Habakkuk - Answering Life's Toughest Questions - Where is God When I Need Him

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Sunday, 04 November 2012

link to video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBBLpRSx74o#t=14m39s 



‘O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?’ (Hab. 1:2)  


‘O LORD, How long?’ ‘Where is God when I need him?’ ‘Why doesn’t God do something?’ ‘I don’t Nnow what God is doing.’ ‘Is this all there is?’ ‘Everything is so frustrating.’

The historical setting: late C7; Judah alone; Babylonian power on the rise.

Habakkuk: an unusual prophetic book, in the form of a dialogue.

1. Wickedness and Injustice in God’s People (Hab 1:2-4)
• Wrongdoing, trouble, destruction, violence
• The law ‘becomes slack’, is ‘paralysed’; justice is ‘perverted’
• These are covenant violations; God’s people has forgotten its calling
• But wickedness in God’s people is not Habakkuk’s main focus.

2. God’s ‘Amazing’ Response (Hab 1:5-11)
• The Babylonians (Chaldeans): a swift and violent invasion
• Remember the covenant curses (Lev 26; Deut 28)
• Judgment on Judah is now inevitable (cf. 2 Kings 21)
• The Babylonians: a righteous people? Hardly!

3. What Kind of a Solution is this?
• A little drastic?
• On reading Habakkuk after Nahum: Nahum’s joy, Habakkuk’s bewilderment
• Habakkuk and the modern world
Conclusion Our calling: to witness by our lives
Our calling: to wait in faith.

Questions for Discussion
• ‘Where is God when I need him?’ What is right about asking a question like that? And what is wrong?
• Wrongdoing, trouble, destruction, violence, perverted justice: do we see these things or their equivalents in parts of the church today? In ourselves? What should our response be when we see these things in the world around us?
• Habakkuk at least faces reality in its most troubling aspects: is there a comfort to be found in that?
• Is it enough to say that we must ‘witness by our lives’ and ‘wait in faith’?