Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 2 months ago

God's Unbelievable Answer


Habakkuk 1:1-11

If you'd remain standing for thereading of God's word this evening from the Prophet Habakuk aback a chapter,one I'll begin in verse, one, but willmostly focus on versus five and following a back at chapter onebeginning and verse. One listen for this is the word of the Lord, the Oracle that Ha backin. The Prophetsaw O Lord. How long shall I cry for helpand you will not hear or cry to you violence and you will not save. Why doyou make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction andviolence are before me. Strife and contention arise, so the law isparalyzed and justice never goes forth for the wicked surround the righteous,so justice goes forth, perverted, look among the nations and see wonderand be astounded, for I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe.If told for behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans that bitter and hasty nationwho marched through the breadth of the earth to seize dwellings, not their own.They are dreaded and fearsome their justice and dignity go out fromthemselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than theevening wolves, their horsemen press proudly on their horsemen. Come fromafar. They fly like an eagle swift to devour. They all come for violence alltheir faces forward. They gather captives like sand at kings, they scoffand at rulers. They laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up,earth and take it. Then they sweep by like the wind and go on guilty menwhose own might is their God. As for the reading of God's word, mayHe bless it to us. Please be seat it. It's really pretty easy to ignoretelevision commercials most the time as long as you're not paying too muchattention. They quickly just become background noise, but the ones that always seem to catch.My attention are the ones that seem to be explainingsome new kind of medication. Have you ever noticed things? They alllook exactly the same. They must use the same footage of smiling people,riding bikes or flying kites, and they only really last about tenseconds. They only have about ten seconds to explain to you what theirproduct is and what it's used for, because the rest of the commercial is used to list the multitude andmultitude of side effects most of the commercials dedicated totelling you all the terrible things that might happen to you. If you usethis product,... side effects may include dry mouthheadaches, blurred vision, involuntary twitching, vomiting, persistent nausea,seizures, slurred speech, Comas and death to the point where you're left thinking. How is this a cure? How is this helping? The Solution? Oftentimes sounds worsethan the problem. The cure sounds worse than the disease. I can't help but be reminded of thosecommercials. When I read God's response here to Habakuk and to habakuk complaint Ha Bacca cries out to the Lord complaining about the State of Israel. He complainsabout Judah. He begins by saying that things are not the way they're supposedto be and that God seems to be silent. Abacus complaint throughout the firstfour verses of this chapter is that the world is upside down, because the lawis ineffective. The world is upside down, because justice is bent, I meanthe righteous are punished. Sin Is rewarded and the prophet longs to seejustice go forth to see an answer to the wickedness that surrounds therighteous, but he's not just making a request.He's not just bringing a petition to the Lord. No here he's making acomplaint against God. That is how he says. How long shall I cry, and you donot answer or why do you make me see iniquity? Why do you idly? Look itwrong he's making a very pointed complaint. It's not a generalized kind ofcomplaint like why, Oh, why does this always happen to me now his t, hiscomplaints are pointed o, Lord, you will not hear you will not say why doyou make me see iniquity? Why do you make me look at? Why do you look idlyat wrong? You can almost see him pointing thefinger at God and his State is made all the moredesperate because of how God has acted on behalf of his people. In the past Imean the Bible gives us a pattern of God hearing and seeing the miserablestate of his people, and so he acts to save. I mean back when God's peoplewere enslaved in Egypt were told that during those days of the king, the Kingof Egypt died and the people of Israel grown because of their slavery andcried out for help their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God, and Godheard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham,with Isaac and with Jacob God saw the people of Israel and God knew. But now Habakuk is accusing God of failing to hear,failing to see,...

...failing to save he's longing for God to respond, he'slonging for God to act against the injustices because he's longing forjustice. But does he really know what he'sasking for? Because here God does respond? However, he responds with anunbelievable account. For God's solution sounds worse thanthe problem. God's cure sounds worse than thedisease notice here in verse, five, he doesn'teven preface his response with a greeting. The text doesn't even give a pause toindicate the change in the speaker. A back had just concluded his prayer,saying justice goes forth, perverted or bent, and the very next word is God sayinglook in fact in this one verse, Verse FiveGod commands the Prophet to do four things he says. Look he says see, hesays wonder he says, be astounded he's received these complaints and yet notice how God is not defensive. Our Lord doesn't show up to give anaccount of his actions. He doesn't give his reasonings for this or for thatproblem in the Prophet's life mean, though, he's just been therecipient of these complaints. He's not now on the defense, because God is not actually on trial.Judah is on trial, and so our Lord immediately redirects,the Prophet's attention I mean Ha Bacca- is just complainedwith all these problems in Judah. Why do you look make me see iniquity andGod says, Look, look among the nations, see and wonderand be astounded and as if with a thunder, clap theprophets complaints are ended, as God redirects the Prophet's focus mean. The Lord has not been death, hehas not been blind. He has been at work. He has been completing a work that isso amazing that is so astounding. You would not believe it, even if you weretold he tells Habeck as he's telling him for behold. I am raising up theChaldeans. He says that bitter and hasty nation who marched through thebreadth of the earth to seize dwellings not their own. We know these Chaldeans as Babylonians, and so the Lord is raising up theBabylonians. The Lord is raising up a nation that is bitter, that is hasty, anation that is ferocious terrifying, brutal and merciless and, as he describes the devastationsof the Babylonians, you can hear their...

...power. He says a verse at their horses areswifter than leopards more fierce than the evening wolves. Their horse beenpressed proudly on their horsemen. Come from afar. They fly like an eagle swiftto devour these Babylonian soldiers are not evencompared to people but to the fiercest of wild animals,stalking and hunting their prey like an evening. Wolf ready for the kill chasing after hunting down devouringlike leopards or like eagles. They all come for violence all theirfaces forward. They gather captives like sand at kings. They scoff atrulers. They laugh, they laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth andtake it. They are ruthless right. They arepowerful ready to take what they will as easy as one gathers hand ffuls ofsand. They are gathering captives both great and small, the most powerful nations in the landsbend and break at their wills. I mean fortresses are designed to keep theinhabitants safe and to keep evil doers at bay and yet they're easily invaded andoverthrown, rather than even having to siege these palaces surrounding themand forcing starvation upon the inhabitants. The Baba, onias, don'teven have to wait or told they've got the numbers to simply pile up dirt,ramps and March right in they are skilled in warfare and, what'smore devastating than their speed or their power or their resources is their morality for seven says they are dreaded andfearsome their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. So why are they so? Fearsome their very sense of justice, theirnotions of right and wrong arise, not from God, but from themselves. They are their own judges and juries, and so by their notions of justice.They think what they're doing is. Okay. They think it is right. They don't hide their deeds in thedarkness of night. They don't look behind them to see who might bewatching US carry out these acts. First, nine says they come for violence,all their faces forward. There's no sideways glances. There's nohesitations! They're! Not Wondering do you thinkthis is okay? Do you think anybody will see us? They are coming for war andthey will not be reasoned with. They will not relent they sweep by like the wind and go onguilty men whose own might is their God,... their final authority on what isright on what is wrong and what is just and unjust is their own strength. Theylisten to and obey their mite as one obeys a god, for they are governed not by reason notby law. Instead, they are governed simply by their own. Strength might makes right and far more devastating than theirskill in battle is their unrestrained appetite for violence. So how, then, how is this an answer to Habakuk prayer? How is this a solution to the problemsfacing Judah? It actually does sound incomprehensible.It sounds unbelievable. Imagine taking your car to a mechanic due to a host of problems, only to betold we fixed it might the steering no longer squeaks.You don't need a new transmission great. Where is it? We threw it in the bottom of the ocean. How is this fixing the problem? Isn'tthis just making everything worse? How is this an answer to Ha backusprayer? I mean how is the answer to injustice, more injustice? How is the answer to Habakuk complaintof violence, more violence- God is perfect, his justice is perfectand pure, and so Ha Bacca will ask why. Why would our pure God possibly dirtyhis hands with such a wicked instrument like these Babylonians and yet from our passage, God isdemonstrating a few things. First of all see that this is an answerto Habakuk prayer. This may not be the answer that he waslooking for. It may not be an answer that makessense to the Prophet, but despite his complaints, Godactually is not idle. God does not sleep, he is always seeing. He is alwayshearing and God agrees. Judah is wallowing in violence. Judahis lacking in justice, and so secondly, we see that justicewill come, even though it appears as though thewicked are prospering. It is a temporary prospering, even though it feels like theirviolence never ends. God will bring an end to the unrighteous as Paul tells us and reminds us inRomans Chapter Two verse: Three. Do you suppose o man that o you whojudge those who practice such things...

...and get do them yourselves, that youwill escape the judgment of God, or do you presume on the riches of hiskindness and kindness and forbearance and patience? Not knowing that God'skindness is meant to lead you to repentance, but because of your hard and impenitentheart, you are storing a wrath for yourself on the day of Wrath. WhenGod's righteous judgment will be revealed, Peter says that the Lord is not slow.Rather, he is patient, and so here in a Bacca, we remind thatthat God does hear he does answer the prayers of his people, and we reminded that prayers forjustice will be answered by our perfect judge, and we're called to see here that God's ways are higher than ourways as the prophetise records in his fiftyfifth chapter or God says my thoughts are not yourthoughts. Neither are your ways. My ways declares the Lord, for, as theheavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways andmy thoughts than your thoughts. And so while we hear an unexpected andan unbelievable answer to Habakuk complaining prayer were also called to see that God's waysare perfect, that we don't always get an explanation, though God doesn't give a defence forhis actions. He will judge sin, even if here it is through a bitter andhasty nation sin and wickedness will be cursed, and even though we don't yet see whyGod would use the Babylonians in the judgment of his people at least, we ought to notice that thereis justice being dispensed here. We are shown a brutally a severepunishment on Judah for her sins, but it's a severe punishment that fitsa brutal and severe crime. We are shown that those in Judah whoprey upon the weak will be preyed upon themselves thatthose in Judah who commit violence will have violence, come upon them that those in Judah who shed blood willhave their blood shed for. Do you see how God is using thevery weapons of the wicked against themselves? Those who deal in injustice will betreated to the injustice of the Babylonians, and is there certain a certain kind ofjustice to that? A justness to that God is balancing the scales he ismaking recompense. He is paying back the wicked for their deeds in this astonishing, where God is usingBabylon to declare holy war against Judah.

For don't you see it's through violencethat God is cursing violence through injustice? God is cursinginjustice even through death. God is cursing death and you may marvel. How could this be?And yet in this act I think we do see a glimpse of the Gospel that even here we get a picture of thecross after all, speaking of injustices, is there a greater injustice, then,what Christ experienced before pilot there? You have the sentencing of theonly truly innocent man to have ever lived, and there you have the death penaltybeing assigned to God in the flesh. Is there a greater act of injustice thanthat? Is there a greater act of violence than the killing of the pureand spotless lamb of God? Is there a greater display of human wickedness andlawlessness than the crucifixion of Christ, and yet there at the cross?Don't you see God using the weapons of Satan Against Satan? Do you see, Godwielding the violence of men's hearts, wielding the injustice andsenselessness of men? Do you see, God killing death itself inthe death of Christ? After all, Peter tells us, in axchapter two men of Israel, hear these words Jesus of Nazareth, a man attestedto you by God, with mighty works and wonders, and signs that God did throughhim in your midst. As you yourselves know, this Jesus delivered up accordingto the definite plan and Foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by thehands of lawless men and yet through the hands of lawless men. God was atwork, bringing judgment against the very lawlessness that hung Christ onthe Cross, bringing judgment upon sin, your sinand mine, ultimately to curse death itself in thevery death of Christ, and yet, as Peter continues. God raised him up, loosingthe pangs of death because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Itis because Christ is without sin that makes what he suffered so unjust,so vile and so lawless, and yet it's also because Christ was without sinthat he suffered the curse not for himself but for sinners. And so do you see the links your Lordhas gone to to cure the disease, to truly remedy sin and death to trulycrush Satan and his schemes. It took...

...the death and resurrection of thespotless son of God. For God's justice is perfect. He willnot tolerate sin for ever and will you find yourself standing on your ownfacing the flood of God's swift and perfect justice, or have your sins already beencrucified, dead and buried with Christ so that you will be raised in therighteous perfections of Christ himself? Truly Christ has undergone both theterrors of the nations, and the Justice of the Lord and death could not holdhim. Death had no claim on him so that, if you trust in Christ, if heis your hope, death has no claim on you either, and he will raise you on the last day. Truly, we have an astounding Lord whoworks salvation for his people sometimes wielding unexpected in just things, and yet, if God can use the veryinjustice, the worst injustice this world has ever seen for the greatestgood, the world has ever known. If he can use the crucifixion of Christ tobring about the greatest blessing, an end to curse, an end to death, then surely he can use the sufferings.He can use the the evils that we see around us for his glorious purposes and we don't always see the reasons whywe don't always know the wise. We do know him and by knowing him moreand seeing that his justice is perfect. We can rest in his justice because it'shis justice that declares you forgiven. It's his justice that declares yourighteous and holy in Christ, and this is something we would notbelieve. Even if we were told it takes a work of God in our hearts.It takes the gift of faith that we would respond in faith in loveand in hope, for our Lord Amen. That's pray.

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