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The Integrity of Waiting . . . Not Worrying, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
January 28, 2022 7:05 am

The Integrity of Waiting . . . Not Worrying, Part 1

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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January 28, 2022 7:05 am

Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity

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Today on Insight for Living.

As one man wrote, the book begins with a sob and ends with a song. But nothing around Habakkuk has changed. People are still wicked. Justice is still perverted. Violence is still in the land.

People are doing the wrong thing. Nothing has changed. How can he be singing? Habakkuk has changed.

He's changed. Sometimes our impatience is driven by little things like waiting in a long line or getting stuck in a traffic jam. But other times, our unwillingness to wait is driven by much bigger obstacles, like waiting for a prodigal to come home or waiting for the cancerous growth to disappear. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues his brand new 12-part series called Walking with Integrity in Times of Adversity.

In this next message, number eight, Chuck will address another relevant topic for our times, the integrity of waiting, not worrying. I invite you to open your Bibles to the book of Habakkuk. It's between Nahum and Zephaniah, if you have trouble finding it. It's amazing how some of these books tucked away in our Bibles are just seldom turned to, and yet they contain treasures that we don't realize are there, hidden treasures.

Hopefully we'll discover some of those today. I want to read for you from the New Living Translation Habakkuk 1, 1 to 6, and then we'll move up to chapter 2, verse 1, just these seven verses. Habakkuk 1, 1 to 6, and then 2, verse 1.

This is the message that the prophet Habakkuk received in a vision. How long, O Lord, must I call for help? But you do not listen. Violence is everywhere, I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I'm surrounded by people who love to argue and fight.

The law has become paralyzed and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous so that justice has become perverted. The Lord replied, look around at the nations, look and be amazed, for I'm doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe, even if someone told you about it. I'm raising up the Babylonians, a cruel and violent people.

They will march across the world and conquer other lands. Verse 1, chapter 2. I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how he will answer my complaint.

I've noticed as I visit with different people through the day and through the weeks, everyone is waiting for something. Every one of you has a deep heartache, a serious prayer that still has not been answered. I think you will be, if not all together, almost amazed at the relevance of Habakkuk's words as we unfold the account in these three chapters. He, too, chose to wait and to listen.

And finally, he prayed. Many years ago I brought a many series of messages on the book of Habakkuk. So I decided I would try something different before I began the series, just to check out people's knowledge of anything about the name or the book itself. So I became sort of a man on the street, randomly talking to different people, some in offices and some in restaurants, some in malls, about the word or the book Habakkuk. So I simply asked different ones, what does Habakkuk mean to you? Most of them gave me a blank stare and responded, I don't have a clue what that word means.

But there were others who responded in an interesting way, some of them rather creative. One lady said to me, it sounds like a word spelled backwards. A receptionist asked, isn't that a Jewish holiday?

Not bad, she was close. A waitress said, I think it's a village in Vietnam. I talked to a group of teenagers in a mall and they were having a great time till I walked up. And then they looked at me and I asked them that question and they suddenly got quiet and looked at each other like this must be some kind of joke.

This old guy walking around talking another language. They said, well, must be either a game or a new horror movie. One person thought I was selling Habakkuk. That was my product. So he said to me, no, no thanks, I don't do drugs.

I've never been taken for a drug dealer before, but it was my first time. One of my favorites was this serious gentleman who frowned and asked again the word and I gave it to him and he said, I believe that's a disease of the lower back. After doing that little man on the street interview from one person to another, I really realized then how much I had my work cut out for me taking on this three chapter book. And if that was true, then think about now and how few people could tell you anything about either the man named that strange name, which interestingly means to embrace, embracer, or we would use the word hugger. He was a name for that sense of affection, the holding of hands, the hugging of another individual, embracer. But how few know how few know anything about what he wrote. So I decided since that's true, maybe one of the best ways to get into it with all of you is to begin by reading what Eugene Peterson has written as an introduction to the book of Habakkuk in his Bible and contemporary language, which he is titled The Message. He has an introduction for virtually every one of the books in the Bible. Sometime the introduction is as interesting as his rendering of the of the passages.

This is a good case in point. I want to read it slowly and carefully. I want you to listen slowly and carefully. Living by faith is a bewildering venture. We rarely know what's coming next and not many things turn out the way we anticipate. It's natural to assume that since I am God's chosen and beloved, I will get a favorable treatment from the God who favors me so extravagantly.

I will be exempt from dead ends, muddy detours, and cruel treatment from the travelers I meet daily who are walking in the other direction. That God followers don't get preferential treatment in life always comes as a surprise. But it's also a surprise to find that there are a few men and women within the Bible who show up alongside us at such moments. The prophet Habakkuk is one of them and a most welcome companion he is. Most prophets, most of the time, speak God's word to us.

Most prophets are are in your face assertive, not given to tact, not diplomatic, as they insist that we pay attention to God. But Habakkuk speaks our word to God. He gives us, he gives voice to our bewilderment, articulates our puzzled attempts to make sense of things. He faces God with our disapprovals, our disappointments with God. He insists that God pay attention to us.

Not a day has passed since then that one of us hasn't picked up and repeated Habakkuk's bafflement. God, you don't seem to make sense, but the prophet companion who stands at our side does something even more important. He waits and he listens. And he listens. It is in his waiting and listening which then turns into his praying that he found himself inhabiting the large world of God's sovereignty.

It's an awfully good introduction to the book. Habakkuk is a fellow struggler. He's not a high and mighty princely clergyman standing above us and shouting down to, no, no, not that.

He's a man who is filled with integrity, who finds himself in a world grossly lacking any of it. And it's driving him nuts. It's driving him to distraction.

In fact, he comes immediately with his burden to the Lord. As he cries out, how long, how long is this going to go on and why? Those are the two words every sufferer asks.

How long will this go on and why am I going through this and why now and why this? By the way, it is really a dialogue. Habakkuk is the only prophet who never once addresses the people around him in his day.

Isn't that interesting? He addresses his God and God answers him. This is called interchange. As we interpret the scripture or a dialogue, Habakkuk speaks, God answers. And after God answers, Habakkuk replies and then God replies. And then Habakkuk answers. It's back and forth.

Let me show you. Verses one to four, Habakkuk is speaking. And you get down to verse five, look at the beginning.

The Lord replied or your Bible may read, the Lord said. So five through 11, those are the Lord's words back to Habakkuk. And after that, Habakkuk responds to the Lord.

By the way, there's an interesting little part here I want to bring up early. Habakkuk has this burden and his people around him, the Jews in Judah, are just as evil as they can be. Some are even worshiping idols by now and they're walking fast and furiously away from God and Habakkuk just can't stand it. And so he cries out and says to the Lord, oh, look at this. And as if the Lord didn't know. And so the Lord listens as he complains. And then when the Lord does speak, he says to his prophet, he says, Habakkuk, I have a plan and if I told you, you wouldn't believe it. And Habakkuk says, I'll believe it, tell me. He said, well, I'm going to send the Chaldeans in and they're going to wipe you out. I can't believe it. I just can't believe it.

Just exactly like we are. I mean, he's not doing what we want him to do. After all, we thought you were Heavenly Bell Boy. Don't you run our errands? I do not.

I will not. You will find what it is to serve a sovereign God when you back away and begin to listen. So when we get to chapter 2, Habakkuk is listening. In fact, he begins a little earlier. In chapter 1, he steps in again after God has spoken.

Habakkuk chapter 1 verse 12 up through 2, 1. See what he says in 2, 1? I will go up in my tower and I'm going to wait and I'm going to listen.

I'm going to see what it is you plan to do. I'm going to hear the whole story. And in chapter 2 verse 2 to the end of the chapter verse 20, God speaks. He lays it all out.

We'll get there in a moment. After God has finished, of all things, look at chapter 3 and verse 1. The one who started with tears and crying out to God is now in chapter 3, what? Singing his prayer to God.

As one man wrote, the book begins with a sob and ends with a song. But nothing around Habakkuk has changed. People are still wicked. Justice is still perverted. Violence is still in the land. When justice rolls down, it's twisted.

People are doing the wrong thing. Nothing has changed. How can he be singing? Habakkuk has changed. He's changed. It's one of the beauties of a prophet like Habakkuk. He's willing to listen and he's willing to change. I'll get to that in a moment. Well, read along and think along with me as we, for the sake of time, hit the high spots and read what it is Habakkuk is conveying to us.

You will find yourself rather amazed. It's as if he wrote it yesterday to these people around us and to us as well in our day. Oh Lord, must I call for help?

How long must I call but you do not listen? Chapter 1, verse 2. Where are you, Lord? Don't answer out loud, but haven't you asked that?

Answer it out loud. And we all have asked that. Cynthia and I are going through a time right now with a member of our family and we have just over and over and over and over and over called on our God, same request, same one again and again. This is just our little family.

Not any change. Where are you, Lord? I woke up in the middle of the night last night and and another need came to mind and I thought, Lord, this is in the category of divine help if we don't get it.

We're sunk. You've got things like that in your life. We're not unique, but Habakkuk is so burdened he decides to write it out. He says must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all of this misery wherever I look? I see destruction and violence. I'm surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. That sound like the day?

Of course it does. Every evening news you can witness it. Sometimes the violence is so great they set cities on fire.

How long must that go on? Lord, where are you? And the law has become paralyzed. There's no justice. The wicked far outnumber the righteous and when justice does roll down it's perverted, it's twisted.

Right is shown to be wrong and wrong is declared to be right. What kind of a courtroom is that? That's it. That's my world.

Speaking of that, he could have sung a duet with Eddie Arnold. Get the world off my shoulders. Make it go away.

Please. You see, when you're a prophet you just don't waltz through life and and shrug it off. You feel the pain of your times and you ache and you have no one else to call on but the Lord God who called you into this role. So the Lord replies, look for yourself. Verse five, look around at the nations. Look and be amazed. I'm doing something in your own day, something you wouldn't believe.

Even if someone told you about it, I would. Well, I'm raising up the Babylonians and they're going to march on Judah and wipe you out. You know what occurred to me? It's like having a house full of roaches and you can't stand them. In fact, if you're like Cynthia, one roach, I mean you don't want to be around the flash water when she's got a roach in her target or a shoe or something worse. I mean you've got a house full of roaches so what are you going to do? Well, you've got to get a pest control that's going to come and get rid of them. And you notice in the ad a unique pest control. We have secrets that no one else has. We get rid of all roaches guaranteed. So you hire them sight unseen. Fifteen former veterans show up. Let's make them seals.

Muscular guys all with 20-gauge shotguns. Stand back. We're going to get rid of the roaches. Wait, wait, wait, wait. The solution is worse than the problem. That was the Chaldeans.

I mean times are bad, but God, this doesn't make sense. You're listening to Insight for Living and a message from Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll. He titled today's message, The Integrity of Waiting, Not Worrying. And to learn more about this ministry, please visit insightworld.org. And then if you haven't already done so, be sure to download the Insight for Living mobile app or our podcast.

You'll find details on how to subscribe to both platforms by visiting insight.org slash app. And as we conclude this daily Bible study, I'll make it a point to remind you that this teaching series has never been heard on the daily broadcast. Although this program has been carried on radio stations for more than 42 years, we're blessed to offer our listening audience fresh new studies in God's Word. This longevity, this heritage, is due in part to the faithful friends who financially sustain Insight for Living. And if you're among those who give, we're deeply grateful for your generosity. In fact, we represent thousands around the world who call and write to thank us knowing that their gratitude is really directed toward you.

We couldn't provide Insight for Living without your faithful giving. As God prompts you to join the family of supporters today, we invite you to give your donation by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888 or go to insight.org slash donate. And then finally, as a compliment to your worship experience in your local church this coming Sunday morning, remember you can also celebrate with Chuck Swindoll by viewing the worship service of Stonebriar Community Church online. This not only includes Chuck's full-length sermon, but the sacred music and congregational singing as well. You'll find all the instructions for video streaming the weekly worship service at insight.org slash Sundays. Join us when Chuck Swindoll continues his message about the integrity of waiting, not worrying, Monday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, The Integrity of Waiting, Not Worrying, was copyrighted in 2021 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-16 23:45:09 / 2023-06-16 23:53:14 / 8

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