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The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 

Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 

And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. 

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”

The Old Testament prophets were primarily forth tellers rather than foretellers.

They communicated the message of God to the needs of the day.

“Listen to the Major messages of the Minor Prophets’ is the title of the series we will be working through for the next few weeks.

Today we are talking about Habakkuk, The Just Shall Live by Faith.

Text

Habakkuk 2:4 NKJV

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

Scripture Reading

Habakkuk 1:1-2:4 NKJV

The Prophet Questions God’s Judgments

1 The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.

The Prophet’s Question

2 O Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”
And You will not save.

3 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.

4 Therefore the law is powerless,
And justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.

The Lord’s Reply

5 “Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.

6 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.

7 They are terrible and dreadful;
Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves.

8 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.

9 “They all come for violence;
Their faces are set like the east wind.
They gather captives like sand.

10 They scoff at kings,
And princes are scorned by them.
They deride every stronghold,
For they heap up earthen mounds and seize it.

11 Then his mind changes, and he transgresses;
He commits offense,
Ascribing this power to his god.”

The Prophet’s Second Question

12 Are You not from everlasting,
O Lord my God, my Holy One?
We shall not die.
O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment;
O Rock, You have marked them for correction.

13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
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?

14 Why do You make men like fish of the sea,
Like creeping things that have no ruler over them?

15 They take up all of them with a hook,
They catch them in their net,
And gather them in their dragnet.
Therefore they rejoice and are glad.

16 Therefore they sacrifice to their net,
And burn incense to their dragnet;
Because by them their share is sumptuous
And their food plentiful.

17 Shall they therefore empty their net,
And continue to slay nations without pity?

The Just Shall Live by Faith

1 I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.

The Just Live by Faith

2 Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.

3 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.

4 “Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.

Prayer

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

A prophet similar to Jeremiah, Habakkuk was a prophet during fateful days for Judah.

Nineveh had been destroyed, and Babylon was ascending as the dominating world power.

Josiah, Judah’s last good king, was dead, and his weak and wicked son, Jehoiakim, was on the throne.

Only two or three decades of Judah’s existence as a nation remained when Habakkuk began to write.

Habakkuk was one of three prophets used of God to pronounce the doom of the three outstanding enemies of God’s people.

In the prophecy of Obadiah, the fate of Edom was sealed.

Nahum tolled the bell over Assyria.

God showed Habakkuk that Babylon was digging her own grave.

Hence the focus of Habakkuk’s problem and prophecy is Babylon.

All the prophets were conscious of divine inspiration.

Their work demonstrates it.

Yet this does not erase their individuality but leaves ample room for it.

Habakkuk is unique in this respect.

Unlike the other prophets, he does not address either his own countrymen or a foreign people.

His words are for God alone.

Autobiographical in flavour, his prophecy is primarily concerned with solving a problem.

His inability to understand God’s government of the nations vexed his own sensitive soul.

Obviously familiar with the work of Ama and Moses, Habakkuk was bewildered by a third book that was constantly before his eyes, the book of life.

To Habakkuk the promises of God, on the one hand, and the experiences of life on the other seemed hopelessly at odds.

Why did the book of life seem to contradict the book of God?

The trial of Habakkuk’s faith sparing out of the times.

In chapter 2 Habakkuk got his answer in the keynote of the whole book expressed by the words, “The just shall live by faith.”

So significant are these words that they are quoted three times in the New Testament, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38.

Luther made them the watchword of the Reformation.

Habakkuk found faith to be the golden key that brought deliverance to the believer imprisoned in the dungeon of doubt.

In his three chapters, he goes from a sob to a song, from a cry of doubt to a rapturous song of trust.

Three progressive steps correspond exactly with the chapter divisions.

  1. In chapter 1 we see the problem for faith.

The prophet stated his problem in Habakkuk 1:2, “O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”
And You will not save.”

These verses are a complaint regarding internal conditions in Judah.

Habakkuk’s problem was God’s silence, inactivity, and apparent unconcern.

Violence abounded, lawlessness was rife, blatant evils defied all the protests of God’s prophets, and God seemed to be doing nothing.

With implicit faith in God’s goodness came the difficulty of reconciling a bad world with a good God.

But God never stifles the sincere questioner.

He gives more light.

The prophet’s query was answered by a word from God.

Habakkuk 1:5-6, “Look among the nations and watch—
Be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
Which you would not believe, though it were told you.

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.

To Habakkuk the solution was worse than the problem.

The punishment coming to Judah was deserved, but why should God punish Judah by means of a people far more ruthless than Judah themselves”

This seemed hard to reconcile with his belief in God’s righteous government over the nations of the earth. 

The moral problem before the prophet, how God could silently look upon wrong and inhumanity, was not eased, but intensified.

The prophet appealed to God concerning his problem.

Habakkuk 1:12, The Prophet’s Second Question,

Are You not from everlasting,
O Lord my God, my Holy One?
We shall not die.
O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment;
O Rock, You have marked them for correction.

Chaldea was only God’s instrument.

The prophet was overwhelmed.

It was not that the punishment outweighed the offence, it was rather that the Holy One, righteous though His judgements were, should permit a heathen nation to work its cruel will upon the elect.

Verse 13 says, You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
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?

Habakkuk was to learn that chastening is not necessarily a denial of the divine love, it may be proof of it.

By the fires of war the nation was to be refined, yet like gold in a crucible, merely the dross would be consumed.

Keeping this in mind will help us understand not only the times of the prophet, but also our own times.

2. In Chapter 2 we see the pledges of faith.

Habakkuk was decided to await God’s word.

He said, in Habukkuk 2:1, This is where it starts talking about, The Just Shall Live by Faith.

I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.

Isolation does not always yield a full answer to life’s questions, but there is such a thing as the detachment of the exalted life.

And so it is here.

The prophet’s vision was wonderful, offering a solution not in the logical sense, but a spiritual solution intelligible to faith.

In this chapter God gave two great pledges.

In verse 4 we read, ““Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.”

These words look beyond the body to the soul.

As the first half of the sentence would indicate, the word “soul”  means the deeper sense in which we are to read the later half, “the just shall live by his faith.”

These words look beyond the outward to the inward, beyond the physical to the spiritual, beyond the present to the future, beyond the immediate to the ultimate.

God”s estimate of the Chaldean was correct.

Though God used him to chastise his people, the Chaldean’s soul was all wrong, and he himself would be brought to woe in the end.

But the just shall never perish.

In Habakkuk 2:14 we read, “For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea.”

This word of Habakkuk’s is one of the most prolific in the Old Testament, though it must be read in the light of the New if we are to grasp its full meaning.

Those who by faith in Christ are justified, or made righteous, do live by their faith in that they receive new spiritual life here and now.

These words have not yet been fulfilled but await the return of Christ to this earth and the consummation of His kingdom.

The controversy of history will be resolved in the vindication of the right and true.

God’s word through Habakkuk is in Habakkuk 2:3, “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.

3. In chapter 3 we see the products of faith.

In this chapter we begin a prayer of Habakkuk.

The just shall live by faith!

There are three parts of the prayer, three products produced by faith.

The prayer begins with an appeal to God to grant a gracious revival “in the midst of the years”

The prayer does not suggest time limits on God.

But before His ultimate purpose for history has worked out to its final fulfilment, will He in His mercy and grace grant revival to His people?

From verse 3 to verse 15 there is a glorying in God’s mighty doings in the past.

This includes God’s coming forth for the emancipation of Israel, His marvels from the time of the exodus onward.

Here are two products of faith, praise for the past and confidence of the future.

The is one more.

In verses 16-19 we have a postlude in which faith soars on wings above all doubts and fears.

Though the prophet be brought to utmost destitution, he still says, in Habakkuk 3:18, Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

How can you defeat a faith like that?

Conclusion.

The applicable message of this prophecy is clear.

Faith had its problems then, it has them now.

If Habakkuk’s times seemed draped in darkness, even more so our own times.

But the book tells us not to judge merely by the appearances of the hour.

God has given us great promises.

He is working out great purposes.

Wait for Him!

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2022 IS A YEAR OF REPENTANCE AND BLESSINGS

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