READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l Where is God in our suffering”? The book of Habakkuk speaks to us in gripping situations. What can we learn from Habakkuk about suffering?
Habakkuk lived during very tumultuous times. There was so much evil and suffering amidst political upheavals and uncertainties about the future. Spanning over 60 years Habakkuk questioned God about the injustice in Judah and his unanswered prayers grieved his heart. Israel had wanted a king to rule over them even though God had warned them against having a king (1 Sam 8:18). Instead of belittling the sufferer’s pain, we do what Habakkuk did. Troubled by what he saw, Habakkuk took his complaint to God- “how long o Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (V2)
1) Come to God in our suffering
– never belittle suffering (or the sufferer) by saying “see, I told you so”
-be honest with God about the situation and how we feel. It is better to ask God honest questions than to walk away from Him.
– be bold before God about your petition. We can come to God to petition of the injustice since we believe that He is a faithful God.
2) Be open to God’s answer for His ways are not our ways.
God’s response to Habakkuk was that He would raise the Babylonians to bring about even more injustice (V5-11). God’s ways would often be different from ours and we may fail to understand it at first.
A church member testified how she and her parents came to saving faith through her younger sister’s illness and death. Though stricken with cancer, her sister brought her to the Alpha course and remained faithful to God. Though it appears God ignored their prayers to heal her sister, the family was saved through the painful experience as they got connected with the church family and the word of God.
3) God is working through our faithfulness for good.
Habakkuk’s angry response (2:1) was met by God’s response (2:2-4). God will work out His plans in His perfect timing. We are to be patient and wait, trusting Him even though we do not understand why. The righteous will live by his faithfulness (V4b). Scholars would have informed us that the Babylonians caused the Jews to disperse in exile but God preserved faithful Jews in the cities where they lived and they influenced the non-Jews about the concept of a sovereign God. When Paul finally brought the gospel across the empire, it was the Gentiles, not Jews who embraced Christianity and then across the empire and the world spread the gospel. God’s plan for Christianity could be traced back to the Babylonian dispersion of the Jews. God was not planning a temporal lesson for disobedience of Jews for wanting a king but ultimate redemption of mankind through suffering of faithful disciples. The Jews would learn not to turn to any king but remain faithful to God. Through the faithful suffering of Jews came Jesus, through the faithful suffering of the early church came Christianity and through the faithful suffering of Jesus came redemption of the world.
Palmer Robertson – matured faith trusts humbly but persistently in God’s design for establishing righteousness in the earth.
May God who is just and merciful and who knows our pain help us to be faithful, trusting that God is working for our good and His glory.
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. What are some struggles that would cause you to question if God really cares? Have you ever been through a tough period where God doesn’t seem to answer your prayers? What would make you question your faith?
2. Read Hab 1:1-4. Describe how you feel and what would you do with your faith in God if you went through what Habakkuk prayed.
3. Read Hab 1:5-11 on how God responded to Habakkuk. Share what are your thoughts if God ever answered your prayers this way.
4. Read Hab 1:11-2:1 first about his 2nd complain. Then read Hab 2:2-4 on the Lord’s response. What do you gather?
5. Share how can we encourage each other to grow our faith in difficult times – A matured faith trusts humbly but persistently in God’s design for establishing righteousness in the earth. Share what would help you trust and persist in God in difficult times.
6. Share any challenges & pray for each other.