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Wrestling with God’s Silence

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
October 18, 2020 3:00 pm

Wrestling with God’s Silence

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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God does answer prayer. But you can't force him to speak to you when is good and ready. So he does answer prayer doesn't hear you cry wrestling with God's silence. It's the title of today's message with Bible teacher and Graham logs from the Old Testament book of Habakkuk welcome to living in the light. Perhaps you've experienced God's silence in your life wondering if God hears and answers. I think you find today's message right on target hears and sometimes there has to be a broken and I don't mean that prayer is broken. I mean the prey is broken and that's where Habakkuk was to open your Bibles to Habakkuk and back was wrestling in prayer and don't know if you've had a prayer that you've wrestled with and if you can come up with that and think about it.

I can think right now of a prayer that I have in my heart that I'm wrestling with and one of the prayers and have more than one. One of them. Of course, is far nation and for Israel and for the world situation and Habakkuk was wrestling with his prayer for his nation in his world and is looking at his world and his world was unraveling.

It was just going crazy. It was in turmoil that was an evil and God didn't seem to be making his presence known is like God where are you don't you know what's going on down here. This place is a mess want you doing something largish on yourself and Habakkuk's lifetime.

He had listened and watched as God had warned that northern kingdom of Israel. That judgment was coming. If you don't turn back to me if you forsake your idols I'm going to judge you in the northern kingdom of Israel. Pay no attention.

Habakkuk was alive and well when he saw the Assyrians come in and take the northern kingdom of Israel off into captivity and then in Judah where Habakkuk lives. They have a yo-yo of kings.

You have good kings and bad kings and good kings and bad kings even had a revival at one point under great King Josiah, and the revival blossomed under Joe saw when Josiah was killed. The revival fizzled and so God was warning them you need to turn back to me. Forsake your idols cry out to me.

Repent of your sin and Judah was not doing that. So the Egyptians were raised up. The Egyptians came and they took over Judah serve the surrogate power and Judah rebelled against Egypt. Egypt won that battle at Armageddon actually where Josiah was killed. If I remember right, and and then lo and behold a little upstart Empire called Babylonians overtook Egypt so that it was just a mess, and Habakkuk is saying what in the world and so Habakkuk.

First of all is wrestling with God's silence.

And when I look at our nation and I see the things going on in our nation. When I look at our world and see the things going on and at times I just thank God you what we need is a good dose of fear of God and nothing that would help God if you would just like somebody with lightning you know if you open up a ground and swallows about just make yourself known.

Let them know you're up there and that you're watching and that you hold them accountable. So Habakkuk is saying the world is unraveling, and where are you God.

Make yourself known and he wrestled with God's silence in verse two.

How long the Lord must not call for help, but you don't listen, why are you silent when I cry out to you lot of evil and suffering have the upper hand waters bad overcome good and hate overcome Lovins as a church cylinder attack in America.

God you see what's going on. And God seems to be silence so he's asking God where are you.

Why are you so silent all this is happening. Habakkuk was crying I got.

I want you to notice he's crying out to God, and somebody said believers argue with God. Skeptics argue with each other and Habakkuk was taking his complaint to God and I think that's very important.

So sometimes we can confer with each other and we complain with each other about what God is doing what God is not done, but instead just take it to God and Habakkuk was an honored profit unit was his job.

If I can say that right to receive a word from the Lord and imparted to the people and of God is silent. How can Habakkuk do his job and Habakkuk was a prophet responsible for receiving the word and God was silent to listen to me is God silent in your life and it doesn't mean that you are in disfavor. It doesn't mean that God hasn't heard you doesn't mean that you're not honored. It doesn't mean that you're not serving God. According to his will, for whatever reason he's just thought maybe I was telling somebody this past week. It's a test of your face to persevere in the silence.

So God was silence and some of my prayers have been met with silence ends. I can be very hard to bear, and then Habakkuk wrestled with God stillness because God not only didn't say anything. He didn't do anything in verse three cried. You make me look at injustice while you tolerate wrong destruction and violence are performing their strife and conflict of abounds, the laws paralyzed. Justice never prevails. The wicked him and the righteous. Injustice is perverted and you're not doing a thing God was silent and he was still the situation was just going out of control and it's hard when you pray, and you pray and you pray in the very situation your praying about and God is silent about gets worse. God doesn't do anything. Reminds me of John chapter 11 chapter that is taught me so much when Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus Lord, the one whom you love is sick, and implied that message.

That was a prayer. They sent a message to Jesus implied with that is please Jesus come here and do something he will Lazarus make him well. We know you can please help us and Jesus was silent.

He didn't answer them. You didn't send a message back and he was still, he didn't respond.

He didn't go there. He didn't do anything for four days and the situation got worse. Lazarus got sicker until Lazarus died in the worst thing that could have happened happened. So Jesus finally shows up in Bethany Marcus is Jesus where you been your light if you answered my prayer the way I prayed this would have happened. So she wrestled with God, silence, and she wrestled with God still inserted her back.

Are you in any wrestled with God solution because God family spoke to him and I want you to see that in verse five God says, look and I just want to pause for a moment, because God does answer prayer.

But you can't force them to help answer you have speak to you when he's good and ready. So he does answer prayer. He does hear you cry you why he delays in silence.

I'm not sure, except that I feel like sometimes it's just a test of our faith and trust in him to persevere in the silence in the stillness and that's what he's doing for Martha by the way he was sound and so he was wanting to develop her face so he could do something that she would never thought of. And he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, demonstrating to his disciples what would happen next week when he was the one crucified and that he would be the one race from that if they didn't get the message, but he was giving them an exhibit a day. So anyway wrestled Habakkuk wrestled with silent stillness, and then God solution and the solution was absolutely unthinkable. He says Habakkuk look, I think we need to stop there and say God is saying while your praying. I want you to look at who your praying for. Look at the nation look at Israel. Look at your loved one look at the circumstances.

Just take a good look is something going on something happening and then he tells Habakkuk, I want you to look and be utterly amazed because I'm going to do something in your days. You wouldn't believe. Even if I told you and what he was going to tell. Habakkuk was absolutely unthinkable. God works outside the box. You know that he doesn't always work record what we think when we think what we think you know it doesn't fit into our little package he can do something this totally would never thought of and God may be at work in the life of your loved one in the life of this nation and the life of Israel, but in the way that we wouldn't think about so look at your prayers and the way your praying for you expecting God could do and then look at what it is that your praying for and what's going on.

Could God be answering your prayer, but in a way that isn't how you prayed.

You know what I mean is not what you asked for it is the deep down prayer, but buddies going about it in a way that's you wouldn't of imagined and sometimes God does things that we can't imagine ends God is saying.

Habakkuk due care and I am involved in us exactly what's going on let's see what's happening in Judah and I see her sin and her idolatry and that she turned her back on me and the way Habakkuk was disc he was describing Judah in those first few verses his own people in those first few verses and gotta say I see all that I'm going to do something that you wouldn't believe in is is I'm going to raise up the Babylonian asthma instrument of judgment on Judah. He describes them in verse six. Their bitter their greedy their ruthless verse seven there terrible their dreadful verse nine. Their aim is violence. Verse 11, they glory in their own strength and ability their godless so let's just think about this for moment and I thought if I'm praying for Israel.

And I say God why are you silent, why are you still while, haven't you answered my prayer and I'm praying for the piece of truth and could he say I'm raising up, I'm raising up Hezbollah I'm raising up ISIS I'm raising up people to set people in the streets to turn the hearts of my people back to me so they cry out to me and I pray for revival of the church and revival in America and that God's Spirit would be poured out and I say God want you doing anything you don't answer prayer needs and take a look. Could it be the rioting in the streets and economy that's going to plunge in the world. The police and the political bickering and partisanship in the gridlock in Washington. Could it be that all of this is happening in the active shooters and environmental disasters because I'm going to make the nation desperate enough to cry out to me. Verse six he says, I am raising up the Babylonian to underline that amount bobble because if you read world history. They will say the Babylonians rose up because they have their own prowess and their own military might in their own strategy and you know whatever and God says that's not so raised up the Babylonian is another in the first Kings chapters 1224 when the kingdom of Israel under David you know is this wonderful kingdom under Solomon. It just became a glorious kingdom than Solomon, God because of his sin, God allowed his son for the kingdom.

The split under a son so his son and another king were going to go to war with each other and try to reunite the kingdom, but to see who would be the stronger one to take over the other one. And God said don't do that this thing is of me, and God himself broke that kingdom and half. So God raises up kingdoms and he lowers other ones and he said that's my doing so. I just think today is a look at the world situation.

What Babylonian is God raising up to do his bidding is that Russia is that Iran is it North Korea is a China what is the Babylonian. Think of your personal if your praying for personal Judah somebody in your family.

Could it be that he would raise up bankruptcy or the diagnosis of deadly disease or divorce or the loss of a job is just an unthinkable solution to you and your praying for them and then you see things getting worse and you think God, you haven't heard my prayer but actually he is and he's at work is just not in a way that you could've thought of. So Habakkuk says not only is this unthinkable you know God says if I told you wouldn't believe it.

Habakkuk now says God known as unthinkable not acceptable. You can't do that. I just don't go along, he just recalls and forgot I wanted you to do something but not bad. And so he just begins to argue with God using the basis of God's character and so he says God in verse 12, O Lord, are you not from everlasting. You're the creator God and you could lease space one is righteous, you are the holy one. You are pure your separate person you can't possibly look on evil. And then he says we will not die and he saved God because of who you are. You can't possibly use these Babylonians there where kid in verse 13. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil. You can't tolerate wrong. Why, then, could you tell her the treacherous wire you silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves. Anything you know how can you sweep out a dirty room with a dirtier broom and Judah's not right with you, but God, you know, they may be simple, but they nothing like the Babylonian CAC and use away kids nation like Babylon, the judge, a less wicked nation.

Judah and Habakkuk just recalls and hard, you can't do that just is there something that God is doing in your life that his conduct doesn't seem to match his character and is there something he's doing. That seems wrong to you.

It seems wrong to me, to allow stabbings in the streets of the city. It seems wrong to me for him to allow babies to be sold in parts for profit seems wrong to me. For people to sell others into prostitution so Habakkuk wrestled in prayer and then he watched in prayer and I could've labeled this I guess waiting in prayer. God is in the waiting in chapter 2, but I labeled it watching because in verse one. He says I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts.

I will look to see what he will say to me and I think it's just standing at his watch, making time to get along with God and get quiet with God and align yourself with God and see what's on God's heart and mind and see if you can get some wisdom and insight into whatever it is that your praying about and you listen to what he has to say. Even if what he says is not what you want to hear it all takes courage doesn't and so he listens.

I will stand at my watch.

I think that's an expectancy. He knows God's going to answer station myself on the ramparts at this patient's I'm going to wait until he answers me. I look to see what I'll say to me, that's his diligence is persistence and what answer on the give how I can respond to this and so he `his focus now on God's word if this is equivalent of him opening up his Bible. Then the Lord replied, and God speaks to us through his word. Write down the revelation and he did so. That's what were reading is the revelation he wrote down.

You understand that. So it's God's word. Make it plain on tablets when you turn to God's word and you open up God's word.

It's plain. Don't let anybody tell you that nouns are not nouns and verbs are not verbs that you can't take the Bible literally of course you can you take Shakespeare literally you take some of these other writers little you can take the Bible literally. It's a piece of literature.

Okay and prophecy.

Yes symbolism portrait.

Yes, the symbolism of course is literature when you come to the history and some of these other things you can take it literally. Make it plain he said and Habakkuk is made a plain so the hero may run with it is a living the revelation away. Set an appointed time is very timely when you're in a passage of Scripture you doing your devotions on that paragraph. It's amazing how God will just speak to you just can't believe that the very thing your reading that morning is speaking and addressing the problem that you had shared with anybody else, but it's timely and God is speaking to at that moment about something he knows you're concerned about and the time is appointed, it speaks to the and and will not proof of God's word is true, though it linger, wait for it. Sometimes when you get up in the morning and you have your devotions. You may not hear a word from the Lord and next morning you get up and you have your devotions. You may not hear words and it may linger okay but you might you just continue persevering reading your Bible listening for him to speak to you, though it waits it will certainly come and will not delay God will speak to you. He speaks through his word, the answer to your prayer will come. So Habakkuk is watching and prayer focused on God's revelation and then focused on God's righteousness in verse four. And so he's going to he's going to scrap now the wicked, and this is not just wicked people in Judah. This is not just wicked people in Babylon. This is wicked people. And there will be judgment for sin because God is against all sin, any sin. Every sin all wickedness okay so as a world is falling apart. He is against the wickedness in Syria. The wickedness in Iran. The wickedness in Israel. The wickedness in Lebanon.

The wickedness in Europe. The wickedness in America wickedness in South America wickedness in China wickedness in North Korea wickedness and you know God is against all sin. He is righteous. But look at this in verse four and just zero in on this the righteous in the middle of all this, the righteous will live by his faith in the midst of the wickedness God knows those who are his. In his omniscience, he sees you he knows you're trying to live rightly.

You know you're going to be reading your Bible every day to ask what does it say what does it mean what does it mean in my life you're trying to live it out.

God knows in his righteous people live by faith in the midst of a faithless godless wicked world always has a remnant and he knows who you are. So just keep that in and were surrounded by wickedness and we think, how can we tolerate this.

I just can hardly even stand open up my computer and even look at my new source and all the little thumbnail things and is just so gross. I can't read the newspaper and things are going on in the middle of all of that God sees were trying to live right and we garner as we meditate on those things that are pure and could hold in. So then he just underscores the fact that he's not going to tolerate sin and he pronounces five woes on the wicked. No matter who they are where they are what they are and I won't go into the mud just go through them fairly quickly. Verse six through eight is the first row and basically it's against those who are greedy. Woe to those who polyp stolen goods make themselves wealthy by extortion that describes Wall Street or maybe some of the big corporations today and some the big business and woe to those whose borrowing because they want more has run up trillions of dollars of debt so that our nation is enslaved to the lender. Borrowing weakens the nation and our nation is owned by China and so one day those enemies of ours are going to call in the debt versus 9 to 11 is the next row. Woe to those who builds his realm, but unjust. Again, this set is next on how to escape the clutches of the ruling just woe to those who build up their business at somebody else's expense and verses 12 to 14 woe to the violent those who build the city with bloodshed to establish a town by crime and just woe to the ruthless. Nothing stands in their way and crime pays.

I can get by with it.

Woe to them and I think about Puritan who goes into Ukraine now going in the Syria wonderful. Going to Egypt which Ezekiel indicates that he will at some point, not he, but Gog and Magog, and all that battle.

Ezekiel 38 but summary that may be right on us and then I think of some of these other things are violent. They ruthlessly build their kingdom through bloodshed. Woe to them. In verses 15 to 17. Woe to those who give drink to his neighbors, pouring it from the wineskin to their drunks. We can gaze on her neck at bodies not part of the pornographer you know date rape. The drug dealer the abortionist the pimp, the sex trader just woe to them. God sees woe to them, and verses 18 to 20, the fifth wall. Woe to the idolater. Woe to those who worship other gods in our nation. Secular humanism is a God sex is a God pleasure is a God. I think sometimes sports can become a God entertainment can be a God and worshiping all these other gods and woe to you, plus all those who have their own gods and say that's ours is just one of them. You can have Mohammed and Buddha and all and whatever Jesus and you're just there also are weak we pick and choose whichever one you want. This is America in God we trust which God is that you know so verse 20 in all of these woes and the wickedness images all coming apart, but the Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before and Habakkuk. I think his saying that all of these people can have temporary success in wickedness can seem to triumph for time and so you have the Assyrians, who triumphed over the northern kingdom and in the Babylonians took over Syria and then you have the Babylonians who triumphed for time and yet the Persians. It took over about and then the Persians try for time and increase takes over Persia and Greece transfer my time and then Rome takes over Greece and America transfer time is are they coming you been listening to living in the light within Graham Watson. Today's message in Habakkuk wrestling with God's silence plan to be back with us next week for more in the study and God's word hears and with today's concluding thought. I'm firmly convinced America's town is coming a time of accountability before holy, righteous God, whom we have spurned, defied, marginalized, minimized God's righteousness demands judgment for sin, the blessed hope is that he is just as merciful and forgiving as he is righteous.

So I believe the time is come, and now is for God's people who are called by God's name to humble themselves, pray, seek God's face turn from our wicked ways, claiming God's promise that he will hear our prayer.

Forgive our sin and heal our land for the glory of his name. This has been living in the light please take advantage of all the free resources it and Graham to help and encourage you in your walk with God and in your study of his work during this hearing each week for living in the light

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