Sermon: “Confident Faith In Uncertain Times” Habakkuk -- By: Paul D. Wegner

Journal: Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry
Volume: JBTM 13:2 (Fall 2016)
Article: Sermon: “Confident Faith In Uncertain Times” Habakkuk
Author: Paul D. Wegner


Sermon: “Confident Faith In Uncertain Times”
Habakkuk

Paul D. Wegner

Where do you turn to when life is out of control? Is your God big enough to protect you even through your biggest fears? And the headlines provide plenty of reasons to fear: major earthquakes; ISIS popping up throughout the Near East; home-grown terrorism; even the beheading of Christians. If ever there was a dangerous time to live it is now. Does God not know what is happening? Even worse, is he allowing it? If you are asking questions like these, then you are in good company. Habakkuk, a prophet who lived in the seventh century BC, asked similar questions in the midst of the equally threatening circumstances of his day.

God warned Habakkuk that the Babylonians were coming to punish Judah for their disobedience to him (Hab 1:6). Habakkuk declared this prophecy before the Babylonian empire posed a major world threat. Yet history goes on to show that Nebuchadnezzar II became an amazing general who tore across the ancient Near East taking country after country. After his father, Nabopolassar, died in 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar stepped up to the throne and freed Babylon from three centuries of servitude to other ancient Near Eastern nations. He even destroyed the great Assyrian Empire, which had controlled much of the ancient Near East for about two centuries. Then Nebuchadnezzar headed east to fight Pharaoh Necho II and gained control of Syria and Palestine. To signify how great their power had become, Daniel 2 pictures the Babylonian Empire as a head of gold. There is no doubt, then, that the Babylonians were a fierce foe. Habakkuk had every reason to be afraid and even to question what God was doing.

So what are we supposed to do when things look out of control? Or when God’s people are suffering all over the world? Or when armies are threatening us? Let’s turn to the book of Habakkuk to find out how Habakkuk learns to have “Confident Faith in Uncertain Times.”

(Transitional Statement:) Here in this book we’ll see three steps that Habbakuk takes as he learns to trust in his God.

The book of Habakkuk has a very interesting structure: First there are two cycles in which Habakkuk complains to God and then God responds. In the first cycle (Hab 1:1-11) Habakkuk voices his complaint in vv. 1-4 and then God responds in vv. 5-11. In the second cycle Habakkuk complains in 1:12-2:1 and then God responds in 2:2-20

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