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Are You Listening?

1/7/18 Habakkuk 1:1-11

We are so prone to jump to conclusions aren’t we? Perhaps this is especially true when it comes to God and how we assume God should be behaving. ‘God will surely do this and do that’… or how we think He will answer our prayers. Don’t we often pray, assuming we already know what the answers must be?

We pray, thinking we know what God will do in this situation and that. If so, then why are we actually praying?

Are we seeking insight into what He is doing (what His will is), or are we just seeking what we want? Our will. Are we praying to try and bend God’s will or seeking to mold our will to His?

It’s one thing in the realm of personal prayer, but in the realm of nations and people groups, and the inter-connectedness of them, there are bigger fish to fry in the pan – er, uh the plan.

This Habakkuk had an inside pipeline to God as one of His prophets and he still fell prey to this assumed way to pray. Reality was that it had been well over 300 years of God patiently sending prophet after prophet to the people of Judah, calling them to return to faithfully living by the covenant they had been called to. The likes of Joel, Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, and Jeremiah had been employed to call the southern kingdom of Judah back to faithfulnes


Surely, they should have known God was to be taken seriously when they saw their brethren in the north swept away in judgment. This generation’s grandfathers would have witnessed the obliteration of the 10 northern tribes of Israel by the ungodly Assyrians.

Did Judah actually believe they weren’t as bad as Israel and that that could never happen to them? Did they believe the spin doctors of the day? “All is well!” Did they think they were so much God’s darlings that they were beyond the reach of such divine discipline? They thought to be brought to judgment at the hands of the evil Babylonians was not even a possibility for Yahweh. They had Him in the pocket, or so they thought.

But finally, after repeated wake-up calls, this prophet with the funny name, Habakkuk, was being given the message: “That’s it! Write it down. This is happening.”

Do we ever think this way as Americans? As American Christians? Would God ever use a Russia or a North Korea to judge us? We think of them because they are so much more evil than us, right?

How does comparative righteousness blur our ability to have sound judgment? When we compare ourselves to others, how does it affect our ability, as Paul and Peter say, to have sound judgment and sober spirits? Judgment does start with the household of God.

Read 1 Peter 4:7-19 and discuss its implications on the church today. (see also, 2 Timothy 1:6, 7)

(Additionally, if they had been paying attention, they would have also known that even the marauding Assyrians, found forgiveness from Yahweh when they repented at the word of the Lord, delivered by a prophet of Israel named Jonah, a century earlier (against what even Jonah himself wanted to see happen). Of course, within one generation they reverted and ironically then became the instrument of judgment used against Israel. Babylon was then raised up to bring judgment against Assyria, and now, unless there was repentance Judah was next. One of my heroes of Scripture King Josiah (2 Kings 22,23) began to clean things up in Judah in an unprecedented attempt at a national cleansing of pagan temples, idols and false teachers and leaders. But unfortunately, only the young king’s heart was in it, not the peoples’, and so judgment fell.)

But God… (there’s more to come)

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