Tuesday, September 26, 2006

#65 "When We Just Don't Understand"

September 26, 2006
"How long, O Lord, must I call for help but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?" (Habakkuk 1: 2)

How many times have you heard "because I said so" from your parents when you were growing up after you questioned their denial of a request? How many times have you said those very same words to your children? "Because I said so, that's why!" If you're like me, as an adult, you still ask that same old question, "why?" Often the silence seems to scream, "because I said so, that's why!"

Well, tucked away at the end of the Old Testament, there is an often overlooked book of Scripture written by the minor prophet Habakkuk. We don't know much about him except his name and his profession. Writing at a time of international crisis and national corruption, Habakkuk wants to know why God doesn't step in and do something. Babylon was growing and so was the corruption of God's people, Judah. In this book, he is essentially asking, "God, don't you see? Don't you see the growing international crises and how morally decayed our own country has become? People don't care. They go on about their lives seeking pleasure, not God, as world powers are getting ready to destroy us?" Wow, I agree with my Bible Knowledge Commentary that says "this little book is as contemporary as the morning newspaper." But instead of saying, "because I said so", God, in His infinite mercy, gives answers and encouragement to Habakkuk, and to us, in this little book.

Whether we are questioning world events and moral debauchery in our country, or the everyday circumstances of our lives that we don't understand, I believe that the book of Habakkak gives us three things that we can do to get beyond the "why's" and walk in faith and victory.

The first thing is to have patience. This can be found in Habakkak 2: 2-3. "Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. (In other words, spread the news). For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." God's revelations and promises will always come to pass. They will never prove false. The Bible is full of promises that the wicked will be destroyed and righteousness will prevail. Sometimes the fulfillment of those promises seems delayed but they will come to pass according to His perfect plan. If you are discouraged today from doing the right thing over and over and over again with seemingly no reward or blessing or change in your circumstance...be patient. The promise will come to pass. God said it..that settles it.

The second thing is to stop complaining and stop doubting. Habakkak 2: 20 says, "But the Lord is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." The Hebrew word "hasah", rendered "be silent", means "hush". Be silent. Be still. One of my favorite verses of Scripture is in Isaiah 30: 15, where it says, "in quietness and trust is your strength." Do you want to be strong? Be quiet. Hush! God is not insensitive. He is not indifferent. Nor is He inactive. He is totally, supremely in control. He told Habakkak to stand in humble silence, a hushed expectancy of God's intervention. God knows about your illness. He knows about your husband. He sees your child. He knows all of the stress that's on your job. He knows your bank account is empty and the electric bill is due. In His perfect time, He will accomplish His divine purpose.

Third, trust God. Have faith. Sounds way too simple and too much like a platitude, right? Wrong! This was Habakkak's response to the Lord's answer. God let him know that He was in control. That He could be trusted. That the end result would come. So Habakkak responded in faith and trust. In spite of what things looked like.

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior."
(Habakkak 3: 17-18)

Habakkak was strong spiritually. In the most adverse circumstances, when there were no signs that things would get better, He was prepared to trust God. His inner peace did not depend on his outward circumstances. And he wasn't just enduring the hardships. Not just having a "grin and bear it" attitude. No, He said he would rejoice! Because He knew that God was the source of his joy. You can't buy joy. You can't find it in circumstance. You certainly can't trust your emotions. Joy is found in the Person of Jesus Christ. You can smile in the midst of adverse circumstances if you have an intimate and personal relationship with Jesus.

Be patient. Hush. Trust. Habakkak started out this book depressed and discouraged. All he could see were his problems. But he cried out to God and He answered. And through Habakkuk's little book, God answers your cry today. His word brings you the confidence that He has your life under control. You can start in the pits and end up on the mountain top of trust and faith in your God. Your complaints can be swallowed up by confidence. Your fear can turn to faith. Take your eyes off the problem and fix them on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2) and the One who can sympathize with your weaknesses (Hebrews 4: 15). Why? Because He says so, that's why!

Donna Schultz

One Night With the King Please view this trailer for an awesome movie coming out October 13, 2006. The story of Esther comes to life and is truly a movie "for such a time as this." I'm asking everyone that I know to pack the theaters on opening weekend. This is no cheesy B-quality Christian film. It is of the highest quality and cinematography.

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