Rejoice In The LORD
October 26, 2014 Series: The Old Testament
Passage: Habakkuk 24b, Habakkuk 3:2, 13-19a
Habakkuk is less a sermon to the people of Judah than it is a single faithful man’s prayer journal. At the time of Habakkuk it was close to 600 B.C. just prior to Jerusalem’s destruction. It was evident to everyone that the Babylonians looked unstoppable but Habakkuk knew the works of the LORD and how He had stopped evil threats before. So in keeping with faithful saints of previous generations Habakkuk pleaded that the LORD come to Judah’s rescue. But God’s replies to him were chilling and bewildering as He promised that He was actually raising up the Babylonians to chasten Judah for their wickedness! So Habakkuk’s reflections turn to how it is possible to understand. And by God’s grace he focused upon the LORD’s unchanging worth – that He is worthy of our praise and our trust no matter what our circumstances are like…
GOD’S TIMELESS WORTH & ETERNAL RULE
Read the sermon passage, Habakkuk 2:4b; 3:2, 13-19a. When have you spent time with someone because of what they could do for you? How do you treat someone who is useful (like a plumber or a server at a restaurant)? In terms of means and ends, “means” are how you get something you want while “ends” are what you ultimately want. Which one is someone who is useful? In contrast with someone who is useful, what does it mean for someone to be beautiful? When have you done something you don’t enjoy but with someone you love? Which one is God to you?
Habakkuk knew the LORD’s power and was humbled. But because Babylon was conquering Judah, in a sense how was God not being useful? Where have you experienced God resolutely not giving you what you wanted? How have you responded? Whether you find God useful or beautiful is revealed only by how you respond when He doesn’t give you the circumstances you want…
We often associate perversion with sexual sin, but the Latin term pervertere is to overthrow, overturn, subvert, or literally turn the wrong way. Habakkuk had been a witness to Judah’s perversions and presumptions. How have you treated God as your servant instead of as your Lord? One aspect of our sin is that we have a demanding spirit. One test for whether you are demanding is by how you respond when you’re told, “No.” When have you been told “No” and you were angry? And if you were genuinely asking someone for help or something, how free are they? In other words, how have you lived as if your requests really are commands?
How have you lived only relating to God (and others) in order to get what you ultimately want? Confess to Jesus your attempts to use Him rather than to love Him, asking Him to forgive you.
REJOICING IN THE LORD
What can possibly give me the ability to rejoice in the LORD? Even while Habakkuk knew God’s power, he also knew His mercy. Read Habakkuk 3:2 again. In Philemon this week we read about a runaway slave named Onesimus (whose name means useful). Jesus didn’t love us because we were useful! He loved us actually when we were not only NOT useful but contrary to His values & mission. Read Philemon 17-18. How is this a picture of how Jesus has treated you?
YOU CAN PRAY WITH US…
- Worship the LORD that he is so sufficient that He is worthy of all trust – even in the midst of trying circumstances. Praise Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for His pure infinite worth.
- How have you lived only relating to God in order to get what you ultimately want? Confess to Jesus your attempts to use Him rather than seeking to love Him – asking Him to forgive you and to change your heart.
- Give thanks to Jesus for not treating us in light of our usefulness (especially given our sin) but for the miracle of Him finding us beautiful. Thank Him for bearing the costs of our sin on the cross and putting His worth and beauty upon us.
- Who do you know that may find God useful but not beautiful? Pray for them, asking the Lord to reveal His Grace and worth even when He doesn’t give them the circumstances they want.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to rejoice in the LORD, to take joy in the God of your salvation. Pray for such satisfaction in Christ that you really do find your sufficiency in Him rather than in your circumstances.