The Book of Habakkuk

“Lord, Send A Revival”

by Pastor Frank J. Cuozzo

Lesson 3 - “Remember God is at Work”

Pastor Frank Cuozzo

Read: Habakkuk 1:5-11.

Introduction:

In this book of Habakkuk, the prophet spoke to God and God spoke back to him. Habakkuk cried out to God and asked, "Lord, why is this happening?" It seemed to him as if the wicked were winning. God spoke back to him in Habakkuk 1:5-11, 

"Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously;  for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god."

I have a question? Did The Lord ever tell you anything that you did not want to hear? Did you ever find anything in the Bible that you wish you hadn't read, at least for that moment?

When God spoke these words to Habakkuk, we know that his heart was deeply troubled. It was one of those situations where he would have said, "I wish I would have never asked the question."

The nation of Judah was spiritually bankrupt. The nation as a whole had turned from God.  Habakkuk was troubled about his nation and it's sin. Then The Lord said unto him, "I am going to bring the heathen nation of Babylon down upon Judah and I am going to use them to bring judgment upon my people."

To Habakkuk this must have looked like a bad situation that just got worse. In the midst of this perplexing problem, God declared to the prophet, "I will work a work." This is the promise that God  made to Habakkuk, a promise that God is always at work!

When we are faced with what seems to be an impossible situation, we need to remember that God is at work.  It may be that God is working in the most unlikely place and in the most unlikely way, but He is at work. The Lord said in the fifth verse, "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously."

Can you imagine this? Habakkuk said, "Lord, it's your people the Jews who have a need. How are you going to bring these people back to Yourself?"

The Lord answered, "Behold ye among the heathen."

The Lord declared to Habakkuk that He was going to begin His work in the most unlikely place to accomplish what needed to be accomplished in the lives of His people.

Remember His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts! Nevertheless, God is at work! There is a precious promise in the Bible that we need to remember. Philippians 1:6 says, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."

In other words, God will always finish what He started. If you are ever in the middle of a trial, there are times you may wonder how anything good could ever come out of it. But remember, God is at work and He is not finished yet! Let's look at some things here,

#1) The Carelessness of God's People.

The Lord said to Habakkuk, "Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you."

The Lord said, "I am going to share it with you, but when I share with you what I am going to do, you won't believe it."

The need of Habakkuk's day and the great need of our day is for people who say that they are Christians to live like Christians. Loving, compassionate, tender, forgiving and kind-

Just like the Lord Jesus Christ.

Instead of doing that, sometimes God's people have, like Judah, developed a carelessness that is alarming!

Hundreds of years after God gave this message to Habakkuk, the apostle Paul used a verse from Habakkuk in one of his messages. In Acts chapter 13 Paul was declaring to the people what God was going to do and how God would bring certain things to pass.

Paul said in Acts 13:40-41, "Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;  behold, ye despisers and wonder, and perish; for I will work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."

What Paul was saying is that I want you to be careful, because you are going to live so carelessly in your Christian lives that you will forget that God can do all things! He is the God of the impossible! God hears and answers prayer. God changes lives. God can work miracles. God can save to the uttermost. God can take a sinner who cares nothing about God and His work and can turn his or her life around! But, Paul is saying, if we are not careful, we will begin to doubt God and what God can do!

God declared to Habakkuk the same thing that Paul declared in Acts chapter 13; That we must guard against a spirit of carelessness and unbelief.

Next let's look at,

#2) The Cruelty of Those who do not know The Lord.

In Habakkuk chapter one beginning in verse six, God gives a description of the Babylonians coming down upon Judah. Most people have the idea that God is someday going to come down to us and bring judgment in one final sweeping blow. We must remember that while judgment can be swift at times, it can also be progressive.

Think about a tree that has fallen in your yard after a storm. If you look carefully, you might notice that the tree had been slowly decaying for years from the inside out and then the final blow came when a gust of strong wind blew it over.

If we are afraid that one of these days, our nation is going to be judged swiftly by God, Remember that we are also being judged right now! The judgment of God is sure. We reap what we sow and we suffer because of months and years of neglect. Without a doubt, America is being judged right now for our neglect of the things of God.

God said to Habakkuk in Habakkuk 1:7-11,

"They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves.

Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves:

and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. They shall come all for violence: their faces shall sup up as the east wind, and they shall gather the captivity as the sand. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god."

The strangest thing about all of this is that the Babylonians attributed their greatness to their gods! They said that their gods were greater than the God of Judah! Think of how our lack of faith and unbelief dishonors the true and living God!

These Babylonians were a cruel and harsh people. We often wonder why there is so much cruelty in our world. The answer is because our nation like the Babylonians, have not known or have turned their backs on God. We have pretty much taken God and every mention of Him out of public life in America and yet we wonder where God is and why He seems not to hear our cries!

A British Historian named Thomas McCauley, a man who died just before the Civil War began, wrote an interesting statement about America. He said,

"Your republic, America will be fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the 20th century just as the Roman Empire was in the fifth century. The difference is that the Huns & Vandals who ravaged the Roman Empire came from within, and your Huns & Vandals will have been engendered within your own country. By your own institutions you will be destroyed.

Judah was about to be destroyed as well because of her sin. The nation was imploding. Unbelief was at the heart of her judgment. The cruel Babylonians were only the instrument of God's judgment. As we think of the recent tragedies in America, we too have reason to ask, "Are these instruments of God's judgment as well?

 

We looked at the carelessness of God's people and the cruelty of those who do to know The Lord,

#3) The Compassion of our Lord.

We must never forget that our God is a God of compassion! One truth that I still have a hard time understanding is that no man can go so low that God does not continue to love him and desire to save him. The Bible says that, "God is not willing that any should perish."

No boy can be such a rebel, no daughter such a disappointment, no daddy such a vile human being, no mother such a godless woman, no human being can get so far away from The Lord that God does not still love him and desire to save him!

Have you ever wondered if God knew about your problems? Has there ever been a time when you lay awake at night because you we're so overcome by your trials? You may have said, "Lord, Lord, don't you know where I am? Don't you know what's going on? Don't you care what's happening to me?"

You see folks there is a God in heaven who wants to send us a message. And the message is this------"Remember, I am working. I am working. Though you don't see it right now, I will work a work through this situation."

Perhaps one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible is found in the 15th chapter of Luke. It's a story of a father and son. One day the son came to the father and said, "I am leaving. Give to me what I have coming to me! I'm getting out of this house!"

The Bible says that the son, "Took his journey into a far country and wasted his substance with riotous living." His father loved him dearly and he could only imagine what was going on in the life of his son. But he loved his son. Of course in this story, Jesus is talking about the love of our Heavenly Father.

The hard thing for me to understand in this story is how the father could go to bed at night, wondering where his son was; how he was able to get up every morning and keep on living like nothing was wrong. It surprises me! But do you know why he could do it?

Because the father did not his faith and confidence in his son. Of course he loved him dearly and looked out every day for him hoping that this day may be the day that he comes to his senses. The reason that the father was able to get on with his life while waiting for his son was that his faith was in the God that loved his son and that God was going to work in the heart of his son. We know that this is exactly what happened when the Prodigal son came to himself and returned to his loving father.

You see folks, the problem with most people is that they have placed their confidence in the wrong things and in the wrong people. We need to anchor our faith in The Lord and in the fact that He is working. He and He alone can accomplish a work in our lives and in the lives of those we love. God told Habakkuk and He’s telling us, "I will work a work!"

Let's pray.



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