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August 5, 2021 4:00 am
The you participate what's known as a trustful where you fall backwards and you're trusting that there's someone there who will catch you when you fall will today on Truth for Life. Alistair Begg challenges us to think about who or what we are trusting in to catch us when we fall we going to read this morning from the prophecy of Habakkuk and chapter 3 old Lord, I have had the report. If you and your work will Lord do I fear in the midst of the years revive it in the midst of the years make it known and Roth remember Marcy God came from Tim, the holy one from Mount para his splendor cover the heavens and the air was full of his praise, his brightness was like the light rays flashed from his hand and there he failed his power before him when pestilence and plague followed at his heels. He stood and measured the earth.
He looked and shook the nation's then the internal mountains were scattered the everlasting Hill sank low. His where the everlasting ways. I saw the tense of cushion and affliction.
The curtains of the land of Midian did tremble was your Roth against the rivers or Lord with your anger against the rivers or your indignation against the sea when you wrote on your horses on your chariot of salvation.
You strip the sheets from your bowl calling for many arrows you split the earth with rivers the mountain so you arrived.
The raging water swept on the deep gave forth its voice. It lifted its hands on. I the sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped the flash of your glittering spear you march through the earth and fury. You thrash the nations in anger. 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 and bare from neck to fly you pierced with his own arrows. The heads of his warriors who came like a whirlwind scattered me, rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.
You trampled the sea with your horses. The surgeon of mighty waters. I hear in my body trembles my lips quivered at the sound rottenness enters into my bones. My legs tremble beneath me yet. I will wait quietly for the day of trouble to come up on people who invade us. Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit. Be on the vines.
The produce of the all of fail in the fields yield no food 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 is my strength. He makes my feet like the dealers. He makes me tread on my high places.
To the choirmaster with stringed instruments.
Thanks be to God for his word. Let's just pause and asked for God's help using a familiar but old Anglican prayer Lord, what we know not teach us what we have not give us what we are not maker's for your son's sake. Amen. Well, and these are particularly challenging days. I suppose it was only a matter of time before we looked at Habakkuk probably like me you would've turned at least to the closing verses of Habakkuk as you have been contemplating the difficulties and challenges that are before us are very few of you, I think, and I'm speaking now directly to our own congregation.
Very few of you will remember that we study this this book together in the month of November in 1983. Many of the congregation were not even born around so if you will remember that some may actually recall that we went back to have a Coke in June 2008 and interestingly just weeks before Lehman Brothers, which was the fourth largest investment bank in the United States just a matter of maybe eight or nine weeks before Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and here we are now 12 years on and that economic collapse arguably pales before the current global catastrophe, and certainly every morning that we awaken the vast majority of media is focused again and again on these things and perhaps, like me, you've been finding ourselves and I need to make sure that I'm reading my Bible so that when I listen to this. I have a sense of framework whereby I can understand and apply these things I did read the newspapers. As you know and like you I pay attention to them in some measure this last week, the Times of London reported the results of a survey that they had conducted, or someone who conducted with 2000 British adults and they were assessing their reaction to life under quarantine and tying it to personality traits that these individuals were most associated with, and they broke it down into five categories as they said that certain people in responding to the circumstances might be defined clearly as pragmatic realists and fight. I was the largest number in the British population. Some 31%. Secondly, nervous dependence.
Thirdly, resentful pessimists. Fourthly, deluded optimists and fifthly skeptical troublemakers now as I read that and I didn't read it out to my wife because I was frightened that she might identify me as one of the five another one that I wanted to be, but I find myself saying.
I wonder really where I fit in terms of such a designation and then I said to myself I wonder where Habakkuk would fit in one of these categories notified is that all that we know of have a Coke is contained in these three chapters.
None of the other prophets actually made mention often and the exact time of his writing is also something that we cannot speak to with any degree of dogmatism. The only indication that we have of the timing is when in verse six of chapter 1 how he mentions how God was raising up the call. DM's and I think it's quite obvious, though, that in the writing of this prophecy in these three chapters.
He writes as one who is been exercising the office of a teacher. He has been exercising his prophetic ministry and is been doing so in a context of moral declension and spiritual declension on the part of God's people they have. If you like give an indication of the fact of their obstinate rebellion of what Calvin refers to as an irremediable wickedness and it seems to be that it is in response to that that he delivers this Oracle you will notice the Oracle that have accrued.
The prophet saw that's how it all begins. What I want to do this morning is not try and fit him into one of the five categories, but simply acknowledge that he liked each of us is essentially a work in progress and so I'm going to take high level flight over the whole three chapters giving something of an outline by way of a sketch and assigning to each of us is the responsibility of homework on our own. I thought that we might view him.
First of all questioning and complaining and then secondly listening and thinking and then thirdly, praying and singing. The temptation is to go immediately to the praying of the singing of the praying and the singing is set within the context of what precedes it and so first of all, here we find him questioning and complaining and depending on the version of the Bible that you are using perhaps some with the King James version, which was what I was brought up on it may read for you instead of the Oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw the burden that Habakkuk the prophet saw or if you like the problem as God gave have a kook to see saw that what he delivers here is a burden that is been laid upon him the prophetic role not only in Habakkuk's life but in the prophets right across our Scriptures is essentially to declare God's perspective, his judgment, the ultimate victory of his purposes, and in a world that disregard sin. We must remember that when we turn for example, to this that this is also covered when Paul writes to Timothy and he says to them, all Scripture is breathed out by God. So what were looking at here is the word of God is been breathed out by God.
We spoken in the past of the dual authorship of Scripture is been breathed out by God. It is been spoken by Habakkuk, and clearly he does not fit certainly the last category we do not find him as a skeptical troublemaker if you will read this on your own. Perhaps later in the day and she will agree with me that Habakkuk comes across as a man obviously have spiritual character, a man who has a genuine concern and love for his people, and a man who has an all-consuming zeal for the glory of God. And when he describes the fact the beginning of the second chapter that he is keeping watch the fight disease, keeping watch in more ways than one know they were looking at us under the heading of of complaining and questioning, and this we find ourselves dealing with in chapter 1 essay again to you. I'm only going to highlight this.
I'm not trying to expound the whole three chapters how long all Lord verse two.
How long shall I cry for help and you will not hear. His concern is such that it appears to be past the point of recovery. Why do you make me see iniquity. Why do you idly look at the wrong destruction and violence are before me, strife and contention arise. In other words, things are not looking good at all. Then in verse four. He basically sees the world as being upside down.
It is in a state of real turmoil. It is if you like out-of-control the law is paralyzed and justice never goes forth for the wicked surround the righteous. So justice goes forth perverted. Now we can let it just simply settle in our minds, and we understand exactly what's being said and that is really begins. Here is his hero. The first of his questions or the beginning of his complaints is going to come back to it in verse 12, when he says, are you not the everlasting God, Lord my God, my holy one, we shall not die, you're the one who is ordained them as a judgment. This I don't understand either.
He says the same one who voices the question is the one who voices the answer. And in verse five, you will notice that now he is the mouthpiece of God's answer. God has spoken to him.
He has listened to him and now he speaks to him look among the nations. He says and see wonder and be astounded. You're not an hourly believe this is what he says to what I'm doing a work in your days that you would not believe. If I told you that it becomes clear that what God is going to do is he's going to use an unholy people in order to chastise his holy people.
He's going to execute his judgment by raising up a bitter and a hasty nation habit. Newsom Habakkuk knew something had to be done.
He knew that it would be God who must do it but he wasn't prepared for the way in which God's plan would be worked out. I just repeat that Habakkuk knew that something must be done. He knew that God must be the author of what was to be done, but he wasn't prepared for the way in which God's plan was to be worked out with reference that heavenly in the him that we have just song that was a great mystery for counter and that him, I know that you're a good God, I know that you're a sovereign God, but I don't understand this. That's really the spirit with which Habakkuk comes to this God is going to use an unholy instrument to achieve his purpose.
Now as you read this through on your own, and I'm confident that you will you realize that it leads inevitably to the fight that I have a kook is going to have to think this out and you will notice that he says this at the beginning of chapter 2. I'm going to have to think about this and listen to God. I would take my stand at my watch Poston station myself on the tower while it just exactly what this means, I'm not sure. Certainly, there are times when it is good for us to get up to a high place and look out over the panorama and ponder things we know also that the psalmist speaks of how the name of the Lord is a strong tower and the righteous run into it and are safe in Psalm 18 in the verses 428 and following. We read these words for it is you will guard to light my lamb the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
For by you.
I can run against the troop and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God's way is perfect. The word of the Lord proves true. He is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. So if you like, when along with Habakkuk. We look on the circumstances of life and it becomes the occasion of questioning and complaint the word of God. If you like is the latter of which we claim the word of God ultimately is the source into which we look because it is the Scriptures alone that provide the answer for all of the complaints and all of the reproof's complaints and reproof that come to us from outside when our friends and neighbors say well if you have such a wonderful God you serve.
Can you please explain to me why things are as they are, or from the reproof's that emerge from inside our own questioning parts to have a kook is questioning and is complaining. But then we find them also listening and thinking, and particularly in chapter 2, and one of the interesting things about Habakkuk, although it is not an often red book. It contains a number of very very well-known statements, and so I thought rather than range through the chapter when we listen and we think let's just notice three things to listen to and to think about. First of all, in verse four of chapter 2 behold his soul is puffed up.
It is not right within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith know what is happening there is that the contrast is being established between those who believe if you like that they can handle life and death on their own. This person regards the idea of bowing down before God is simply ridiculous as unnecessary and frankly unhelpful and he's prepared to scorn those who do the righteous by way of contrast, have a different guiding principle instead then all looking to ourselves to navigate our way out of our predicament. The righteous shall live by his faith. In other words, by believing what God says simply and solely because God said it, you save humble people, says the psalmist by the haughty eyes you bring down now if you know your Bible at all, you will know that. Interestingly, this verse is picked up again in the New Testament on a number of occasions in Hebrews and in Galatians and in Romans and Paul.
In speaking of what it means to know God and to be in a relationship with God reaches back into this statement here in Habakkuk, making it clear that God gives his righteousness as a free gift of grace, that it is not something that we can learn either by our good living, or by our religious and good works now in the midst of all of these troubles and trials have a who affirms this immense principal.
The righteous shall live by his faith, and then in verse 14 of the second chapter he encourages himself and encourages the reader by making it clear that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Remarkable statement is that given the predicament, given the rebellion on the part of the people given the ensuing case for judgments and and chaos that is to follow and in the middle of all of that makes this great statement. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord God will display his glory in executing his judgment.
He's perfect in his justice and his wisdom, and so beyond even the initial demonstration of that in the seventh century BC. We are reminded here again of the ultimate triumph of God. If it seems slow, then we should wait for the says back in verse three we go forward into the New Testament. Paul again makes this clear. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess when the writer John describes the circumstances in the book of Revelation he speaks in terms of every tribe and every nation and every people and every language you see how this creates a radical insight that runs straight through all that is going on around people say well you in our preoccupation with this and with that these are the great things you must listen to science. We must listen to the educators, we must listen to the geniuses every morning that I awaken somebody says of the experts of said and the experts of said and of course we pay attention to the experts. We are in great need of their insects, but do you as a believer this morning actually understand that whatever the circumstances may be. It is of immense significance that the right standing of a man or woman before God is by grace through faith in Jesus, that the righteous will live by faith Bible tells us that we are saved by grace, faith, and that we are to walk by listening to Truth for Life with Alister Bragg.
Alister's can continue this message tomorrow will we hope you been enjoying the encore 2021 series where we are revisiting some of the most requested messages from the past 12 months. Let me remind you we have a USB that contains some of Alister's most popular messages from the last 10 years. This USB is called 10 years of favorites that are most comprehensive collection of Alister's teaching hundred and 23 messages on dozens of topics. 10 years of favorites is perfect for popping into the USB player in your car. You can listen while you're on your daily commute were on a road trip and the USB is only five dollars. You'll find it in our online firstname.lastname@example.org/store while you're on our website. Be sure to look for the devotional that were recommending today. It's a book titled none else. 31 meditations on God's character and attributes of the book. None else is a month-long devotional that contains 31 short daily readings each reading explores a different attribute of God. Over the course of the month you will consider his wisdom is unchanging nature.
The fact that he is all-knowing. The fact that he is a triune God. And because the devotional none else specifically focuses on God.
It's a great way for you to spend a few minutes with him at the start or the end of each day. Requester copy of the book. None else. When you donate to Truth for Life and simply tap on the image you see in the app or call us at 888-588-7884 Bob Lapine thanks for joining us today.
Sure. Listen again tomorrow for the conclusion of the message we heard today when our questioning and complaining leaves us without answers. What we do next.
Find out why our silence can lead us to song the Bible teaching of Alister Bragg is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living