Habakkuk Sermons by Rev. Mike Jones [Revised October 29, 2021]
Habakkuk (“To Embrace”) ministered just after the fall of Nineveh and as Babylon was rising to become a world power. Just as the people of Judah were rejoicing that Nahum’s prophecy of Nineveh’s destruction was fulfilled they found they had “jumped from the frying pan into the fire”. Babylon was out for world conquest and already was knocking at Jerusalem’s door (Many think Habakkuk was written after the first captives [Daniel and others] were carried to Babylon). This short book reveals God’s purpose in all of this and the fact of Babylon’s ultimate downfall.
Habakkuk is the only Prophet who does not write to point out problems or punishment for others but, instead, writes to share his perplexity with the way God does things (Why does God allow Bad People (with worse sins) to do Bad Things to Good People as punishment for their “lesser” sins?). When Habakkuk WAITED until God gave him an answer it was such an astonishing answer until it became the major Principle in FOUR Books of the Bible: “The Just shall live by Faith” (Habakkuk, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews).
“Christ is coming soon; the big events of our time are the solemn heralds of His return. Habakkuk teaches us to wait with the patience of a true hope, to watch with the eye of a true faith, to work with the zeal of a true love—until He comes!” (J. Sidlow Baxter). We must have Faith in God’s Love and realize God does not “take away our ice cream” because He dislikes us but because He knows we need to eat “vegetables” if we are to grow into the amazing person He wants us to be.
While most prophets are intent on proclaiming a message, Habakkuk is intent on solving a Problem- God’s government of the Nations (And from that the doubts that arise because of the rise and fall of nations). The particular nation Habakkuk is concerned with is the Chaldean Nation, and why God was allowing this ungodly nation to conquer God’s chosen nation Israel.
Habakkuk has been called the grandfather of the Reformation. He proclaimed the great statement The Just Shall Live by His Faith (2:4) and it was echoed 3 times by Paul in his great declarations of the Christian Faith (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38). It became the battle cry of Martin Luther during the Protestant Reformation when Christians realized the need to serve God by Faith and not just by works. It is one of the basic statements of the Christian Faith.
I. THE PROPHET SIGHING 1
A) Over Unrepented Sins by his countrymen 1-11 God’s answer- The Chaldeans will conquer the land to chasten the people.
B) Over the “Worst” sinners of Chaldea punishing the “Better” sinners of Judah 12-17 [Even though he knows the Chaldeans are being used for judgment and correction]. (Why do the wicked prosper and Christians undergo trials??)
II. THE PROPHET SEEING 2
A) God reveals His plan 2:1-5
1. Wait upon the Lord
2. Write the Message Plainly
3. Be Patience
4. Don’t let outer circumstances sway you. “First shall be Last”
5. Nothing gives peace to the wicked- Who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied vs 5.
B) God reveals the ultimate end of those who withstand Him 6:20 Five “Woes”
1. Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! 6-8 (As thou hast done it shall be done to thee)
2. Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness in his house 9-11 (Thou hast sinned against thy soul. What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul).
3. Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and establisheth a city by iniquity 12-14 (The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord- unless the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.)
4. Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink 15-17 (The Lord will make you drink of His cup- see Rev 16:19)
5. Woe unto him that saith to the wood, awake 18-20 (But the Lord is in His holy Temple; let all the earth keep silence before HIM).
III. THE PROPHET SINGING 3
A) A Plea for Revival NOW 1-2
B) A Remembrance of Past deed by God 3-15
C) A Rejoicing in Faith in God 16-19
Habakkuk is a book about the doubts that come our way when life doesn’t turn out as we planned. In Habakkuk’s case it was the captivity of his nation by the ungodly Chaldeans. In our world today it may by the drug dependence of a child, the rejection by a mate, the sickness of a parent, or the loss of our job through circumstances that had nothing to do with the quality or faithfulness of our work.
It’s easy for Preachers to preach that the “Just shall live by faith” (vs 4) but it’s extremely hard to live when it’s our child, partner, parent, or job. What can we do when we don’t know what to do; and it appears God has either forgotten us, or His plan is to hurt us instead of help us. Let’s see what Habakkuk did.
Hab 2:1 4 I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
FOUR PRINCIPLES STAND OUT IN HABAKKUK’S STATEMENT:
1> I will stand upon my watch– Stay at your God appointed task. God wants and needs you where He has put you. Don’t let discouragement or doubts drive you from your appointed place. Remember, that’s where God is going to deliver the Blessings!!
2> (I will) set me upon the tower– Keep your eyes above the circumstances. Don’t sink to the level of the world and expect to see God. Man is a “look up” animal; so look up.
3> (I) will watch to see what he will say unto me– Look for God to Speak, and work, through the circumstances that surround you. George Washington Carver did wonders for the world because he refused to look past the peanut. A City in Alabama has a statue to the Boil Weevil because the disaster of the Boil Weevil drove area farmers to look beyond Cotton to Commerce.
4> (I am to) Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it– Share the way God has helped you with others. You may be just the encouragement someone needs. You may have the answer that would save someone else tremendous time and energy.
5> I am to realize that Justification only comes by Faith– vs 4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by faith.
Has the Lord been dealing with you recently? Down in your heart do you want to be right with God? If you knew how to be saved would you trust Christ as your savior today?
Let us divide into Small Groups and answer these questions:
(1) What is a particularly perplexing problem in your life right now?
(2) What (if anything) has God taught you through the problem?
(3) What should the others in your group help you pray about?
(4) Has anyone else in the group had a similar problem? Can they share how God worked through the problem in their life (If He has)?
THE FIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GREAT CHURCH:
1) EVANGELISM- Man leading Man to God
2) WORSHIP- Man adoring God with Man
3) STUDY OF THE WORD- Man Learning God from God and Man
4) FELLOWSHIP- Man joining Man to make man better
5) SERVICE- Man working for Man in order to Show God to Man
Began preaching at the age of 14 in a tobacco pack house where my mom and dad were my first converts. Pastor of 6 churches in 3 states. Spoken before small crowds and to 6000 in India and have preached in nearly 150 different churches. Held denominational positions in the Local Conference, in the State, and at the National. Visited missionaries in Brazil, Japan, Spain, and India. Several principles have guided my life and ministry.
Principles One, Two and Three are contained in my Life Verse- Psalm 16:11
- God Has a Plan for me- God has a plan for each person (Before I formed then in the Belly, I knew thee) and Life is a Journey; not a destination. It is not just where I am going but what I am doing along the way that interest God.
- It is Good to Connect with God- Fullness of Joy- Walking WITH God , Fellowship with God, and Loving God are the source of real Joy.
- The End is worth the work and the wait- At His Right Hand are pleasure forever more: Place of Honor, Place of Pleasure
- Obligations present Opportunity – Ask and you shall receive, Seek and you shall find, Knock and it shall be opened. Faith without works is dead.
- Growth always depends on God- Except the Lord Build the house they labor in vain that build it. Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. Upon this rock I will Build my church.
- Limitations are liberating- Paul planted, Apollos watered. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1 Peter 4:10). God does not call you to Be something you are not nor to DO something you cannot do.
- But the greatest truth in the Bible is that GOD IS IN CHARGE AND I CAN TRUST HIM. The most important statement in the Bible, The Just shall live by Faith. 4 Books of the Bible are built on this theme (Habakkuk, Romans, Galatians, Hebrews) and All of lifes major questions are answered by this phase
A) When Life does not seem fair- Hab 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
B) When we need to know how to get to God- Ro 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
C) When we need to know how to live for God- Ga 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
D) When we are discouraged or tempted to quit- Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. (Habakkuk 3:3).
Teman, was the name of an Edomite clan and of its eponym, according to the Bible, and an ancient biblical town of Arabia Petraea. The term is also traditionally used in Biblical Hebrew as the synonym of the direction South and was applied to being used as the Hebrew name of Yemen due to its location in the Southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, thus making Yemenite Jews being called “Temanim” in Hebrew. In the Book of Genesis, Genesis 36:15, the name Teman is referred to a son of Eliphaz, Esau’s eldest son. Job’s friend Eliphaz was a Temani