ruling the world. That's how Habakkuk's complaint here is God's answer. It's got to be a little bit in chapter 1, then later in chapter 2. It got four components. I'll show you the first component. God says chapter 1 verse five pieces look among the nations and see wonder and be astonished.

I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if you were told in other words I'm doing something absolutely amazing. Through these things back. I got a much bigger plan than you realize. In the invasion of the Babylonians. I want to set up a situation that will more clearly revealed display the rescuing work that my son is going to to do when he saves the earth that is beyond anything you could understand this moment to the point that you wouldn't even believe it.

If I told you, but it's got a lead to my glory and the lead to your ultimate salvation.

And that's the second thing chapter 2 verse 14 for the earth. He says will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord is the waters cover the sea. This bigger thing that I'm doing is uncovering the earth with the knowledge of my glory, which may not seem to you like it says it is important as having heard in your stalls and in your and your your your crops growing, but but dad is going to be ultimately your salvation, and a lot of other people. Salvation this turn of events is gonna lead to a lot more people coming to know me. Third part of his answer. Chapter 2 verse four the righteous shall live by his faith. In other words, Habakkuk, easier to walk with me in the world this going to have to be by faith, which means that you're going to acknowledge that there are a number of things that you're probably not to be able to see it is what it means wall by faith. You will by faith not by sight. When you walk in my side, it means you don't have faith when you're walking by faith means, by definition, there are certain things you can't see fourth component of his answer.

Verse 20 of chapter 2 the Lord is in his holy temple at all the earth keep silent before him. What all the earth keep silent before him.

The last thing God does is gives Habakkuk a vision of himself sitting high on a throne above it all and he says Habakkuk a bond still on my throne, then you can trust me with with unanswered questions.

Let's go philosophical for a minute.

If we if we could.

Is it possible for a good God to allow something painful when he could stop it is little philosophy book I'm reading right now that presents the scenario. So imagine a commando in World War II gets dropped behind enemy lines and he poses as a German officer so we can get into a concentration camp and plant a bomb that will destroy the gas chambers.

Now imagine that is, he is mingling with other German officers. He sees a soldier preparing to execute a prisoner. Now that is an evil he could stop by simply shooting the soldier right but at what cost would it come he might save one soldier might say one person, but his mission is to save many many more lives will be lost in the long run if he prevented the individual death but didn't stop the gas chambers from destroying thousands. So is it possible for a good person to allow something evil, even though he or she could stop it. Yes of course it is you might allow a lesser evil in order to prevent an even greater one to my point is simply this, is it possible for a good person to allow something painful to happen if they know something better will come out of it and the answer of course we all say is yes, then is it not possible that a lot of the pain that God allows us to go through on earth might also be like that, might it be that our pain in our lives will yield a greater and happier eternity.

That's what God says there chapter 2 my my my glory, my knowledge of my glory is covering the world and there should be something better that comes out of this, but you probably would be able to understand if I've explained it to you because it's just beyond the perspective of what you can see which is also a question people as they say well, but I can't see any good coming out of this leave us all the silver lining, or I saw the rhyme or reason to be able to endure it better just because you can't see a good minute inhabiting the lead illustrated is this, that if I asked you right now at your campus. Is there an elephant in the auditorium of full-grown elf you could pretty quickly look around and with a reasonable amount of certainty say no. There is no elephant. If you can't see one, it's reasonable to conclude that the elephant is not there in the auditorium inner city men. But if I said you are there any lights in the building that you were sitting in what you take a quick look around and say no but if you say no. Just because you can't see one, then that confidence might be unwarranted. The person right in front of you right just you a foot and 1/2 in front of you could have a head full of it. By the way, the next person reaches up and scratches their head is going to be really really suspicious so suspend that for just a minute right just because you just as you can't see it when it's something like that. Your eyesight is just not good enough to be able to perceive things that might be there in the hundreds. The point is understanding all of the purposes of an all wise God might be more like locating fleas than spotting elephants is like John Piper pastors preacher before, says that at any given point. God is doing about 10,000 different things in your life and you are aware of about three of them.

The vast majority of your just not quite aware of faith to trust God with that is God on his throne.

That's the fundamental question we got answer which then leads into Habakkuk's great statement of faith which is like I said one of the greatest ever recorded in the Bible there's life-giving Hobie starts and in verse one, chapter 3, verse 10 Lord I heard a report about you and your work will Lord do I fear your work. I'm thinking about you. You are. I'm also thinking about the things that you have done so in the next 15 verses he's gonna recount the Exodus in its its poetic language, but if you look at the imagery the metaphors it's very clearly talking about the Exodus was the Old Testament's ultimate picture of salvation they had experienced the cross yet so they when they thought about salvation. They thought about the Exodus look at the different phrases that it uses his brightness was like a light raise flash from his hand, which is a clear reference to what God how God revealed himself at Mount Sinai when he descended there and he met with Israel before him went pestilence and plagues followed at his heel reference to the 10 plagues that he used to do shake Egypt so that he would liberate Israel. The mountains saw you when they arrived. The raging water swept on the DVD for the boys and lifted its hands on hi that's up reference to the splitting of the Red Sea that that brought them through, and then again when he split the Jordan River to take them into the promised land.

The sun and the moon stood still in their place at the flash of your glittering spear.

That's a reference to when Joshua told the sun to stand still, so that God would enable them to fight and win the battle that you went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed you crush the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bear from thigh that the neck that's a reference to when God brought the most powerful man in the world Pharaoh to his knees by by by killing his old assignment and in bringing the entire empire of Egypt to its knees three meditate for 15 verses meditates on the Exodus and that meditation is good. Remind him of several things. First, in reality there is what EE comes up with.

This is really important. You know it's kind of hard to grasp just verses we are not really innocent people were suffering in the any Exodus, God was delivering his people from slavery and their captivity in Egypt was a picture of the self-imposed slavery of sin is to God and created us to suffer. We as a race brought that on ourselves by rejecting God, a rebellion that all of us in the human race have participated in all of us are said got a brother rule my life the way I want to see fit them how you want to see fit, not let me be really really clear your unwanted anybody get confused. I am not saying that particular bad things in your life are happening directly because you send at some point, as if God is say that you did this when you were in high school, pay you back for that directly because of of what you've done.

I'm not saying that in Scripture never tells you to think that that way. What I'm saying is that suffering in general exist in the world because the human race. Sin, a rebellion which we all participated in, which means that none of us can ever really point our finger in God and say I don't deserve any of this RC unwarranted eternal death to the fact that you woke up this morning and experienced sunshine on your face and wrap in your lungs is a bestowal of mercy in Luke chapter 13 there's a one of Jesus is most politically incorrect stories.

There was evidently in Israel time there been a tragedy where this tower had fallen over and it killed 18 Israelites and so the disciples and the good Jesus alone there like a Jesus was this like God paint were these more wicked than other people in Israel like her 18 especially bad people.

God happen to see them all the same place at the same time about now's my chance and push the tower brought up that what was going on there. Not Jesus's response to him. It's jarring is Jesus said no not know what was happening, but I see the truth unless you repent you will all likewise perish. In other words, the question is not why did the tower fall on those 18.

The question is what in the tower fall on you.

That's the question you see we come to God with this question of like why are bad things happening to good people, and God says what actually the whole world is under the condemnation of death because of their sin. So the question is not why do bad things happen to good people acquire good things still happening. The bad people, you need to reverse that question by RC Sproul and theologian was one time why do bad things happen to good people. Is it well when I when I meet a good people.

I'll let you know. So what Habakkuk does is he just reflects on the fact that yet this world is in the condition is an we experience a lot of the suffering because the human races and the matter was over deserve every good gift from the sun shining and the breath in her lungs to salvation through Jesus, is an abundance of God's mercy we have much to be thankful for today when you agree you're listening to Summit life in a message titled hope getting lath from Pastor JD Greer to listen again. Visit us and just a quick reminder this is the last week that we have our newest devotional resource available so you don't want to miss your opportunity to get Pastor JD's.

What is the gospel 20 day devotional recently asked JD what we should expect to take away from his latest back and here's what he said my my wife always finds a surprising how much I actually Joyce devotionals that I like the little, bite sized things that in three or four minutes I can get my mind around the concept of something. Meditate on throughout the day. It's one of the reasons we produce this watch two things are what is the gospel 20 day devotional and also a Scripture notebook that takes you to the gospel of John, with wide margins in line pages for notes beside every every part of the text is designed to help you get into the Scriptures more deeply and to give you something to do, meditate on. Does this so can the gospel every day. I would like to give you these as a tool for growing in the Christian life, and growing deeper in the gospel. If you go to JD you can find out how you can get a copy of each of these invite you to become a gospel partner with us and what you not just here receive the gospel for yourself but you also become a part of helping get that to others. As JD said we'd love for you to take a look at this new resource and join hands with us today by becoming a gospel partner as a gospel partner, your monthly getting is automated so you don't have to worry about writing a check or visiting the website every month to get you can just relax knowing that God is using your gift to help reach more people with the gospel. Gospel partners are the lifeblood of this ministry which really couldn't do it without you think you as a token of our gratitude, we select different books and resources to send you each month, many of which are produced exclusively for our son and my right now were featuring the 20 day devotional title the gospel, perfect work, you're on your own share with someone else today gospel partner.

When you make a generous donation to get this resource. I think I will go online to JD I'm only inviting you to join us today right here on Senate

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