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Hope-Giving Love, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2024 9:00 am

Hope-Giving Love, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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March 12, 2024 9:00 am

There’s nothing wrong with having a favorite book of the Bible. But we have to be careful that we don’t miss out on the rest of God’s word! As Pastor J.D. continues our series called, Come Back to Me, he’s turning our attention to a book you might not be as familiar with: Habakkuk.

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Today on Summit Life, an encouraging message from Pastor J.D.

Greer. I will take joy in the God of my salvation, God the Lord. He is my strength. He makes my feet like the deers.

He makes me tread on my high places. This is the faith that God had called for in chapter two when he said, the righteous one will live by faith. And what characterizes that faith is the word hope. Thanks for joining us today on Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Biddevitch. You know, most of us have certain parts of the Bible that are our favorites that we come back to again and again. Books of the Bible we've studied, verses we've memorized, and that's okay. But what we don't want to miss out on is the rest of God's word. After all, the entire book is meant to show us God, to grow us, and to change us into the likeness of Jesus, right?

Well, today Pastor J.D. is turning our attention to a book you might not be as familiar with, Habakkuk. The book was written during a time when God's people were in a spiritual, economic, and political decline. Yet through it all, Habakkuk gives us a picture of gospel-powered hope and a God who saves. So grab your Bible and pen and let's get started. Pastor J.D.

titled this message, Hope Giving Love. Habakkuk will describe the situation himself in chapter three verse 17 in terms that are very dire. He says, though the fig tree should not blossom, there are no fruit in the vines. The produce of the olive will fail. The fields yield no food.

The flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls. 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 at God and says, God, how are we going to make it? Which leads to a second question that Habakkuk asked through this book. And that is, God, where are you?

Listen to Habakkuk's opening statement. Listen, see if you relate to this. Oh Lord, how long shall I cry for help?

And you will not hear. Why do you look idly at wrong? You see that word idly? Do you ever feel like that in relation to God? Like God seems to just sit idly by while you're suffering.

And sometimes you even say, God, are you even there? And you wonder, maybe 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 on all that's happened. Which leads to a third question that Habakkuk asked that we ask. God, how is this fair?

God, how is it fair that we go through this while Babylon gets off scot-free? Listen to what Habakkuk says there in chapter one. It's bold. You who are pure eyes than to see evil.

You can't even look at wrong. So why do you look idly? Why do you sit around and look at traitors and remain silent while the wicked people swallow up the man who is more righteous than he? Do you ever feel like that?

Why is it that this person seemed to get off and they didn't go through what you went through and you're the one who was trying to be faithful and you're the one who was trying to do things right, 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 have asked those. Habakkuk's question you realize is really an age-old problem. The world doesn't seem to be seem like it's being ruled by a good, all-wise, all-powerful God. That's Habakkuk's complaint. Here is God's answer. It's going to be a little bit in chapter one than later in chapter two.

It's basically got four components. I'll show you. The first component God says, chapter one, verse five, he says, 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.

Habakkuk, I got a much bigger plan than you realize. It's going to lead to my glory and it's going to lead to your ultimate salvation. And that's the second thing, chapter two, verse 14, for the earth, he says, will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. This bigger thing that I'm doing is I'm covering the earth with the knowledge of my glory.

That is going to be ultimately your salvation and a lot of other people's salvation. Third part of his answer, chapter two, verse four, the righteous shall live by his faith. In other words, Habakkuk, if you're going to walk with me in the world, it's 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 going to be able to see yet. Fourth component of his answer, verse 20 of chapter two, the Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the earth keep silent before him. Let all the earth keep silent before him. The last thing God does is he gives Habakkuk a vision of himself sitting high on a throne above it all. And he says, Habakkuk, if I'm still on my throne, then you can trust me with unanswered questions, which then leads into Habakkuk's great statement of faith, which is there's life-giving hope.

He starts in verse one, chapter three, verse one. Oh Lord, I've heard the report about you and your work. Oh Lord, do I fear your work? I'm thinking about you, who you are.

And I'm also thinking about the things that you have done. See in the next 15 verses, he's going to recount the Exodus. He meditates on the Exodus.

And that meditation is going to remind him of several things. So first is we are not really innocent people who are suffering. You see, God didn't create 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. You see, we come to God with this question of like, why are bad things happening to good people? And God says, well, actually the whole world was under the condemnation of death because of their sin. And so what Habakkuk does is he just reflects on the fact that, yeah, this world is in the condition it's in and we experienced a lot of the suffering because the human race is sin.

And it's the natural result of our sin. Second thing Habakkuk's meditation on the Exodus does for him is reminds him that God is not short on power. I mean, God manipulated the most powerful nations in the world at will. He controlled the sun and the moon and he split the oceans.

He's not limited by anything. Thirdly, God's not given up on us. He's like, God delivered the people for a purpose. He delivered his nation for a purpose and it wasn't to bring us out into the wilderness and die. And he's not ever going to let the purpose that he has for us go.

And so I can still be confident that the God who delivered us is the God who's working in us today. So after meditating on those things, Habakkuk says, verse 16, I hear and my body trembles. My lips quiver at the sound.

Rottenness enters my bones. My legs tremble beneath me. What he means is I'm still in fear. I'm still in fear about what's about to come. He says, none of that's changed.

My feelings haven't changed yet. Here's his resolve. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.

Even though my emotions are this way, I choose to adopt a posture of quiet repose. And then he says, verse 17, though the fig tree should not blossom nor fruit be on the vines, though the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, though the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God the Lord, he is my strength. He makes my feet like the deers.

He makes me tread on my high places. Amen. The end of the book of Habakkuk. This is the faith that God had called for in chapter two when he said the righteous one will live by faith. And what characterizes that faith is the word hope. Here's what we learn about life giving hope from his statement. And this is what characterized somebody who lives righteously and walks with God.

Number one, hope can exist alongside grief. You see all the emotions that he has there. And then you see in the midst of that, he's saying I will rejoice. It's like I showed you his feelings hadn't changed. He's still eating up with it. The reason I point this out is that there's a real danger when Christians talk about these things of implying, listen, that faith is some kind of stiff upper lip stoicism, or that when you're filled with grief and sorrow, that's a sign of a lack of faith.

You need to put your happy face on and tell your friends, bless God, I'm just happy to be here. But that's just not what you see in the Bible. In Job chapter one, when Job learned of the things that were happening to him, it says he ripped his clothing and he wept and sackcloth and ashes fell on the ground. And then it says at the end, in all these things, he sinned not. I mean, he grieved big time. He wailed with grief. And God at the end says he didn't sin in any of that.

Jesus, we know that he was perfect, yet it often says that Jesus was filled with sorrow. And we know that he wept. Paul commands believers, he says, grieve, but just don't do it like those with no hope. It is possible to have great hope, even in the midst of great sorrow and great weeping. Number two, we see there that hope is a choice. We see that hope is a choice. I will rejoice in the Lord.

Verse 16, I will wait patiently. That's the language of choice, which is why in the book of Philippians, Paul is going to make it a command, rejoice in the Lord always. And again, I say, in case you didn't hear me the first time, rejoice. You don't have to command people to do something they're already doing, which means I'm looking at somebody who's not rejoicing and saying God tells you to rejoice. Rejoicing is not a descriptions of the feeling that you possess. Rejoicing is a choice to posture your heart, to what you know to be true, even when you don't feel it. Your feelings do not have brains. So your feelings are not thinking for themselves. You have to tell your feelings how to feel.

You can't command yourself to be happy, but what you can do is explain to yourself why you should be happy and why your emotions are telling you lies. Faith realizes that it possesses something in God that is deeper and better than anything else that life can give and something more secure than anything death can take away. When Jesus, in Luke chapter 10, the disciples had just returned from a day of ministry he'd sent them out on. And evidently it was a good day because they came back just riding high in there like, Jesus, you wouldn't believe this. The demons are subject to us. Now, see for us preachers, that's a big day.

For you stockbrokers, a big day is when you sell a stock for like five times the ROI or real estate agents when you close on five properties in a week. For us preachers, when we cast out a demon, that's our big day. And Jesus said, yeah, don't rejoice that the demons are subject to you because there might be days you don't feel that way. And there might be days you wonder why didn't the demon respond the way that he was supposed to. Or there might be days that you don't close on five properties or days that the kids aren't behaving like you think they're supposed to behave or days that the marriage is not working out or days that the finances aren't rolling in or the church didn't grow.

And when that happens, you need to rejoice in who you are in me and what you possess in me, because that never changes. Number three, we see from his statement here that hope comes from remembering and repeating. We got to learn a lesson from what Habakkuk did here when he rehearsed the Exodus. Did you know the Bible never tells you anything once? It just repeats it over and over and over again to the point Psalm 103, bless the Lord, all my soul and forget not all his benefits. And then he reviews the benefits of his salvation, just like Habakkuk did and doesn't introduce anything new. Your spiritual health will be directly determined by how often you review the benefits of your salvation and the glory of the God behind it all. Listen, I do not flatter myself that any one sermon of mine will sustain you for the rest of your life.

Honestly, I used to think that. I used to think once I preached on the subject, it was like, boom, mic drop, just go back to that. And I preached it one time and that would change you forever.

I don't think like that anymore. This sermon right now, this one might get you through this week. And then you're going to have to come back and review, not this sermon, but you're going to review the ways of God and the glory of God that we've seen in scripture. You're going to have to repeat and review the gospel often. When life saps your strength, you got to force yourself to remember and repeat and wrestle with God until he reveals himself and his glory to you like he did with Habakkuk.

You need to stand there. Chapter two, verse one, you need to get up there with Habakkuk on the watchtower and you need to say with him, I'm not coming down from this watchtower until who you are and what you've done becomes real to me again. I know it with my mind, but my heart needs to feel it and embrace it. The reason that some of you struggle so much or your faith sag so much is that you just haven't met with God in years. It's not, it's not information.

It's not like I'm going to say something like, oh, that's it, that's the missing piece and write it down. It's that you haven't stood on the watchtower and met with God. And because of that, when you walk through these things, your faith sags and your joy is absent and your hope is not there. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with Pastor J.D.

Greer. We'll get right back to today's teaching in a second, but I wanted to tell you about a brand new premium resource that we are sending this month to all of our gospel partners and anyone who donates $35 or more. We created it to go along with and expand on our current teaching series called Come Back to Me. It's a nine-part devotional and 21-day scripture guide that takes you through the Minor Prophets of the Bible. And while Pastor J.D. only covered five Minor Prophets in this teaching series here on the program, our new devotional takes you through all 12. As you've seen already during this Come Back to Me teaching series here on Summit Life, the message of the so-called Minor Prophets still has a major impact on our life today. You can reserve your Come Back to Me devotional and scripture guide when you give at 866-335-5220 or by giving online at

Now let's return to our teaching. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Number four, the heights of hope only come from the depths of faith.

You can see that there in verse 19. God the Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the deers. He makes me tread on high places.

In ancient times, the summit was the safest place to be because you couldn't be attacked and you could see for miles. They're in all directions. Feet like the deers means you're sure-footed. You ever seen one of these mountain deer or some kind of animal like that?

They're nimble and they could just move across a mountain face. When God becomes your strength, when God becomes your joy, this is what you're going to be like because you're going to have a joy that is safely above what pain or disease or death or disappointment could destroy and you're not going to stumble even during the toughest seasons of life. Notice specifically that he says the new heights of faith come from having God himself as your joy, from having God as your strength.

Verse 18, I will rejoice, look at this, in the Lord. I will take joy in the God of my salvation. It's not that God is going to give me joy in something and not joy from God. It's joy in God, not he gives me strength.

Did you see that? It's not he gives me strength, but he is my strength. There's a big difference in joy from God, new marriage, new raise at your work, whatever, and joy in God. There's a big difference in the Lord giving me strength and himself being my strength. It is when that is true that you have faith that dwells on the mountain tops and feet like a deers.

Here's the thing, that is where God wants to take all of you. That's what he's always wanted, is he's wanted people who rejoice in and find their strength in him, but the only way that can happen is through trial. There are aspects of God's character that you can only know when your fields are empty and there's no cattle in your stall, or when your marriage is broken, or when you feel alone, or as you're getting older and you start thinking this is no longer in front of me, but I will rejoice in God and I can rejoice in what he has and the things that never change.

Aspects of Jesus you can only find in the depths of faith. I thought this week of John chapter 11 where Lazarus, which is a friend of Jesus' dies. He's friends with the whole family and it says that he intentionally waited when he heard Lazarus will say, the miracle worker, the healer intentionally waits. He shows up and Lazarus is dead and Mary was Lazarus' sister and a good friend of Jesus walks up and says, Jesus, why didn't you come? If you'd just come then I know that he would have died. It says that Jesus wept.

I've always thought that was the oddest thing in the story because Jesus knew that in about 10 minutes he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. Why would you weep if you know you're about to fix it? Because if I know that somebody's crying and I know that whatever they're crying about is about to change, I'd be like, no, no, no, don't cry. Watch this.

It's going to be awesome. You don't need to cry. Why would Jesus weep with her knowing that 10 minutes later he was going to raise Lazarus from the dead?

Here's the answer. He was weeping with her because that's really what you do when you love somebody. You just, you mirror their emotions. Mary got to see something about Jesus. She got to see a dimension and aspect of his tenderness and his love that he is a God who not only raises the dead and fixes the problem, he's also the God who weeps when we weep and she would never have gotten that glimpse had Lazarus not gotten sick and Jesus not delayed in healing him. And all of a sudden the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, it filled her heart and that could only come from the depths of faith. The greatest thing that God can give you is the knowledge of who he is to see the value of his presence in your life, for you to feel the constant warmth of his compassion towards you and that will only come through trial. And that knowledge, Peter says, is more valuable than gold. It's better than any earthly answer to prayer. So rejoice, Peter says, rejoice when you go through trials because those trials will produce the greatest thing in the world.

And that is the knowledge of God. George Mueller was a 19th century pastor who ran an orphanage and he was famous for receiving stunning answers to prayer, wrote several books on prayer, been very influential in my life. More than once, he sat the kids down in his orphanage, couple hundred kids with literally nothing to eat. He sat down at the dinner table and he would stand up and he would say, God, we're just going to go ahead and thank you for the provision, even though it's not here. And more than one time as he was praying, there'd be a knock at the door and somebody would just show up randomly, not knowing their need. He didn't send out emails or letters and they'd just show up miraculously and say, I had all this bread left over at the bakery.

And I, for whatever reason, I thought of you guys and thought I'd bring it over or they'd show up with milk. Stunning answers to prayer. In 1890, George Mueller's wife contracted rheumatic fever. So naturally the man of great prayer prayed earnestly for her healing, but she died.

She was only 57, by the way. The last verse that George Mueller read to her was Psalm 84, 11. There's no good thing that he will withhold from those whose walk is blameless. And then at her funeral, he preached from Psalm 1, 1968, thou art good and thou do us good. You see, he and his wife had learned that the goodness of God in their lives was better than answers to prayer and that his goodness went deeper than the pain of life. And it was more abiding than the pleasures of life. That's Habakkuk's faith, which leads me to one last little thing.

Number five, hope in the future leads to prayer in the present. Let's go all the way back to chapter, the first part of chapter three, because this little thing you read right over. Lord, I heard the report about you. I heard about your work in the midst of the years.

Right here, right here. In the midst of the years, revive it. In the midst of the years, make it known in wrath, remember mercy. Midst of the years, that means my years.

It means my generation. I want to see your mercy poured out in my day. I know, God, I know, I know that in the end, you're going to turn all this to joy. And I know that when we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun. I know that, but I really want to see my generation included in that joy.

I want to see my kids. I want to see them experience that kind of knowledge. And so I'm crying out to you in the midst of my days, in the midst of the wrath that we're under, pour out mercy.

Some at church, should we not be doing that also? When I see God's goodness expressed at the cross, not only do I have the faith to endure under trial, and that's an important part, but when I see God's goodness expressed at the cross, I yearn to see that compassion break out in our generation. I'm going to go ahead and tell you, I want to see him do miracles. I want to see him do miracles like he did in the book of Acts, like he did when he walked the face of the earth. I want to see miracles in the lives of my friends. I want to see miracles in the lives of my kids. I want to see outbreaks of compassion and power in this church. I want to see it happen in our city. I want to see it happen in this generation of souls all around the world. I want to see it happen in the men.

I want to see it happen with the women. I want to see it happen through our church planters, because see, his amazing compassion, his glory in the past is what gives me confidence in his mercy in the present. You see, we got even more reason for confidence than Habakkuk had, because ultimately the Exodus was a picture, a frail picture of what Jesus was going to do for us. Luke chapter 9 records that during the Transfiguration, Jesus stood on the mountaintop with Moses and Elijah and Jesus, and they were talking, it says, about the Exodus. And God the Father said that Moses was actually just a dim shadow of Jesus. What Moses accomplished only partially, Jesus would accomplish fully. You see, Moses merely risked his life to liberate Israel from bondage. Jesus gave his life to liberate us from evil and sin and death itself. Moses only slew a lamb to spread its blood over the doorpost of Israel's houses. Jesus was himself the lamb whose blood was put over our souls so that we, the death angel, would pass over us.

Moses established a system where priests represented people before God, and they would wear a little ephod that had stones with the names of the Israel tribes carved to those stones. Jesus is himself our high priest, standing continually in God's presence on our behalf, with his names engraved literally on his hands and his heart. In the cross, I see his mercy, his heart, and that inspires me to great hope and confidence in prayer today. Great expectations for him, because I see his compassion revealed in the Exodus and then more fully in the cross. So where are you?

Where are you this weekend? You somebody that's in need of hope? Are you somebody that just needs to re-grasp God's goodness? Maybe you're somebody that needs to pray for an end-breaking of it in the present? Well, if so, the answer to any of those is for you to remember and repeat, remember and repeat, remember and repeat, and then endure with joy, with hope, and then pray like you believe that God is the God who is the compassion of the cross and has the power of the resurrection. The gospel isn't a one-and-done deal. We have to re-preach it to ourselves daily.

Rinse and repeat again and again and again. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer and a message titled Hope Giving Love. So Pastor JD, this new resource that we have available now, the Come Back to Me workbook, how exactly is it put together to help us get the most out of the words of the Minor Prophets?

Yeah, good question, Miley. In addition to the traditional study methods of read, study, pray, and apply, or a lot of times we'll use the acrostic here with that. H is highlight, you know, figure out what stands out to you.

E is examine, A is apply, and then R is respond. What it does is it shows you how to study. It really gives you, it's almost like having a, imagine having a Bible professor over your shoulder that's teaching you. This is what you should say now.

It's what you should ask. It's been a game changer. So I'm not saying this is your replacement for seminary, but it will at least give you some skills to be able to better apply the gospel and the scriptures to you and also to teach them to others. And to others in your small group or your Sunday school class. Yeah, it's one of the things we love to do is not just teach you things, but teach you how to teach other people things. That's what God commands us to do. So over the years that Molly's been at the church, she has become not just one of our worship leaders, but also one of our teachers.

And so, you know, I'm not saying that this companion piece did it, but I'm not going to say it didn't help. So anyway, go to You can get a copy and I think you'll enjoy it. Get a hold of Come Back to Me when you donate $35 or more today to support this ministry. Call 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or you can give online at I'm Molly Vidovitch, and I'm so glad that you joined us today. Be sure to tune in Wednesday as we continue our study of the Minor Prophets. We'll be diving into the book of Malachi Wednesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-12 10:39:26 / 2024-03-12 10:50:50 / 11

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