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Habakkuk

From Confusion to Confidence: Where Our Confidence Must Be Found

From Confusion to Confidence (Intro to Habakkuk)Suffering and evil–why does it exist? More importantly, how do we account for it as believers, people who say there is an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God? The problem of suffering and evil is one of, if not, the largest problems of the Christian faith/worldview. Yet here we sit, as Christians, believing in an all-good, all-loving, all-powerful God. How? Maybe a better question to ask is, “Why?” It is in these times that confusion often reigns. We want to have confidence in God…but how? How can Christians go from confusion to confidence? We go from confusion to confidence by understanding the sovereignty of God and the three truths it involves. In this series of posts, the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk will be our guide, leading us from confusion to confidence by helping us understand God’s sovereignty. The first truth Habakkuk leads us to understand is “Who we Are“. The second truth, Habakkuk lead us to understand is “What Confusion We Face“. Today, Habakkuk will lead us to understand “Where Our Confidence Must Be Found”.

Throughout chapter 2, Habakkuk’s frustration turns to favor, his irritation turns to indulgence, and his confusion turns to confidence. How does this happen? What is the hinge upon which this confidence door opens for Habakkuk? Faith! Trust! Belief! Habakkuk goes from confusion to confidence by living by faith. Habakkuk 2:4 tells us that it is faith that changes life for Habakkuk. Faith changes his outlook. Faith changes his actions and attitude. And faith is something we all live by everyday.

Used-Vehicle-InspectionWe all operate by faith every day. Think about the very seat you are in right now. Did you test it before sitting down? Did you check out its structural integrity prior to being seated? No! You just had faith that it would hold you. What about the car you got in this morning? Did you do a 97 point diagnostic check prior to getting in and starting the vehicle? Not likely. Most likely you were just happy you got yourself in the car and got where you needed to go, amazed at the fact you were only 5-10 minutes late. You had faith in that car without even thinking about it. We all live by faith every day of our lives. Faith in the material. Faith in people. Faith in something.

Faith is the avenue through which Habakkuk finds his confidence. Habakkuk’s faith is seated in someone but focused on the future. His faith is for a positive future (Habakkuk 2:4). God tells Habakkuk that in the future God’s glory will fill the earth. This is the same future-oriented faith the author of Hebrews has (Hebrews 10:35-39). Habakkuk has faith that, in the future, the glory of the LORD will win out. He has faith that God’s purposes will be accomplished. Habakkuk has faith. But Habakkuk’s confidence does not rest in his faith, but rather in the object of his faith. Habakkuk’s faith rests in the person and character of God. His faith is in the LORD who is sovereign (Habakkuk 2:20). Habakkuk recognizes that God is in His temple. God is on His throne. God was and is in control. Habakkuk goes from confusion to confidence because he lives by faith that the LORD is sovereign.

What about you and I? Do we live by faith that God is sovereign? As we lived vicariously through Habakkuk we saw how we can go from confusion to confidence. Habakkuk is a wrestler and embracer. He is confused, but becomes confident. He is an example for us. But there is a greater example. There is someone else who came and lived vicariously for us.  Jesus came and wrestled sin for us, so that we could fully and freely embrace Him. golgotha-01Jesus came into the confusion of this world, so that we may be confident in Him. Jesus came so that we may live confidently in the confusion. All it requires is faith in God. Do you trust God? Do you believe that Jesus came suffered, bled, and died in your place on a cross for your sin, and that He conquered death and sin by proof of His resurrection from the dead? Are you living by faith in God’s control today?

Habakkuk 3:17-19

17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places.

From Confusion to Confidence: What Confusion We Face

From Confusion to Confidence (Intro to Habakkuk)Suffering and evil–why does it exist? More importantly, how do we account for it as believers, people who say there is an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God? The problem of suffering and evil is one of, if not, the largest problems of the Christian faith/worldview. Yet here we sit, as Christians, believing in an all-good, all-loving, all-powerful God. How? Maybe a better question to ask is, “Why?” It is in these times that confusion often reigns. We want to have confidence in God…but how? How can Christians go from confusion to confidence? We go from confusion to confidence by understanding the sovereignty of God and the three truths it involves. In this series of posts, the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk will be our guide, leading us from confusion to confidence by helping us understand God’s sovereignty. The first truth Habakkuk leads us to understand is “Who we Are“. Today, Habakkuk will lead us to understand “What Confusion We Face”.

In Habakkuk 1:2-4, Habakkuk is a confused prophet. He is a frustrated prophet. He is meant to be calling people back to God and warning of God’s discipline of His covenant people. But all Habakkuk sees is God ignoring injustice. Ignoring iniquity. Ignoring violence. Ignoring wickedness. Habakkuk sees no justice from God. Habakkuk sees no righteousness in God’s actions. Habakkuk is confused. And we would be too if we were in his shoes. Habakkuk sees material prosperity and spiritual poverty existing side by side. He sees this in God’s special covenant people: Israel.

MoreThis is a very interesting time in Israel’s history. The nation has already been divided (north = Israel, south = Judah). The nation of Israel has already been captured and deported by the Assyrians. Josiah was king in Judah just prior to this time. The book of the law had been found. The Passover had been kept. All was ok spiritually. But then Josiah was killed in battle. The Egyptians soon after invaded and set up their own king. There is much material prosperity from Josiah’s reign still in place during Habakkuk’s time, but the new king does not follow God. So there is also much spiritual corruption. So while there is real material prosperity, there is also rampant spiritual poverty! (2 Chronicles 35-36)

In other words, there are people who are wicked, violent, and unjust getting rewarded materially as if they are spiritually great. Habakkuk is frustrated. Habakkuk is irritated. Habakkuk is confused by this. Habakkuk knows God is just. He knows God can not let sin go unpunished. But all he sees is injustice going unpunished. So God answers Habakkuk. God will bring justice. But justice means judgment. God’s answer to Habakkuk’s confusion only adds more confusion. What God is going to do Habakkuk will not believe. “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told” (Habakkuk 1:5). God’s answer is unbelievable. God’s justice is confusing. God’s justice is judgment. But it is judgment on the very nation He promised to protect and preserve. And Habakkuk is more confused by that (Habakkuk 1:12). Habakkuk is confused at how God will use a wicked nation, the Babylonians to bring justice. Habakkuk is confused by God’s judgment. Habakkuk’s confusion is in his understanding of God’s plan.

Habakkuk, as our guide, experienced that same confusion we face as well. We have confusion in our understanding of God’s plan. How could He use someone more wicked than us? How could God judge us by someone that needs judgment themselves? Romans 8:28 states that “for those who love God all things work together for good”. golgotha-01But how can an unjust judgment be good? These are the things that confuse. These are the things that frustrate. These are the things that cause us to question God and His plan. But as we will see next week, these confusions, frustrations, and questions cause us to evaluate where our confidence must be found.

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