Trusting God's Goodness (Habakkuk)

Scripture: Habakkuk 2:14, Habakkuk 1:1-17
Date: 05/25/2013 
Lesson: 8
"We may not understand always why tragedy happens, but we can trust God, no matter what."
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. We are coming to you from California's capital city. It is a beautiful, sunny day here in Sacramento and I hope that wherever you are joining us from, even if it's not sunny outside, that you are happy in your hearts. I hope that you have had a wonderful week and that you are ready to open up God's Word and study together with us here at central church and, of course, sing your favorite songs. Today is no exception.

We have a lot of requests for our first song, so if you're at home and you have a hymnal, pull it out and sing with us - #373 - 'seeking the lost'. This is a request from vaughn in antigua and barbuda, roslyn in australia, marcel, terry and samantha in the bahamas, Michael and rhea in California, bob, kofi and roxanne in Canada, dean in Colorado, ann, kimberly, simren, diamond, and sanjay in england, and let's see, simren in england sent in a message. She's nine years old and she loves to sing along with us every Sabbath morning and this is her favorite song. 'Thank you and God bless you' and her four-year-old sister and they're from manchester, england. So it's always nice to hear from our young viewers.

Owen in finland, denver in florida, frank and marrie in Georgia, David, dabbie and shante in grenada, leopold in jamaica, ernie in kenya, cindy and margaret in Maryland, hasani in Michigan, connie and harland in Minnesota, jacques and Michael in New Jersey, allison, hazel, jade, leila and linda in New York, jena in saint kitts and nevis, irvin in saint vincent and the grenadines, thapelo in south africa, kam and natalie in tennessee, nick in Texas, ayesha, jayelle and Joel in trinidad and tobago, Christa in Virginia, and camille, xavier, and kendell in Washington. Okay guys, we want to hear you singing extra loud this morning. #373 - We'll do all three stanzas - 'seeking the lost'. Thank you so much for sending in that request and for those of you who are watching from england, I will let you know that my mom and dad and I are going to be in the york seventh day adventist church on may the 31st. That is a Sabbath and I thought I would just let you know in case you're in that area and, in fact, it's very exciting, we got an e-mail from a lady who was wanting to come to central to be baptized - and her son - but they couldn't come and they go to the york church.

And so, I think, if they work it out my dad's going to do th baptism - which is the place where he was baptized, my mom was baptized, they were married and my sister was dedicated, so it's very exciting. So we're going to be back visiting family for a few days and we will be in york adventist church on may 31. So we would love to see you, our english viewers and little girls in manchester, it's not that far away from york...hint hint. Our next song is one of our new ones. It's beautiful.

#55 - 'O gladsome light'. This is a beautiful little tune. It was written by a mom for her two children, mary and harry, in the 1800s and we are just learning this one and it is just beautiful, so we're going to sing it. #55 - Why am I not seeing that? Wrong title! 'Jesus tender shepherd hear me' - there we go. That was so short and sweet and it was requested by annamarie in Arizona and joyce in kenya.

And we're going to do #56 - seeing as #55 was so short and this is a gorgeous song. I encourage you to go to youtube - jen sent me the link for this one last night for this amazing arrangement - look for the 2008 service of remembrance from the royal albert hall and you will hear this with choir boys and an orchestra and choir - and in my head this morning I see choir boys coming in and joining with us but we don't have any, unfortunately. So just imagine it and go look it up on youtube. #56 - Beautiful song and we will do all four stanzas. Father in Heaven, through time empires have come and gone.

You told us that in the Bible. Nothing would last forever apart from yours, which is coming very soon. And I pray that we will be ready for that day when you do come so we can spend eternity with you in heaven where there'll be no more pain, no more suffering, and happiness forevermore. Father, I pray that we will each be ready. Thank you so much for loving us, for dying for us, and for giving us the hope of eternal life.

Be with us right now as we open up Your Word and we study together. Be with pastor chris as he brings us the lesson. Be with our extended family across the country and around the world. You know each and every one of them. You know each and everyone's personal needs and I just pray that you'll be with us today in a special way.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor chris buttery. He is our family life and evangelism pastor, that's right, and he's also from australia. I know no one here is going to hold that against me - being from australia - at least I hope not. Good morning to each of you.

Good to see you this morning and happy Sabbath. Absolutely. I think what we need to do after debbie gets back from england is work out a way to get her to australia. Then she'll know what the true country looks like. And wayne - wayne and sandy from australia - look, you know what I'm talking about here.

And, by the way, just in case you were concerned when I told our friends from sydney that adelaide wins hands down, I know wayne is originally from adelaide, so I was safe there, but sandy I'm not sure. You may be talking to me afterwards. But look - good to see you and glad we could be here together to study God's Word. And also, we want to welcome those who are viewing online or watching on tv or listening by radio this morning. We're so glad to have you here as well, studying with us.

We want to make sure that our online and tv viewers are aware of our free gift offer. It's entitled, 'is there anything left you can trust?' And it's today's special offer and it's offer #103 and you can receive this by calling -866-study-more or -866-788-3966. And certainly in today's morally challenged world, one asks the question whether there is anything left you can trust and the answer to that is 'yes. You can trust God's holy word and so the study guide is geared toward encouraging individuals that you can trust God's Word. It's filled with evidences declaring God's Word is truthful and you can trust it.

We're going to continue in our - with our Sabbath school quarterly. We're in lesson #8 and so if you have your quarterly with you, we're going to be turning over there to lesson #8 in this quarter's theme, 'major lessons from minor prophets' - 'trusting God's goodness'. That's what the title is of this week's lesson, 'trusting God's goodness and we're going to be studying and looking at the book of Habakkuk - for those who pronounce it otherwise, like Habakkuk, it's the same book, Habakkuk. I did my homework and made sure I pronounced it correctly here this morning. Habakkuk is fine, I understand, but were in - we're going to be in Habakkuk and we're - first of all, we're going to look at our memory verse here this morning - Habakkuk chapter 2 and verse 14.

I'm going to be reading from the new king James version - Habakkuk chapter 2 and verse 14. It says, 'for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." And we'll take a little bit more about that as we progress through our study here this morning. Some of you may be familiar with the individual who termed himself, 'terminal man' - the terminal man - at least that what he called himself in his autobiography. His real name is mehran karimi nasseri and mehran nasseri lived in a departure lounge of terminal one in the charles de gaulle airport in paris, France. Nasseri was expelled from his own country due to protests to the then king of iran, mohammad reza shah, but was eventually awarded refugee status in belgium by the united nations high commission.

This meant that he could take up residency in any european country. His choice was england. Hmmm, interesting...england. Well, during his stopover in paris on the way to england, the briefcase he used to carry his important paperwork in vanished. He lost it.

But in spite of this, he still boarded his flight to britain but was quickly returned to France when he couldn't produce his passport there in england. He was initially arrested by the french but then released for reasons that his entry into the airport was legal and that he had no country of origin to be returned to. Thus began his residency in terminal one. Several attempts were made over the years to find a way to get nasseri to england, but they all failed, so from August 26, 1988 to July 2006, the better part of years, mehran nasseri waited. Wow.

There's an uncanny similarity between the story of nasseri and the theme of the book of Habakkuk - waiting patiently for God's salvation. And so, let's talk a little bit about Habakkuk here. You want to turn in your Bibles to that little book. By the way, even though it's little, it's jam-packed full of great spiritual truths and lessons for us today. So you want to turn there to Habakkuk.

We're going to be starting in chapter 1, but Habakkuk, I understand, his name means 'one who embraces' or 'one who clings ahold of' or clings to. And we'll see why that's pretty important or significant later on. Not much else is known about the prophet. I'm not sure if God called him from some other occupation. Maybe he was a temple singer, based upon chapter 3 of the book.

Maybe he was a temple singer. We don't know if he was trained in the school of the prophets. We just don't know these things. But nonetheless, here he is doing what he is called to do. Now Habakkuk lived during a time of deep apostasy - maybe toward the latter end of manasseh's reign during, maybe, his son ammon's rule or at the front end of josiah's reign.

These were all Kings of the southern kingdom. The assyrians had subjugated the ten northern tribes by this time and many of God's people had been dispersed among the nations. The only tribes left were judah and Benjamin, at this time. And so when you're reading in the old testament about judah, you're to consider judah and Benjamin together. Judah was the larger tribe that had the larger piece of territory.

Those of you joining us Tuesday nights for prayer meeting are learning a little bit about this in the book of Joshua. But Habakkuk was a prophet to the southern kingdom - to judah - to the Kingdom there of judah prior to Babylonian captivity. Now we know this because, according to Habakkuk chapter 2 and verse 20, the temple of God is still standing. It's not in ruins. And we know that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple in 586 bc.

It's still standing so we know this was prior to Babylonian captivity and the destruction of Jerusalem. And also, according to Habakkuk chapter 1 and verses 5 through 7, the rise of Babylon seems like a fantastic proposition. God says, 'look here. Something startling is going to happen and I'm going to rise up someone who will discipline judah.' And so we know that Babylon is yet to take the stage. Nabopolassar, who ruled from 626 - 625 on hasn't yet come on the scene.

So we know that he is ministering to the - to the tribe of judah, preaching and proclaiming God's message of warning to them prior to their captivity. Now, according to 'prophets and Kings' - that fabulous book in that 'conflict of the ages' series - on page 381, we're told about that time. She says, "the Kingdom of judah, prosperous throughout the time of hezekiah, was once more brought low during the long years of manasseh's wicked reign when paganism was revived and many of the people were led into idolatry.' And then she quotes 2 Chronicles , verse 9, which says, "manasseh made judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err and do worse than the heathen." She goes on to say, "the glorious light of former generations was followed by the darkness of superstition and error. Gross evil sprang up and flourished, tyranny, oppression, hatred of all that is good, justice was perverted and violence prevailed." This was the time in which Habakkuk was living and ministering in. According to 2 Kings 21, verse the author says, "manasseh shed blood very much til he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another.

" Now although his son ammon ruled for a couple of years, he was a chip off the old block. He was prodigiously wicked, just like his father. His reign came to a short end when he was murdered by his servants. Things were pretty bad in the church at the time of Habakkuk. If we were to summarize the book, perhaps we could say it this way, 'although repeatedly called to repentance, judah stubbornly refuses to respond, therefore bringing intolerable conditions to the country.

' Habakkuk is concerned about the state of his country and so asks God 'how long will the judgments last?' God responds, which leads Habakkuk to acknowledge that he should trust God's wisdom, as though he doesn't fully - even though he doesn't fully understand his ways, and patiently wait on God. I read this about the book of Habakkuk too and I thought I'd share this. The author says, 'Habakkuk' - when you read the book of Habakkuk it provides a solution to why God permits evil to prosper comparable to the solution provided by job and to the problem of why God permits saints to suffer. So these are some things we can learn when we study the book of Habakkuk and we'll take a look at some of these things here this morning. And so you're in chapter 1 and so am I and we're going to go to Sunday's lesson 'the perplexed prophet' and really, this is looking at the first 11 verses of chapter 1 - Habakkuk chapter 1, verses 1 through 11.

The book of Habakkuk begins with the prophet asking two questions. It begins by asking two questions and it's interesting - the book of Habakkuk is an interesting book because normally the people - the prophet - speaks on behalf of God to the people, but Habakkuk speaks to God about the people. It's a little different and you'll see that here. First, Habakkuk questions why judah's sins are allowed to go unpunished - that's verses 1 through 4. We're going to look at that in just a moment.

God answers in the following verses through to verse 11 by telling him that judah will be punished by the chaldeans or by the Babylonians. This raises the second question for Habakkuk. 'How can God use a more wicked nation than judah to punish judah, his people?' And that's in verses 12 and 13. So in the first chapter of Habakkuk, we have Habakkuk's two questions. God answers one in chapter 1 and the other one he'll answer in chapter 2.

And so let's look at verses 2 through 4 of Habakkuk chapter 1 and let's read that here together. Habakkuk chapter 1, verses 2 through 4 - it says, "o lord, how long shall I cry, and you will not hear? Even cry out to you, 'violence!' And you will not save. Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds.

" How long - this is his question - 'how long, God will the wicked continue to prosper and violence remain unchecked and the righteous continue to be victimized by the unGodly?' I mean, it sounds like more than one question but that's the general tenor of his question. 'Why are the wicked allowed to prosper? Why is it that I'm looking at all this stuff? Allowed to look at all this stuff? Why isn't wickedness and violence being checked? Why aren't you intervening? Why aren't you stepping in? The question 'how long?' Of course is a cry of human despair and distress after waiting for a long time. This question is raised when God's people see injustice happening around them and even, perhaps - even to them and there doesn't appear to be any stopping it. This cry doesn't ask whether God is alive, no, but asks when God will work. 'When will you work, lord, and when will the tyranny come to an end?' That's really what the question is asking, the Spirit behind this cry is different from the Spirit of that cry from a person that's been stuck behind traffic, which is making him or her late for her appointment or for work.

Very different. Or for the person who's been stuck in some waiting room for an incredible amount of time waiting to see the doctor or the dentist or whoever they've gone to see. Very different 'how long?' This is a different spirit behind this. 'Lord, how long until you work?' Other Bible writers actually asked the same question and someone here has Jeremiah chapter 12, verses 1 through 4 - they're going to read that for us this morning. Wonderful.

We'll come to you in just a moment. Let me just read a couple of verses for you. You can jot them down. There are plenty of them but I'm not going to go through all of them. Psalm 94, verse 3, the psalmist says, "lord, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?" Now, I didn't stutter, that's exactly how what it says.

"Lord, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?" Daniel 8, verse 13 is interesting as well. "Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, "how long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?" How long? Of course, Daniel had just witnessed the rise of the little horn power and in Daniel chapter that little horn is rome in its two phases - pagan and papal rome - and he sees this power trampling on God's truth and unfairly treating God's people and these saints are speaking to one another and saying, 'how long is this going to last? How long is this going to go on for?' And then in Revelation chapter 6 and verse 10, "they cried with a loud voice," - these are the souls of those under the altar - personification of these souls. They cry out for vengeance. They say, "how long" - this is Revelation 6, verse 10 - "saying, 'how long, o lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'" How long? And then in Jeremiah 12, verses through 4, you've got that for us brother. Thanks.

"Righteous are you o lord, when I plead with you; you let me talk with you about your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they bear fruit. You are near in their mouth but far from their mind. But you, o lord, know me; you have seen me, and you have tested my heart toward you. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.

How long will the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, for the wickedness of those who dwell there, because they said, 'he will not see our final end.'" Why lord? And how long? You see the - you see the theme, right? The earnest plea of the prophet. 'Lord, when will you intervene and how long will this - these judgments continue. It seems to me that if we're not asking 'how long?' We either aren't paying attention to what's happening around us in the world today, or we've become too familiar with what we see in the world around us and we're at the point where it just doesn't bother us anymore. I would suspect that those who are waiting and longing for the salvation of God - the return of Christ - would be crying out the same question, 'lord, how long?' How long will your truth be suppressed? How long will your people have to endure? How long will the wickedness continue? How long?' And so this was the question of the prophet. God answers Habakkuk.

God answers Habakkuk by revealing that he will use Babylon as his tool of discipline. And we'll look at - we'll read that in verses 6 through 8 of Habakkuk chapter 1. It says, "for indeed I am raising up the chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation which Marches through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. Their horses also are swifter than leopards, and more fierce than evening wolves.

Their chargers charge ahead; their cavalry comes from afar; they fly as the eagle that hastens to eat." It's interesting the imagery that used here with regard to Babylon - the eagle and the - is that the wolf there? These animals - the wolves, yeah - swift leopards - swift animals. Animals that are quick and Babylon certainly conquered the region that it was eyeing in a very short time and so - and so God said, 'look, I'm going to use Babylon to discipline my people. I'm letting you know, Habakkuk, we're going to deal with this thing - this question that you've asked. Now, we know what happened to - we know what happened to judah. You can turn with me to 2 Chronicles 36 if you want.

We're going to read five verses there - or six rather. Chronicles 36, verses 15 to 20. I'm going to read this for you. Here's what the writer said with regard to judah and their demise under Babylon. It says, "and the Lord God of their father sent warnings to them" - that is to judah - "by his messengers, rising up early and sending them, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place.

But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His Words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy." - Verse 17 - "therefore he brought against them the King of the chaldeans, who killed their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion on young men or virgin, on the aged or the weak; he gave them all into his hand." - Verse 18 - "and all the articles from the house of God, great and small, the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the King and of his leaders, all these he took to Babylon. Then they burned the house of God, broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions. And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the Kingdom of persia." Pretty devastating stuff. These verses speak about the end of Nebuchadnezzar's campaign against Jerusalem - or at least judah. God didn't allow Babylon to come down too hard on judah at first.

God was gracious and merciful. But as they became more obstinate, refusing to listen to God's prophets and seeking to form an alliance with Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar cracked down. To help you see what I'm talking about here, Nebuchadnezzar came up against king jehoiakim in 605 b.c. This is when Daniel and his friends were taken captive, you understand. Because, then, of king jehoachim - jehoiakim's son jehoachim - because he didn't cooperate with Nebuchadnezzar, he came - Nebuchadnezzar came back to Jerusalem in 597 b.

c. - Years later. This is when Ezekiel was taken to Babylon. Then zedekiah was no better than the Kings before him and so Nebuchadnezzar came back and completely leveled the city of Jerusalem in 586 b.c. It took 19 years to get to this point that we read about in 2 Chronicles chapter 36.

It didn't happen overnight. God works patiently with his people, drawing - getting their attention and seeking to bring them back to himself. God was very patient with his people. He had warned them - now the chaldeans were going to come and it took 19 years and they still didn't learn their lesson. Let's go to Monday's lesson 'living by faith'.

We're going to jump down here - we're back in Habakkuk chapter 1. I understand that it was luther, martin luther, that said, 'hope despairs and yet despair hopes.' Hope despairs and yet despair hopes. That was the experience of Habakkuk. His hope was despairing and yet he - his despair hopes. Habakkuk accepts God's method of discipline and expresses faith in God's promises for his people.

Look at verse 12 of Habakkuk chapter 1. "Are you not from everlasting, o lord my God, my holy one? We shall not" - what? - Die. "We shall not die. O lord, you have appointed them for judgment; o rock, you have Marked them for correction." And so his despair is beginning to hope. But it didn't take long before Habakkuk sees another problem.

Here's where he asks his second question in verse 13. Let's read that. "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil," - he's talking about the Lord - "and cannot look on wickedness. Why do you look on those who deal treacherously, and hold your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?" How can God - this is the question - how can God use a more wicked - perceivably - more wicked city or nation to inflict discipline upon God's people. Is that fair? Is that reasonable? Now his question is a little rash here, but he's earnest and probably innocent, but Habakkuk demands an answer to this question.

You know, God's good. God didn't brush Habakkuk aside because he asked the question, God deals patiently with Habakkuk. It's good news for those of us who have questions from time to time as well, amen? By the way, it's okay to ask questions. I hear, sometimes, folks say, 'you know, we shouldn't ask God any questions.' No, no - you need to ask God questions. If you, in sincerity, are looking for truth and you want to follow truth, then you can ask God - you can search his word - you can pray, that's okay.

Habakkuk wasn't being hard to get along with. There are folk who ask questions just for the sake of stirring the pot and causing trouble. We run into some of them. Perhaps we've even been there ourselves, but it's okay to ask questions. God has an answer and Habakkuk knew God had an answer.

He knew that he could trust God. But there does come a time when some things just aren't crystal clear and - and so Habakkuk asked God for clarity on the issue. And notice the way God gives an answer - his answer. Verses 2 through 4 of Habakkuk chapter 2 - we're over there now - Habakkuk chapter 2, verses 2 through 4, "then the Lord answered me and said: 'write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.

Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith." Now God, admittedly, briefly passes over the question of Habakkuk, his rashness, but assures him at the same time of the certainty of his purposes. Then he points Habakkuk in the direction of needing to be patient and needing to be trusting while God's plan unfolds for judah - even while Habakkuk waits he must trust the lord. So God says, 'write the vision. Write the vision.

' Writing would give permanency to the message that Habakkuk was to bear. Isaiah chapter 30, verse 8 says, "now go, write it before them on a tablet, and note it on a scroll, that it may be for time to come, forever and ever:" writing the vision down would give it permanency. It would have been written on either a stone tablet - engraved there - or it would have been written on a board covered with wax and written on with an iron pen. Then it was, apparently, hung in a public place - probably out in front of the place of the prophet so everyone who passed by could read it, you see. It's interesting.

Those - these words, of course, that we're reading have immediate application in the time of Habakkuk, but they've also proven - these words have proven to be encouragement to God's people at other times. I'm thinking here of the millerite movement of the mid-1800s - during the great second advent awakening. It was ardent millerite charles fitch - a former congregationalist minister - who designed the 1843 chart - the chart that probably all the lecturers used during the great second advent awakening. He was inspired to do so because of the words in the book of Habakkuk and as a result, many could plainly see and grasp the great prophecies of Daniel and the book of Revelation. Most are thinking of seventh day adventist pioneer James white, who was charged to write not only books, but he was encouraged to produce a periodical - something that would persistently witness for the truth of God's Word - all the way back there in 1848, 400 years after the gutenberg press was invented - 400 years after that, in 1848, God had told him through his wife that he was to start a periodical.

It would be small at first but then it would grow. There wouldn't be a lot of means coming in, but then more means would come in and it would be like streams of light that would go clear around the world. That was a pretty impressive vision for a poverty-stricken people. 'How on earth are these things going to go all around the world?' But from that small beginning, 'the adventist review and Sabbath herald' was formed and today's 'adventist review' and today's world - is it called 'the world adventist'? Hang on, I want to make sure I get this right, 'the world adventist'? I'm getting it wrong, I know I am. But in any case, the flag - the flagship journal of the adventist church that is all over the world bringing its work and teaching God's people and bringing God's people together from all over the world.

From that small beginning she said it would be like streams of light that would go clear around the world. How true those words were. Talk about a dream coming true. Not to mention all the other books that have been written to uphold the truth of God's Word and the three angels' messages and the 12 or 13 publishing houses the church has across the world pouring out materials to share with the masses. Truly, it was a vision - a dream come true.

But then the prophet goes on to say he that - 'write the vision, make it plain on tables that he may run who reads it.' Some have suggested that this means 'write it so intelligible as to be easily read by one running past.' Well, if that were the case then it should read 'that he running may read.' But it doesn't say that. The true sense of this - of this verse is 'write it so legible that whoever reads it may run to tell others about the good news of the enemy's doom and judah's deliverance.' I'm thinking of Daniel chapter and verse 4 for just a moment - do you remember what that says? "At the time of the end but Daniel shut up the words and sealed the book until the time of the end. Many shall" - do what? "Run to and fro." It's the same concept here. Many will run at the time of the end with the explanation of the prophecies revealed in the book of Daniel, you see. Run is equivalent to announcing a divine Revelation.

To run is to dispatch and make it known to others so that whosoever reads may run to tell others about it, you see. And then in verse 3 it was to be committed to writing because the fulfillment of the prophecy was yet still in the future. Though it was yet to be in the future, it was enough - it was enough for - I should say Habakkuk's - Habakkuk's faith - it should have been enough for Habakkuk's faith that God spoke it. Write it down. Make it plain.

Lamentations 3:26 says, "it is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." Habakkuk was to trust that God would work it all out in due time and he's calling us, of course, to do the same thing today. Now verse 4 - verse 4, "behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith." Now the 'not upright' is referring here, in the immediate context, to the chaldeans. For a time they would seem to be - seem to prosper, but they would be lifted up - lifted up with prideful unbelief. Contrast that with the just that shall live by his faith. The humble man will go forward in faith trusting the wisdom and providence of God in contrast with the man whose soul is lifted up and doubts the wisdom and the justice of God's dealing with mankind.

The man who is just will exercise his faith. Yeah, that's what Habakkuk is saying right here. We're going to look at a few verses because we want to look at the - how the new testament uses this passage of Scripture. Someone has Galatians chapter 3 and verse 11 - Galatians 3, verse 11 - wonderful. We'll come over to melissa in just a moment.

Let's go to Romans chapter 1 and verse 17. Let's see how Paul used - Paul used this verse in the new testament. Romans chapter 1, verse 16, Paul is talking about the gospel having power - the gospel being the power of God unto salvation. Then in verse 17 he says, "for in it" - that is the gospel - "the righteousness of God is revealed." Whether that be God's righteous dealings with his people or just his righteousness or his righteousness reflected in his people. "The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'the just shall live by' - what? "Faith.

" "The just shall live by faith." Then in Hebrews chapter 10, verses 35 to 39 - interesting passage of Scripture - notice these words that were penned. "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 'for yet a little while,'" - now he's quoting from Habakkuk chapter 2 and verse 3 - "'for yet a little while,'" - and notice how he changes it. Now, the writer is inspired and he's a - he's adapting the promise here in Habakkuk, in chapter 2 and verse 3, from that time - the time will come when Babylon will come and bring punishment and discipline to judah. He's applying it to the second coming of Jesus.

He goes on to say, "'for yet a little while, and he who is coming will come and will not'" - what? - He "'will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith;'" - now notice - "'but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.' But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the" - what? - "Saving of our souls." This is not a passive faith here. This is a faith that presses on and perseveres and continues onward and upward irrespective of what's going on around us. We are not of those who draw back, but of those who believe to the saving of our souls. Now notice how Paul uses it in Galatians chapter 3 and verse 11.

"But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for 'the just shall live by faith.'" So Paul uses this verse to prove that the man who exercises faith will be considered just. It's a little different than the original context found in Habakkuk chapter 2. The just man will exercise his faith but Paul says you become just by having faith, you see. And, of course, faith is the fundamental prerequisite to acceptance with God. This is what he's saying.

While one who lives by faith is not saved by his works, his works show that he lives by faith, you know, his faith is revealed by his works and thus he is promised eternal life. The just shall live by faith. Faith in Christ's promises. Faith in God's Word. Faith in Christ's sacrifice.

Faith. In the book 'Prophets and Kings' page 387, with reference to this concept of the just living by faith, we're told we must 'cherish and cultivate the faith of which prophets and apostles have testified. The faith that lays hold on the promises of God and waits for deliverance in his appointed time and way. The sure word of prophecy will meet its final fulfillment in the glorious advent of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ as king of Kings and lord of lords. The time of waiting may seem long.

The soul may be oppressed by discouraging circumstances. Many in whom confidence has been placed may fall by the way, but with the prophet who endeavored to encourage judah in a time of unparalleled apostasy, let us confidently declare the Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence.' God's got everything under control. Don't panic. Don't fret. Keep your mouth quiet and don't doubt God.

Trust him. 'May all the earth keep silence.' Well, let's move on now to Tuesday's lesson. Tuesday's lesson, 'the earth shall be filled'. God, now, is going to enumerate the sins of Babylon. This is his attempt - God's attempt - to answer the questions of Habakkuk and he will declare here that he is still in control of all human - even though by human appearances, everything seems to be out of control.

God is in complete control and, apparently, five woes are pronounced upon Babylon in verses 6, 9, 12, 15, and 19. In other words, Babylon is going to end up reaping what it sowed. It was a pretty fierce conquering nation and so it would end up suffering under - suffering the same fate and we know that Babylon came to its knees under the reign of the medes and the persians. Now in all of this - in all of the - in all of this, the description of the wickedness of Babylon and its destruct - and its forthcoming destruction, God says that he has a people who will shine brightly for him and that's found in Habakkuk chapter 2 and verse 14. It was our memory text here this morning.

Let's read that together. Habakkuk chapter 2, verse 14, "for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord." So in all of this God has a faithful people who will shine brightly for him, you see. Habakkuk 2, verse 14 talks about the knowledge of the character of God filling the entire earth. Even during difficulty - difficult times - even back in the days of Habakkuk and judah, it was to be a people who would reflect in their lives that God was just and that God was fair, you see. And there's coming a time when, in a large way, across this globe, through the lives of God's people, all questions will be ceased.

No more doubting, no more guessing as to why God is doing what he's doing. It will be seen that God is fair, God is just. The concept is played out, of course, in other Bible verses. I'm just going to share a few ofthese. Psalm 72, verse 19, "and blessed be his glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with his glory.

Amen and amen." And then over in Isaiah chapter , verses 1 through 3 - notice what the prophet says, "arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the lord will arise over you, and his glory will be seen" - where? - "Upon you. The gentiles shall come to your light, and Kings to the brightness of your rising." This was the hope of God for his people back in the old testament - they failed. This is his hope for his people in the new testament era. In the new testament, 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 6 Paul says, "for it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

" That's the reason you and I have been called - to be - to walk with Christ and to reflect his goodness - to share his character, his love, his grace with others around us. Then in Revelation 18 and verse it says, "after these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory." This is talking about the latter rain and the loud cry when God's people will be darting across this earth in earth's final moments to share this message and calling God's people out of Babylon and take their stand with Christ and his truth. It's going on today, but in a larger way God is waiting to pour out his spirit upon his people. Well we need to move over to Wednesday's lesson here for time's sake. Want to remember - we're talking about remembering God's fame - we're in Habakkuk chapter 3 looking at verses 1 through 16.

In chapter 3 Habakkuk realizes that he's gone a little too far in asking God questions so he repents, but in the same breath he pleads for justice to be seasoned with mercy. Look at verse 2, "o lord, I have heard your speech and was afraid; o lord, revive your work in the midst of the years! In the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy." And so the following verses present a sublime picture of God coming in judgment to deliver his people and it's a prayer of Habakkuk and apparently he wants it put to - or it is put to music. These verses also are descriptive of the coming of Christ for his people. They provide encouragement to all those who are waiting for their lord to deliver them. Habakkuk looks back to see how God has acted and led in the past, which provides confidence with the way God is going to lead his people in the future.

And this is how you and I are to persevere - to live with the vision - to look in the past to see how God has led us individually and to see how he's has led his church. Good idea to understand and know the history of the adventist church. If we see how God has led in the past, we'll be encouraged to know that he'll continue to lead us in the future as we are faithful to him and meet the conditions for the outpouring of his Holy Spirit. You know, other Bible writers encourage us to use song to rally the believer while he or she is waiting for God's salvation. Notice these verses - I'm going to read Ephesians 5:19 and 20 in the meantime, "speaking to one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual song, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God The Father in the name of our lord Jesus Christ.

" So the apostle Paul encourages us to speak to one another, encourage one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. It doesn't mean we go around church literally singing to each other, 'hi, how are you today?' We aren't wanting to be singing to each other but to come together at times and to sing and in The Songs that are rich - that have rich theology and that are songs that are not mantra-like - that are songs that are meditative - that will lift us toward heaven. We are to encourage one another. James chapter 5, verse 13, "is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing Psalms.

" Acts 16:25, "but at midnight Paul and silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them." In times of adversity Paul and silas were encouraging each other, singing hymns and praying. In 1 Corinthians 14:26 Paul says, "how is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a Revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification." Let the music be to edify. And, of course, in Matthew 26, verse 30, "and when they had sung a hymn," - talking about Jesus and the disciples - "they went out to the mount of olives." Psalms were old testament Psalms sung, probably, to instruments. Hymns were praises to God composed by believers and sung by the whole group.

Spiritual or sacred songs were of a more general or meditative nature with or without accompaniment. To be honest, I can't see Christian rock or rap included in any of this. Amen. Alright, Thursday 'God is our strength' - as we wrap up. Look at the last few verses of Habakkuk chapter 3, verses 17 to , "though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls - yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

the Lord God is my strength; he will make my feet like deer's feet, and he will make me walk on my high hills. To the chief musician with my stringed instruments." The prophet begins by asking questions - not sure this thing's going to work out and he closes with words of hope and encouragement that God is going to work things out according to his plan. He's going to be my strength. He's going to give me feet like deer's feet, you see. We'll be strong - in other words he's saying we'll be strong for our spiritual warfare and work.

We'll be swift for our spiritual race running the way of God's commands and outrunning our troubles. We will be successful in our spiritual enterprises. So the book of Habakkuk begins with questions and concerns, but closes with affirmation of confidence in the promise and the purposes of God. Habakkuk clings to God's Word. That's what his name means - to cling.

Habakkuk embraces who God is and when you know who God is, it makes it a whole lot easier to trust him, even if things aren't going the way you wanted them to work - the way things you plan don't happen the way they - you hoped they would go. You can trust God because you can trust his heart. There's a little song that steve green sang and the chorus says, "when you don't understand, when you don't see his hand, when you can't trace his plan," - some of you know this song - "trust his heart." I want to encourage you to do that here this morning. If you don't understand, can't see his plan, can't trace his hand, you can trust God's heart today. Habakkuk did.

The psalmist did. God's people of old did. You can trust him and know that God's going 'to work out all things together for good to those that love him and are called according to his purpose'. I want to make sure our viewers call in for their free offer - #103 - special gift offer #103 - 'is there anything left you can trust?' And you want to call -866-study-more or -866-788-3966. I want to thank you for joining us here this morning, whether you're viewing on tv or you're listening on radio and those that are sitting here this morning, glad you could be here.

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