The Book of Habakkuk

“Lord, Send A Revival”

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Lesson 2 - “The Question All People Ask & No One Can Answer”

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

Habakkuk 1:1-4, “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.”

We started a series last week called, “Lord send a revival.” It’s a study on the Old Testament book of Habakkuk. We said Habakkuk was a man with a burden. He had a burden because of the condition of his nation.

The name Habakkuk means “one who embraces.” Habakkuk wrapped his arms around the Lord and prayed, asking God for an answer. Although Habakkuk’s prayer was given centuries ago, he asked the same questions and dealt with the same problems that we deal with today. Look again with me at Habakkuk 1:1-3, “The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance?”

Notice the little three letter word in the beginning of verse three. Habakkuk asks God “WHY?” This is the question that all men ask and no man can answer. Habakkuk was a troubled man living in a dark hour in the history of his nation. He cried out to God declaring that the Lord would not hear and then he asked God, “WHY?” Why is this going on? Why does God allow this to happen? Why?

Remember we said that the nation of Israel was on the eve of captivity. The prophet Habakkuk, a contemporary of Jeremiah, was preaching and praying on the eve of the destruction of the southern kingdom of Judah. At this particular point in history, Babylon had become the mightiest nation in all the world. This nation was led by King Nebuchadnezzar, a famous king not only in biblical literature, but also in world history.

The Babylonian empire had as its capital the city of Babylon. The perimeter of the city was over sixty miles. The walls of the city were as high as a football field is long. The walls were wide enough for chariots to race around the tops of the walls. Inside the city of Babylon was one of the ancient wonders of the world- the hanging gardens. The king had them built for his wife. Because of this great might and power, King Nebuchadnezzar felt that he could do as he pleased and answer to no one. His desire was to take the nation of Judah captive.

Inside of Judah, the people had turned against God. The king of Judah, Jehoiakim, had defied God and God’s word. The prophet Jeremiah had preached to him and said basically that God has sent you a message. Repent and turn from your sin and the Lord will hear your prayer and spare the land. When King Jehoiakim heard the message, he took a penknife and cut the word of God into pieces and threw it into the fire in essence saying, “I don’t want your God and I don’t want His Word!”

If you had asked Habakkuk at that moment how things were going in his nation, you would find his answer in Habakkuk 1:3-4 which says, “Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.” It seemed to Habakkuk that the wicked were winning.

Do you ever wonder about our land? It seems sometimes as though the wicked are winning the battle for the hearts and minds of our nation, the battle of influence for good and evil. As we consider the spiritual darkness in our nation, we are also tempted to ask God, “WHY?” Why does God allow such things to take place? All of us ask, “why?” Many times during a tragedy, people will say, “I know that I am not supposed to ask, but I wonder why this is happening.

There are times when it seems that our problems are insurmountable; we have no idea what to do, BUT we know that there is a God in heaven and we wonder why God allows these things to take place. Perhaps something takes place that can never be corrected or changed. When this happens, we wonder why God allowed it. If you have not asked why, you will someday! If there is a God and He is almighty, why does He allow certain things to happen? Why?

This question was on the heart of the disciples as they travelled with the Lord Jesus one day. The Bible says in John 9:1-4, “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”

The disciples wanted to know why this man had been born blind. Why had God allowed this to take place? Was it because of his son or the sin of his parents? Notice what the Lord said in response to their question, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

Someone may ask, “Why has God allowed this terrible thing to take place in my home?” Why doesn’t God save my son? Why doesn’t God bring my daughter back? Why has God allowed my husband to leave me? Why is all this going on?

This question, “why,” is a question that all people ask, but no one has the answer. I want to look at some things from God’s word that will help us to deal with this question.

 

#1) We are all loved of God.

We cannot understand anything else until we realize that God loves us. He tells us in Jeremiah 31:3, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” Do you know that there is nothing that you or I could do to make God stop loving us? In fact God not only loves us, He loves the very vilest of sinners as much as He loves us.

While it is easy for us to love those who are easy to love, God loves the very worst sinners among us. There has never been a time in your life when God did not love you. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And so let’s establish this fact before we deal with anything else- we are loved by God with an everlasting love!

Now we must remember that the Devil is the accuser of the brethren and he will accuse us before God all the time. The Devil is a liar and the father of lies and he will try and tell you that God does not love you nor care about you because if He loved you why would He let these things happen in your life. But we must remember the truth and the fact that God does indeed love you with an unconditional and everlasting love.

We said that we are all loved of God,

#2) God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.    

Isaiah 55:7-9 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God does not think the way that we think. We are bound by limitations in our thinking and we think that God is like us. One of man’s biggest problems is trying to squeeze God into some man made image. We try and make God into our image and bring Him down to our way of thinking, imagining that God works the same way that we work. He does not. Not only that,

#3) God’s ways are not our ways.

We think that the way to work is to match flesh against flesh and work our way through our problems and overcome them with human ingenuity. The problem is that God doesn’t work that way. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. (Eph 3:20) He can do anything He pleases in any way that He pleases. He is perfect, holy and all powerful and His ways are always right. Like Abraham said in Genesis 18:25, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Of course He will!

We said that in order to deal with the question “WHY?” that first we must know that God loves us and that His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways,

 

#4) The Lord is not on our timetable.

2 Peter 3:9-10 says that, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

The Lord speaks here in II Peter chapter three about His second coming. He is talking about the conclusion of human history as we know it. Notice in verse eight of II Peter chapter three that He says, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” The thing that we have to realize about God is that He doesn’t work on the same timetable as we do.

We want our problems resolved yesterday and we want everything to work out now but in dealing with the question of “WHY?” in our lives, we must remember that God loves us, He thinks and works differently that we way the we think and work and He has a very different timetable than we have!!!

 

God is able to do things over a period of time that we never thought could be accomplished. Just think back about some things in our lives that we can laugh about now but when they occurred we thought we could not live through them. God is eternal and He is not in a rush and His timetable is different than ours. We must learn to trust Him and that brings me to my final point.

#5) The answer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:7-9 says, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

As believers, we are saved by faith and we are admonished to walk by faith and not by sight all the days of our Christian life. You see if we must have an answer to every question in life than we are saying to the Lord, “I want to live by sight and I cannot walk by faith unless God lets me know why.” Demanding as answer is saying, “Lord I must have sight in this thing that I am going through.”

What we need to do and what God wants us to do is simply place our faith in Him and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ as the answer to the question “WHY?” We must depend upon Him when no one seems to have an answer for us.

We will learn many things as we travel through the book of Habakkuk but I do not believe that we will learn anything more important than the principle that we must stop trying to get an answer and start looking for the victory that is in the Lord. This is a book about trusting God. Our faith must be in Him and Him alone. I John 5:4 says, “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

You see the Lord Jesus not only has the answers to life’s greatest questions, He is the answer! The message of the book of Habakkuk is that message of faith in God and it’s a lesson that we all need to learn.

Let’s pray,



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