Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 4 months ago

God's Unbelievable Answer

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Habakkuk 1:1-11

If you'd remain standing for the readingof God's word this evening from the Prophet Habacock, Habacock Chapter One. I'llbegin in verse one, but will mostly focus on versus five and following Barbaccachapter one, beginning in verse one. Listen, for this is the wordof the Lord, the Oracle that Habacock, the prophet, saw. Oh Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear?Or cry to you violence and you will not save? Why do you makeme see iniquity and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violenceare before me, strife and contention arise, so the law is paralyzed and justicenever goes forth, for the wicked surround the righteous. So justice goesforth perverted. Look among the nations and see, wonder and be astounded,for I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe iftold. For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter andhasty nation who march through the breadth of the earth to seize dwellings not theirown. They are dreaded and fearsome. Their justice and dignity go out fromthemselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves.Their horsemen press proudly on. Their horsemen come from afar. They flylike an eagle, swift to devour. They all come for violence. Alltheir faces forward, they gather captives like sand. At kings they scoff,and at rulers they laugh. They laugh at every fortress, for they pileup earth and take it. Then they sweep by like the wind and goon guilty men whose own might is their God. As far the reading ofGod's Word May he blessed it to us. Please be seated. It's really prettyeasy to ignore television commercials most of the time, as long as you'renot paying too much attention. They quickly just become background noise. But theones that always seem to catch my attention are the ones that seem to beexplaining some new kind of medication. Have you ever noticed these? They alllook exactly the same. They must use the same footage of smiling people ridingbikes are flying kites, and they only really last about ten seconds. Theyonly have about ten seconds to explain to you what their product is and whatit's used for, because the rest of the commercial is used to list themultitude and multitude of side effects. Most of the commercials dedicated to tell inyou all the terrible things that might happen to you if you use this product. My side effects may include dry mouth,...

...headaches, 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? Howis this helping? The solution oftentimes sounds worse than the problem. Thecure sounds worse than the disease, and I can't help but be reminded ofthose commercials when I read God's response here to Habakic and to habacas complaint.HABACIC cries out to the Lord, complaining about the State of Israel. Hecomplains about Judah. He begins by saying that things are not the way they'resupposed to be and that God seems to be silent. Habakas complain throughout thefirst four verses of this chapter, is that the world is upside down becausethe law is ineffective. The world is upside down because justice is is bent. I mean the righteous are punished, sin is rewarded and the prophet longsto see justice go for to see an answer to the wickedness that surrounds therighteous. But he's not just making a request, he's not just bringing apetition to the Lord. No, here he's making a complaint against God.That is how he says. How long shall I cry and you do notanswer? Or why do you make me see iniquity? Why do you idlylook at wrong? And he's making a very pointed complaint. It's not ageneralized kind of complaint, like why, Oh why, does this always happenedto me? No, his his complaints are pointed. Oh Lord, youwill not hear, you will not say. Why do you make me see iniquity? Why do you make me look at why do you look idly atwrong? You can almost see him pointing the finger at God. And hisState is made all the more desperate because of how God has acted on behalfof his people in the past. I mean the Bible gives us a patternof God hearing and seeing the miserable state of his people and so he actsto save I mean back when God's people were enslaved in Egypt, were toldthat during those days of the king, the King of Egypt died and thepeople of Israel grown because of their slavery and cried out for help. Theircry for rescue from slavery came up to God and God heard their groaning andGod remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. God sawthe people of Israel and God knew. But now Habakkuk is accusing God offailing to hear, failing to see,...

...failing to save. He's longing forGod to respond, he's longing for God to act against the injustices because he'slonging for justice. But does he really know what he's asking for? Becausehere God does respond, however, he responds with an unbelievable account, forGod's solution sounds worse than the problem. God's cure sounds worse than the disease. Notice here, in verse five, he doesn't even preface his response witha greeting. The text doesn't even give a pause to indicate the change inthe speaker. A Bacca, just concluded his prayer saying justice goes forth pervertedor bent, and the very next word is God saying look, in fact, in his one verse, Verse Five, God Commands The prophet to do forthings. He says look, he says see, he says wonder,he says be astounded. He's received these complaints. And yet notice how Godis not defensive. Our Lord doesn't show up to give an account of hisactions. He doesn't give his reasonings for this or for that problem in theProphet's life. Mean, though he's just been the recipient 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 how Bakak has just complained with all these problems in Judah. Whydo you look? Make me see iniquity? And God says look, look amongthe nations, see and wonder and be astounded. And as if witha thunder clap, the prophets complaints are ended, as God redirects the Prophet'sfocus. I mean, the Lord has not been death, he has notbeen blind, he has been at work, he has been completing a work thatis so amazing, that is so astounding, you would not believe iteven if you were told. He tells Abacak as he's telling him. Forbehold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, he says, that bitter and hastynation who marched through the breadth of the earth to seize dwellings not theirown. We know these Chaldeans as Babylonians, and so the Lord is raising upthe Babylonians. The Lord is raising up a nation that is bitter,that is hasty, a nation that is ferocious, terrifying, brutal and merciless. And as he describes the devastations of...

...the Babylonians, you can hear theirpower. He says in Verse Eight. Their horses are swifter than leopards,more fierce than the evening wolves. Their horsemen, pressed proudly on their horsemen, come from afar. They fly like an eagle, swift to devour.These Babylonian soldiers are not even compared to people, but to the fiercest ofwild animals, stalking and hunting their prey, like an evening wolf ready for thekill, chasing after, hunting down, devouring, like leopards or like eagles, they all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gathercaptives like sand at kings. They scoff at rulers, they laugh. Theylaugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it. Theyare ruthless right. They are powerful, ready to take what they will.As easy as one gathers handfuls of sand, they are gathering captives, both greatand small. The most powerful nations in the lands bend and break attheir wills. I mean fortresses are designed to keep the inhabitants safe and tokeep evildoers at bay, and yet they're easily invaded and overthrown. Rather thaneven having to siege these palaces, surrounding them and forcing starvation upon the inhabitants, the Babylonians don't even have to wait, we're told. They've got the numbersto simply pile up dirt ramps and March right in. They are skilledin warfare. And what's more devastating than their speed, or their power ortheir resources is their morality. First seven says they are dreaded and fearsome.Their justice and dignity go forth from themselves. So why are they so fearsome?Their very sense of justice, their notions of right and wrong, arisenot from God but from themselves. They are their own judges and juries,and so that, by their notions of justice, they think what they're doingis 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. Verse Nine says they come for violence,all their faces forward. There's no sideways glances, there's no hesitations. They'renot wondering. Do you think this is okay? Do you think anybody willsee us? They are coming for war and they will not be reasoned with, they will not relent. They sweep by like the wind and go on. Guilty men whose own might is their...

God. So their final authority onwhat is right, on what is wrong, on what is just and unjust,is their own strength. They listen to and obey their might as oneobeys a god, for they are governed not by reason, not by law. Instead, they are governed simply by their own strength. Might makes right, and far more devastating than their skill in battle is their unrestrained appetite forviolence. So how then, how is this an answer to Habakkuk's prayer?How is this a solution to the problems facing Judah? It actually does soundincomprehensible. It sounds unbelievable. Imagine taking your car to a mechanic due toa host of problems, only to be told we fixed it right, thesteering no longer squeaks, you don't need a new transmission. Great, whereis it we threw in the bottom of the ocean? How is this fixingthe problem? It isn't. This just making everything worse. How is thisan answer to Habacock's prayer? I mean, how is the answer to injustice moreinjustice? How is the answer to Habaccuck's complaint of violence, more violence? God is perfect, his justice is perfect and pure. And so Habacockwill ask why, why would our pure God possibly dirty his hands with sucha wicked instrument like these Babylonians? And yet, from our passage, Godis demonstrating a few things. First of all, see that this is ananswer to Habacock's prayer. This may not be the answer that he was lookingfor, it may not be an answer that makes sense to the Prophet,but despite his complaints, God actually is not idle. God does not sleep, he is always seeing, he is always hearing, and God agrees.Judah is wallowing in violence, Judah is lacking injustice. And so, secondly, we see that justice will come, even though it appears as though thewicked are prospering, it is a temporary prospering, even though it feels liketheir violence never ends. God will bring an end to the UNRIGHTEOUS, asPaul tells us and reminds us in Romans chapter two, verse three. Doyou suppose, O man, that you,...

...who judge those who practice such thingsand yet do them yourselves, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume, on the riches of his kindness and kindness andforbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you torepentance, but because of your hard and impenitent heart, you are storing upwrath for yourself on the day of Wrath, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. Peter says that the Lord is not slow, rather he is patient, and so here in Abacock were remind that that God does hear, hedoes answer the prayers of his people, and we reminded that prayers for justicewill be answered by our perfect judge, and were called to see here theGod's ways are higher than our ways, as the Prophet Isaiah Records in hisfifty fifth chapter, where God says. My thoughts are not your thoughts.Neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavensare are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your waysand my thoughts than your thoughts. And so while we hear an unexpected andan unbelievable answer to have ACCAs complaining prayer, we're also called to see that God'sways are perfect. But we don't always get an explanation, though.God doesn't give a defense for his actions. He will judge sin, even ifhere it is through a bitter and hasty nation. Sin and wickedness willbe cursed, and even though we don't yet see why God would use theBabylonians in the judgment of his people, at least we ought to notice thatthere is justice being dispensed here. We are shown a brutal a, asevere punishment on Judah for her sins, but it's a severe punishment that fitsa brutal and severe crime. We're shown that those in Judah who prey uponthe weak will be preyed upon themselves, that those in Judah who commit violencewill have violence come upon them, that those in Judah who shed blood willhave their blood shed. For do you see how God is using the veryweapons of the wicked against themselves? Those who deal in injustice will be treatedto the injustice of the Babylon Niance. And is that? There's certain acertain kind of justice to that, a justness to that? God is balancingthe scales, he is making recompense, he is paying back the wicked fortheir deeds. In this astonishing word, God is using Babylon to declare holywar against Judah. For, don't you...

...see, it's through violence that Godis cursing violence, through injustice God is cursing injustice. 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 theGospel, that even here we get a picture of the cross. After all, speaking of injustices, is there a greater injustice then what Christ experienced beforepilot? There you have the sentencing of the only truly innocent man to haveever lived, and there you have the death penalty being assigned to God inthe flesh. Is there a greater act of injustice than that? Is therea greater act of violence then the killing of the pure and spotless land amof God. Is there a greater display of human wickedness and lawlessness than thecrucifixion of Christ? And yet they're at the cross. Don't you see Godusing the weapons of Satan Against Satan? Do you see God wielding the violenceof men's hearts, wielding the injustice and senselessness of men? Do you seeGod killing death itself in the death of Christ? After all, Peter tellsus in acts chapter two, men of Israel hear these words. Jesus ofNazareth, a man attested to you by God, with Mighty Works and wondersand signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know, this Jesus delivered up according to the definite plan and Foreknowledge of God,you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. And yet, throughthe hands of lawless men, God was at work, bringing judgment against thevery lawlessness that hung Christ on the Cross, bringing judgment upon sin, your sinand mine, ultimately to curse death itself in the very death of Christ. And yet, is Peter Continues, God raised him up, looseing thepangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held byit. It is because Christ is without sin that makes what he suffered sounjust, so vile and so lawless. And yet it's also because Christ waswithout sin that he suffered the curse, not for himself but for sinners.And so do you see the lengths your Lord has gone to to cure thedisease, to truly remedies sin and death,...

...to truly crush Satan and his schemes? It took the death and resurrection of the spotless son of God,for God's justice is perfect. He will not tolerate sin forever. And willyou find yourself standing on your own facing the flood of God's swift and perfectjustice, or have your sins already been crucified, dead, buried with Christ, so that you will be raised in the righteous perfections of Christ himself?Truly, Christ has undergone both the terrors of the nations and the Justice ofthe Lord, and death could not hold him. Death had no claim onhim. So that if you trust in Christ, if he is your hope, death has no claim on you either, and he will raise you on thelast day. Truly, we have an astounding Lord who works salvation forhis people sometimes wielding unexpected in just things. And yet if God can use thevery injustice, the worst injustice, this world has ever seen, forthe greatest good the world has ever known, if he can use the crucifixion ofChrist to bring about the greatest blessing and end to curse and end todeath, then surely he can use the sufferings, he can use the evilsthat we see around us for his glorious purposes. And we don't always seethe reasons why, we don't always know the wise, we do know himand by knowing him more and seeing that his justice is perfect, we canrest in his justice, because it's his justice that declares you forgiven. It'shis justice that declares you righteous and holy in Christ. And this is somethingwe would not believe even if we were told it takes a work of Godin our hearts, takes the gift of faith that we would respond in faithand love and in hope for our Lord. Amen. Let's pray.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (575)