Day 11. A Fearsome Future – But the Lord is Present

As part of the Welcome to My World challenge, I am first answering this week’s question:

What NEW thing have you learned this last week?

As I contunue this series of studies I am learning new things each week.

You will notice that this week for the first time the image below also appears on my facebook notification thanks to advice of  Shirl, my editor.

Habakkuk 1:7 CEV

‘How fearsome and frightening. Their only laws and rules are the ones they make up.’

People, Cover, Cry, Desperate

God’s Fearsome Message

As we saw last session, the Lord’s response to Habakkuk was that He intended to punish the people of Judah and He would be using the Chaldeans to do it. This was a surprise to the people as well as to Habakkuk. Surprised because the Chaldeans (Babylonians) were a wicked people who worshiped false gods. Why would God use such people to discipline His people?

They were notorious for their violence, their vast numbers, the bravery of their army and the overwhelming victories they had gained. The mere mention of their name spread terror wherever they went.

  • Are there circumstances that have thrown you into a state of terror? What are they?
  • What about those circumstances causes you the greatest concern?

When we find ourselves confronted by fearful concerns we need to remember Jehovah-Shammah, ‘the Lord is present’.

Despite the fearful things which may seem to lie ahead of us in the future we are reminded of Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is present. Click To Tweet

A Fearsome Enemy

These pagan Chaldeans certainly would not be guided by the laws of God, but instead by their own precepts. Therefore they would act according to their desires and pleasure. The Judaens knew that no one would be able to successfully oppose them. They could expect no mercy or pity from such a lawless and arrogant enemy.

The mere sight of the Chaldean army advancing brought feelings of apprehension and fear to both the prophet and the people of Judah.

  • What do you fear most as a Christian?

The cause of our apprehension and fear is often an unseen enemy, like the COVID-19 virus which we may contract with no initial obvious symptoms. And then suddenly, unexpectedly, we may display symptoms of the virus and become extremely ill.

  • What do you fear most about this Covid-19 pandemic?

Who Causes Us to Feel Fear?

The bad news that whilst Judah had a visual enemy, we all also face an unseen adversary: Satan. He attacks us through our minds, focussing in on the unexpected circumstances of life. He is quick to prompt us to say and act in ways which do not glorify our Lord. Furthermore, he lures us through enticing prospects so we may find it all too easy to fall into temptation and sin.

Praise the Lord—the good news is, our enemy is a defeated foe, defeated at Calvary.

Paul reminds us that, “In him (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7 ESV)

Confidence for Those who feel Afraid

By contrast to Habakkuk’s fearsome message for Judah in the above verse, the prophet Isaiah brings the following positive assurance.  “Tell fearful souls, Courage! Take heart! GOD is here, right here, on his way to put things right And redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!” (Isaiah 35:4 MSG)

  • In these days of Covid-19 many are fearsome of what the future may hold, how can we come alongside and give them hope for the future?

Please spend some time now praying for anyone known to you who is facing a fearsome future.

P.S. If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together

Day 08: Silence is Broken – God Shares a Way

***What was your first thought when you woke up this morning? ***

What a lovely day. Thank you Lord, for the soft gentle showers during the night.

Did you expect something amazing to happen today? Habakkuk did . . .

Habakkuk 1:5 CEV

‘Look and be amazed at what’s happening among the nations! Even if you were told,

you would never believe what’s taking place now.’

The way God breaks the silence.

In response to Habakkuk’s questioning and confusion, God broke His silence, informing him that He was aware of Judah’s sin. Instead of bringing about a renewal in Judah He was sending the “feared and dreaded” Babylonians to exercise His judgment on His people (verse 7).

Charles Swindoll commented, ‘It reminds us that while God may seem silent and uninvolved in our world, He always has a plan to deal with evil and always works out justice . . . eventually.’ (The Bible Teaching ministry of Pastor Chuck Swindoll)

Up until this point in the prophecy Habakkuk had been complaining to God. Here we find God providing an answer to Habakkuk. God will certainly take care of this situation during Habakkuk’s lifetime. He would actually use a pagan nation to punish His people.

  • How do you feel about God using non-believers to discipline His children?
  • Can you think of an occasion when a non-believer responded to some ungodly word or action of yours?
  • How do you respond when a non-believer comments, “I would never have expected that of a Christian.”?

Prayer is often a risky business, God sometimes tells us things that we don’t really want to hear.

'While God may seem silent and uninvolved in our world, He always has a plan.' Charles Swindoll Click To Tweet

God’s way

A preacher once said, ‘He who asks God for light must not complain if the light scorches at times with its fierce and naked heat, and he who asks for guidance must not be surprised if God points him to paths he would rather not tread.’” (Quoted by Sara Maxwell in ‘God Answers’ 2nd June 2013)

God’s ways are certainly not our ways, nor His thoughts as our thoughts, but be assured His ways produce the best possible results.

  • Are you ready to accept the method that God may use to answer your prayers?

God’s way ahead for the nation, for your congregation, for you and I personally, may not be our choice, may not be the easiest way, but it certainly will prove to ultimately be the best way.

  • Are you really ready for God’s answer?
  • What response from God do you fear the most?
    • No answer?
    • Wait a while?
    • Be patient the answer is on the way?
    • Or the guidance to do something that you are afraid of doing?

God knows the best way

Although God’s answer may not be what we had hoped for we can take comfort in the fact that God knows what is best for us and He promises to prosper us in the end.

Eugene Peterson has these words of encouragement, “It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in GOD.” (Proverbs 16:20 MSG)

Very good advice from The Message. Keep trusting even though God’s answer may be unexpected and seem strange.

Share with me how you feel about waiting for God’s answer. What would you like to say to Him, or how can I pray for you? Please leave a comment below.

If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together.

 

Day 05. Sounds of Silence – Unanswered Prayer

Silent Seas – Rob Corder 2008

Habakkuk 1:2- 4

“How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.”

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Day 04. A Desperate Cry – and Many Questions

Habakkuk 1:1-3 CEV

‘I am Habakkuk the prophet. And this is the message that the LORD gave me. Our LORD, how long must I beg for your help before you listen? How long before you save us from all this violence? Why do you make me watch such terrible injustice? Why do you allow violence, lawlessness, crime, and cruelty to spread everywhere? Laws cannot be enforced; justice is always the loser; criminals crowd out honest people and twist the laws around.’ 

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Day 03: Help! Panic Begins – Where’s the Bridge?

Panic Begins

Habakkuk 1:1-3 (NIrV)

‘This is a vision the prophet Habakkuk received from the LORD. Here is what Habakkuk said.

“LORD, how long do I have to call out for help?

Why don’t you listen to me?

How long must I keep telling you that things are terrible?

Why don’t you save us?

Why do you make me watch while people treat others so unfairly?

Why do you put up with the wrong things they are doing?

I have to look at death.

People are harming others. They are arguing and fighting all the time.”‘

For Habakkuk the future looked ominous, he couldn’t understand why God was not intervening. read more

Day 02: Why? Why? Why? – Does God really care?

If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophesy, please do. It will benefit you throughout our time together.

Habakkuk 1:1-3

“I am Habakkuk the prophet. And this is the message that the LORD gave me. Our LORD, how long must I beg for your help before you listen? How long before you save us from all this violence? Why do you make me watch such terrible injustice? Why do you allow violence, lawlessness, crime, and cruelty to spread everywhere? ”  CEV.

The people of Judah had failed to obey God’s laws. Habakkuk did not understand why God did nothing to make them fall in line. (Habakkuk 1:2-4.) He was confused and frustrated because of God’s seeming failure to take action in the face of all the evil practices and idolatry the Jews were involved in. God, how could you allow this to happen? read more

Day 01: A World Gone Mad – Questions for God

Before starting on this series, have you read “the background”?

Habakkuk 1:1-3:

‘The prophecy that Habakkuk the prophet received. How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?  Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.’ 

  • ‘Why did God allow that to happen?’
  • ‘Why didn’t God intervene?’
  • Have you ever asked these questions?

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