Here's Anne Graham Lotz. When things aren't going right, God may have a greater purpose. God sometimes His ways are just not our ways. Thank you for joining us.
You're listening to Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz in part one of her message, Be Patient, Wait for Jesus. Here's Anne with a childhood story from her own life, a perfect illustration for today's message from the book of Habakkuk. When I was a little girl, when daddy would take off and mother would ignore that. So we'd come back from school, where is daddy?
Well, he's gone, you know, just sort of a nevermind. But when he came home, when daddy would come home, mother would make a big deal of it. And so when he would come home, this is showing you, I guess how old I am, but there weren't airports around so much. So he came in on the train and the train came into Black Mountain, but my grandmother would pile us into the car and she would race us down the mountain to Old Fort. Now if you came up Interstate 40, you had to come through Old Fort and it's just the winding, you go down the winding I-40, it wasn't I-40 then, it was just Highway 70, but anyway, came out in Old Fort. And Old Fort, there was an intersection and the train tracks crossed the intersection and the train would come through that intersection. So my grandmother would put us in the car, would go down to Old Fort, would watch and would wait, and here comes the train. And the whistle would blow and the light would flash and the little arms would go down, you know, to block people from crossing on the tracks. And then the train would go on through Old Fort and it would head up the mountain.
So my grandmother would turn the car around and would race up the mountain and we would get to Black Mountain and we would pull out at the train station and we'd stand out on the sidewalk. And if you go to Black Mountain, the same train tracks are there and the same road that crosses them. And if you'll look east, the train tracks are long straight away.
And then at the end of the straightaway, there's a right-hand bend, so you can't see past that bend. So we would stand beside the train tracks and we'd look down that bend and we're waiting. You know, we knew Daddy was coming because we saw the train go through the intersection Old Fort. So now it's just chugging its way up the mountain and we're waiting and we're waiting and then the lights flash and the arms come down and we hear the whistle blow and then we see that big headlight coming around the bend and here comes the train and it pulls up to the train station and Daddy gets off the train. Daddy has come home.
And that's a little bit like I feel now because it's like I'm waiting for Jesus to come and I saw him go through the intersection. He came the first time. So I know he's coming the second. He said, I'm going to prepare a place where I will come to receive you to myself. I know he's coming back.
So he's promised. And when he went up on the Mount of Olives and he sent it back to heaven, the angels came and said, the same Jesus you saw go up, he will come back. So I know he's coming because his first coming, he went through the intersection, we saw him and now he's gone to his heavenly home but he's coming back to take us to be with himself. So now I'm at the train station and I'm waiting and I'm looking down the train tracks and I know he's coming.
What's taking him so long, you know? And I know he's coming and it's like I see the lights flashing and the bar going down and I see all the signs indicating that it's any moment and the signs that he gives in scripture that need to be fulfilled before that moment comes have all been fulfilled and so I'm waiting and I'm waiting and I'm waiting and I'm waiting and I'm still waiting. And that's where Habakkuk was, waiting for God to keep his promise, waiting for God to do something in his nation to turn his nation around. And I think Habakkuk, his whole little book is a prayer so in this series for in this final hour, I didn't include a message just strictly on prayer but this is it because Habakkuk's message is a prayer. So if you'll turn to Habakkuk, the best way to find it is go to Matthew, turn left and if you go to Ezekiel, you've gone too far. So and you'll find the little book of Habakkuk and Habakkuk wrestles while he waits and he watches and then he worships and so we just see him working through just this waiting period that's so hard. Waiting is one of the hardest spiritual disciplines to learn and so Habakkuk is deeply disturbed by what he sees going on in his nation and in his lifetime, let me just set him up for a moment because in his lifetime, Habakkuk has seen the northern kingdom of Israel with a series of wicked, wicked kings, each king more wicked than the one that went before it and then God kept sending prophets to warn them, Elijah was one, you know, warning them you need to repent, you need to turn around from your rebellion or idolatry or judgments coming and the northern kingdom of Israel did not heed the warnings and so God sent in the Assyrians and the Assyrians were brutal but and actually ISIS, you know, their their roots are in Assyria so it was that kind of brutality and they carried the northern kingdom of Israel off for good. The northern kingdom of Israel never came back and I don't know about the lost tribes of Israel and all that but it was wiped out by the Assyrians and then Habakkuk saw that and now it's like deja vu because in Judah he's seeing the same thing happen and they haven't had a series of bad kings one after another they've had a bad king and then a good king and a bad king and then a good king but every good king is a little less good than the one before it and so they're going down, down, down but they had a wonderful king Josiah who actually led in revival and it was something that would have been an answer to prayer as far as people like Habakkuk and Josiah had led the nation in a revival and then Egypt at that point was the world empire and Egypt controlled Judah the southern kingdom and so Judah was sort of a satellite nation and Josiah rebelled against Egypt so he went to war against Egypt and in the same valley where Armageddon will take place Josiah was killed in battle against the Egyptians and then Egypt was overtaken by a little upstart nation Babylon and Habakkuk is witnessing this and now he's seeing God warning Judah you repent of your ideology you turn around or you're going to come under judgment and Habakkuk is actually ministering to his nation in the final hour and so Habakkuk is wrestling while he's waiting and I just want to pause for a moment I would like to apply this message in three ways one I want to apply it to America and our concern that what we see where the warnings are coming in one after another and we're being warned judgment is coming and so we can apply Habakkuk's message and his his hearts cry to what he saw in his nation as what we see in our nation but I'd like to also apply it maybe to what you see in the church and we long to have revival come in the church and sometimes what we see and what we're praying for we just feel the churches instead of being revived we keep hearing stories and maybe it's in your church where there's division there's dissension they're preoccupied with themselves they're not concerned with a lost world that doesn't seem to be and people are leaving the church and the statistics will show you that people are leaving and I'm wondering if they're leaving because it doesn't seem worthwhile to go because they're not really getting what they're looking for as far as truth and Jesus and so we pray for revival of the church but you can also apply this in a personal way and so if you have a prayer and I don't know what it could be but you're praying for a loved one or a family member or a friend and you've prayed and you've prayed and just your hearts cry maybe it's for reconciliation maybe it's for somebody whose marriage is falling apart maybe it's for a financial difficulty but you have a prayer of your heart and you're praying for that and you're still waiting for God to answer so those are just three ways that we can apply this message and I'll try not to be too confusing as we go through it but you might just ask yourself who is your Judah you know is it America is your Judah the church is your Judah just a friend or family member that's uppermost in your mind when you think of a prayer and something that you're waiting on God to answer who is your Judah so Habakkuk in verse two he says oh lord how long must I call for help but you don't listen or cry out to you violence but you don't save in other words Habakkuk is wrestling with the silence of God and he's praying for his Judah and God's not saying anything and not only is God not saying anything he's not doing anything in verse three why do you make me look at injustice why do you tolerate wrong destruction and violence are before me there's strife and conflict abounds therefore the law is paralyzed and justice never prevails the wicked hem in the righteous so that justice is perverted and that to me sounds like a description of America today but Habakkuk is wrestling with God with his stillness and God doesn't say anything and then God doesn't do anything and the situation is going from bad to worse and is your situation going from bad to worse and in America as we have prayed for revival in our ministry we've had prayer initiatives I've spoken all over we've had just give me Jesus revivals I think of my daddy's ministry for years my goodness filling stadiums and many thousands of people coming to faith and the things that they've had on television as far as the gospel is concerned and instead of it making a difference I mean it has made a difference in individual lives but look at the nation as a whole instead of getting better it's getting worse and God seems silent and he seems still and and then finally when God does speak it's not what Habakkuk wants to hear at all so God says in verse five he says look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed and this is just a little principle I guess when you're praying for something and God's not answering look and see what else is going on because sometimes God works outside the box sometimes his answers to prayer are not fulfilled the way we're asking you know he can answer in a roundabout way and he can answer a deeper prayer in our heart but not the surface things that we voice so he says look so in your Judah's life you know you're praying for reconciliation you're praying for whatever it is something to happen for their health or in the church we're praying for revival in America we're just praying that God would turn us around and stop the downward moral and spiritual spiral into oblivion into judgment would you stop it Lord and and he says look look what's happening look what else is going on and so we need to take a good look and see what he's doing that may be different than what we'd asked but is it going to accomplish the same purpose so I think it's important to read our newspapers when it comes to America it's important to stay abreast of what's happening in our nation and as hard as it is to read some of the news I think it's important for us to stay current on the events that are taking place and look and and gather that into our prayer time so as we're praying what is God doing what could he be doing and how can we pray and be in line in step with what he's about and then God says I'm going to do something in your days you wouldn't believe even if I told you and then he tells him I'm raising up the Babylonians oh my goodness the Babylonians that's that's unthinkable the Habakkuk this was unbelievable how could God raise up such a wicked nation and it's interesting in first kings 12 when God broke apart the kingdom of Israel after Solomon he said this is my doing and then in second chronicles 34 when God sent in the Babylonians God said I sent the Babylonians he sent in Nebuchadnezzar and so when we see what's happening in the world when he raises up the Babylonians the secular history would look at the Babylonians and think well they just came after you know Egypt and they took over the world and they had whatever but they don't see that it was God's hand raising them up to use them as an instrument to bring his nation of Judah back to himself and God did it in such a roundabout way and Habakkuk says you can't do that you know this is beyond belief and God then says in essence Habakkuk God do care that Judah is not right with me and then he describes him he said I'm going to use Babylon to make Judah right with me in verse 6 he says they are greedy they're ruthless they're terrible they're dreadful they're self-promoting they're a lot of themselves verse 9 their aim is violence verse 11 they glory in their own strength and ability they're godless I'm raising them up for my own purpose I'm going to use them to bring Judah to myself so how is God answering your prayer in a way that's unbelievable to you God has been silent and still and by the way God was silent and still in Habakkuk's life and Habakkuk was an honored prophet and when he cried out to God God was silent and still so if God is silent in your life if he doesn't seem to be speaking to if he doesn't seem to be doing anything it's not necessarily because he's upset with you that he's not blessed you that he hasn't heard your prayer you know God's ways are just not our ways and he was silent and he was still and then he gave the solution that wasn't what Habakkuk wanted to hear so I think about Israel I guess Israel today could be somebody that we're praying for I know many of us are praying for the peace of Jerusalem and could God raise up Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran to put pressure on Israel so that one day she would open her eyes to see her Messiah and cry out to God and we pray for revival of the church could it be that God would use rioting in the streets and the polarization in our nation's capital and the hostility between races as pressure on the church that finally we would cry out and say God we need you and if it's a family member or a friend could it be God would use bankruptcy or divorce or disease or death something to make them wake up to their need of God you see what I mean sometimes God answers our prayer but his solution is uncomfortable and something that we find hard to accept and Habakkuk said you know it's unbelievable that you would do this and it's unacceptable he recoils in horror Lord I wanted you to do something but not that and Habakkuk's now in serious conflict we see him wrestling and in verse 12 he says oh Lord are you not from everlasting my God my holy and I want you to see that he's clinging to the character of God he says oh Lord you're in control everlasting you're eternal holy you're pure you have appointed them your sovereign oh rock you're the stability of our nation and your eyes are too pure to look on evil you cannot tolerate wrong why then do you tolerate the treacherous why then are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves so he's looking at the character of God and who God is doesn't seem to match God's conduct Habakkuk knows of God and you know when we're wrestling it's just good to fall back on who we know God to be you are righteous you're good you're holy you're eternal you're from everlasting to everlasting you are faithful you're kind and this just doesn't seem to match what I know of you and I want you to notice that Habakkuk is wrestling with God to his face he's not going behind his back and gossiping you know like can you believe God did that and God doesn't answer my prayer he's just talking to God and when you talk to God like that then God has the ability to come and speak into your life and answer some of those hard questions and then he clings to what he knows of God's conduct when he says how can you do this how can you use a dirtier broom to sweep out a dirty room you know so how can you use the evil wicked Babylonians to bring Judah back to you because the Babylonians Judah's bad but not nearly as bad as the Babylonians how can you use such an evil wicked greedy ruthless people to bring your people they're bad but they haven't reached that point and so Habakkuk just didn't understand so what is God doing that seems wrong to you and when we're waiting and we're waiting and we're waiting and we have time to look and to pray and we're listening and God is silent and still then what he seems to be doing seems to be out of character for him and so I just wondered out loud could he be using the brutality of ISIS to turn Muslims away from Islam you know he's doing that Tom Doyle is a wonderful friend and you might write down his name he's written three fabulous books one is Killing Christians one is Standing in the Fire one is Dreams and Visions and he has stories of Muslims Jesus is showing up in the Middle East it's almost revival time over there and his stories are incredible but one reason Muslims are turning to Jesus they are so turned off by the brutality of ISIS it's Allah Akbar they don't want a god like that a god that's vicious and hateful and does such cruel things to his own people I mean the Muslims are doing the atrocities to Muslims and so they're open to hearing from Jesus and to coming to Jesus and then you wonder if God would use stabbings on the streets of Israel one day to turn Israel to cry out to God start reading their Bibles and looking for their Messiah I'd prayed this this has not happened but I had prayed that those videos of Planned Parenthood selling baby parts for profit would turn America against abortion and turn America against what Planned Parenthood is doing and for a little while there was outrage and then they seemed to make it all about a legal issue about the way the videos were obtained and never mind what they showed and so we're still waiting on that one but what is God doing that seems inconsistent with his character it seems inconsistent to use ISIS to bring Muslims to him it seems inconsistent to use stabbings to bring Israelis to him it seems inconsistent to use the butchering of little babies to maybe one day stop the abortion industry but so sometimes God tests our faith doesn't he and remember when Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus Lazarus is sick and implied was come do something about it heal him and instead Jesus didn't say anything he didn't do anything he stayed where he was for four days and Lazarus died so the situation went from bad to worse when Jesus showed up in Bethany Martha said Jesus you're late and if you had done what I said this wouldn't have happened if you'd answered my prayer the way I prayed you know Lazarus wouldn't have gotten in this situation and Jesus said Martha if you just believe you'd see the glory of God I'm up to something you don't know anything about I have a bigger purpose here and he challenged her again at the tomb Martha do you believe and she said yes Lord I believe you're the son of God and he told her to roll away the stone and he raised Lazarus from the dead and one of the things I think he was doing was giving them an audio-visual aid because the next week he would be the one who was crucified he would be the one who was buried and he was wanting the disciples and Mary and Martha and others to to remember God will raise the dead to life again I just don't think they got the message that day but he had a more glorious purpose than just Lazarus's health and prosperity and feeling good you know and I think that's something to keep in mind when things aren't going right that God may have a greater purpose God sometimes his ways are just not our ways sometimes you wait and you wait and you wait and if you if you rush the Lord you're going to come up with something that's going to be less than he wants to give you if you wait but waiting is hard but God knows what he's doing his timing is perfect and Mary and Martha thought he was late but he was right on time and you may feel like he's late I feel like he's late actually I feel like it's past time for him to come back you know but I know when that sky unfolds and we're caught up to be with him and that everything's going to be perfect and we'll think why did we think he should have come this year why did we think he should have come last year you know this is the perfect moment and oh God never does things any other way except perfectly so he is always on time but sometimes while we're waiting we wrestle wrestle with his silence wrestle with his stillness wrestle with his solutions we just can't figure things out but his ways are not our ways and we learn to trust him and I think those waiting times are testing times they're tough times but they strengthen our resolve to trust him their faith building times so Habakkuk wrestled and then he was watching while he was waiting in chapter 2 verse 1 he says I will stand at my watch and station myself on the rampart I will look to see what he will say to me and what answer I'm to give and this is the equivalent of you and me going into our quiet time taking our bibles and spending time alone with the Lord in prayer so when do you have a set aside time that you meet with the Lord and if you don't have that on a daily basis then before you leave the mountain I want you to think of a time that you could do that set your alarm a little bit earlier in the morning get up early in the morning or maybe it's in the middle of the day over your lunch break or maybe it's in the evening after the kids go to bed or you know you might have to give up tv you might have to give up shopping you might have to give up something but you make time to climb up on those ramparts and see what the Lord will say and make time for that time there every single person in scripture that God used in a powerful way had that as a common core they spent time alone with the Lord including our Lord Jesus Christ and so many times I've been convicted if he needed to spend all night in prayer with his father if he needed to get up early before dawn if he needed to spend time in prayer why do I think I don't really you know so Habakkuk climbed up on the ramparts he wanted to see what God would say to him and God speaks through his word so when I want to see what God has to say to me I open my bible and I want to be in a passage of scripture as I am now in the psalms I told you and you can any passage of scripture genesis exodus not leviticus juderonomy numbers Joshua's a great book you know they're just great in the new testament mark I loved mark because he does everything so fast it's straight away straight away straight it's just like reads like a diary you know axe is a fabulous book and you know you just take a paragraph ask what does it say what does it mean in my life and you listen for that still small voice to whisper in your ear as you write those questions and let God speak to and you you go on the ramparts and you're spending time in prayer and you're listening to what God would say to you you've been listening to living in the light and when you go to anne gramm lots.org there are free resources to help you in your study of God's word Anne's desire is that you embrace a God-filled life step by step choice by choice living in the light
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-20 03:43:36 / 2023-03-20 03:53:20 / 10