Friday, February 11, 2011

Our God is in Control!

From innocent childhood queries to complex university discussions, life is filled with questions. Asking how and why and when, we probe beneath the surface to find satisfying answers. But not all questions have answers wrapped and neatly tied. These unanswered interrogations create more questions and nagging, spirit-destroying doubt. Some choose to live with their doubts, ignoring them and moving on with life. Others become cynical and hardened. But there are those who reject those options and continue to ask, looking for answers.

Habakkuk was a man who sought answers. Troubled by what he observed, he asked difficult questions. These questions were not merely intellectual exercises or bitter complaints. Habakkuk saw a dying world, and it broke his heart. Why is there evil in the world? Why do the wicked seem to be winning? He boldly and confidently took his complaints directly to God. And God answered... with an avalanche of proof and prediction.

The prophet's questions and God's answers are recorded in this book. As we turn the pages, we are immediately confronted with his urgent cries.

O LORD, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”
And You will not save.
(Habakkuk 1:2)

Habakkuk spoke to God using His covenant name LORD (Exodus 3: 14, 15). “how long”: This question is phrased as a formal complaint (Psalms 13:1, 2). Saddened by the violence and corruption he saw around him, Habakkuk poured out his heart to God. Today injustice is still rampant, but don't let your concern cause you to doubt God or rebel against Him. Instead, consider the message that God gave Habakkuk and recognize God's long-range plans and purposes. Realize that God is doing right, even when you do not understand why He works as He does.

As chapter two begins, Habakkuk declares that he will wait to hear God's answers to his complaints. Then God begins to speak, telling the prophet to write his answer plainly so that all will see and understand (Habakkuk 2: 2, 3). It may seem, God says, as though the wicked triumph, but eventually they will be judged, and righteousness will prevail. Judgment may not come quickly, but it will come.

Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
(Habakkuk 2:4)

The wicked Babylonians trusted in themselves and would fall; but the righteous live by their faith and trust in God. This verse has inspired countless Christians. Paul quotes it in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11. The writer of Hebrews quotes it in Hebrews 10:38, just before the famous chapter on faith. And it is helpful to all Christians who must live through difficult times without seeing signs of hope. Christians must trust that God is directing all things according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

Then in chapter three Habakkuk concludes his book with a prayer of triumph. With questions answered and a new understanding of God's power and love, Habakkuk rejoices in who God is and in what He will do.

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
(Habakkuk 3:18-19)

The LORD God in Habakkuk 3:19 is the divine name Yahweh and is tied to the term Adonai, which means “Lord.” God will strengthen those who trust in Him (Psalms 18:32, 39). He will give those who live by faith the same confidence that a surefooted deer has in climbing mountains (Psalms 18:33). Like a victorious army, the righteous with God’s strength will occupy the high hills.

God will give His followers surefooted confidence through difficult times. They will run like deer across rough and dangerous terrain. At the proper time, God will bring about His justice and completely rid the world of evil. In the meantime, God's people need to live in the strength of His Spirit, confident in His ultimate victory over evil.

Crop failure and the death of animals would devastate Judah. But Habakkuk affirmed that even in the times of starvation and loss, he would still rejoice in the Lord. Habakkuk's feelings were not controlled by the events around him but by faith in God's ability to give him strength. When nothing makes sense, and when troubles seem more than you can bear, remember that God gives us strength. Take your eyes off your difficulties and look to God.

Habakkuk had asked God why evil people prosper while the righteous suffer. God's answer: they don't, not in the long run. Habakkuk saw his own limitations in contrast to God's unlimited control of all the world's events. God is alive and in control of the world and its events. We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that God will do. But we can be assured that He is God and will do what is right. Knowing this can give us confidence and hope in a confusing world.

Listen to the profound questions that Habakkuk boldly brings to God, and realize that you can also bring your complaints and inquiries to Him. Listen to God's answers and rejoice that He is at work in the world and in your life.

References: NKJV Holy Bible, Life Application Bible (NIV), the Nelson Study Bible.


dfish said...

A church group from Pennsylvania visited the church at Coyote Canyon,Nm. One lady was staring out across the desert, and dad asked what she was looking at. "nothing", she said,"there's nothing to see." Dad pointed out cars on the highway over 20 miles away. She was amazed to realize she could see them. So often we are so used to looking only at the immediate we don't see what is there until God shows us.

Great post.

Clint said...

Hallelujah! Great post, Lloyd.

Mari said...

Amen! Indeed our Lord is in control, we should present our complaints, inquiries and problems to him and leave it in his hands with faith that he would do what is best for us. Great post Lloyd :)

Have a wonderful weekend.

Clint said...

Excellent---similar to Job in many respects. Thank you!

Prayer Notes by Cynthia said...

Yes, we can be assured that He is at work. You are right: We can't understand how, why, what...but, we know that it will one day be disclosed. I take my complaints to Him, but they soon become a form of worship as my mind and heart are filled with a comprehension that I cannot explain in words. Be blessed, my brother!

RCUBEs said...

I always feel the way Habakkuk felt every time I'm at work. But though I know what Ground I'm standing on, it's really awesome to be reminded of what this truly means for those who trusts in Him. God bless you and thank you for your encouragement and prayers. This is a big battle I'm facing.

Starry Dawn said...

Hello Lloyd,
What a wonderful blog you have written, Lloyd!!
It is a gift from God to you, the fact that you share your wisdom with the world. It is a real blessing for me to have come across your blog.
I enjoy reading your wonderful posts as I follow your blog.
Everything you say is so interesting,and food for thoughts.
God shows you the way. You touch the reader's heart with your words out. Thank you for sharing your writing talents with us all, Lloyd!!
God's richest blessings may always abound in your life, and those you love!! Thank you for joining my poetry blog and reading my posts!!
Welcome Aboard!!
All the Best,
Starry Dawn.

A Tua palavra é A Verdade ! said...

Hallelujah brother Lloyd, at the beginning of my conversion the Lord made me understand this wonderful prayer of Habakkuk that was very important to my walk with Christ, today reading your beautiful text brace myself and I'm happy with her words.
I published this article on my blog, my brothers need to read this article.

Your fellow servant Iveraldo Pereira.

Aleluia irmão Lloyd, logo no começo da minha conversão o Senhor me fez entender esta maravilhosa oração de habacuque isso foi muito importante para o meu caminhar com Cristo, hoje lendo seu belo texto me fortaleço e me alegro com suas palavras.
Publiquei este artigo no meu blog, meus irmãos precisam ler este artigo.

Seu conservo, Iveraldo Pereira.

Real Life In A Minute said...

God is in charge no matter what! Joyful times and other times as well.

Yvette Burleigh said...

Thank you for inviting me to your blog and joining mine. I thoroughly am enjoying reading your blog. I love the way you write and am truly inspired so far.

Bro. OH said...

I enjoyed this tonight, thank you.

Starla Espinoza said...

Lloyd, this is a great reminder that evil is running out of time. Even though things appear to be out of order sometimes, the God we serve rains on the just and the unjust. It's great that you use your spiritual gift of ministering in your blog.

LaKenya said...

Lloyd said "God's people need to live in the strength of His Spirit, confident in His ultimate victory over evil."

This is so true and thank you for that confirmation. It is not by our strenght, but God's strength that we are able to carry out the mission He has set before us. I enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for the invitation to follow you. I appreciate your comments on my blog. With God's guidance, continue to do His will and watch how his blessings will pour greatness upon your life and ministry.

Be Blessed,

Tara said...

Hi Lloyd,
I enjoyed reading your testimony and visiting your blog. Thank you for inviting me. I am new to the "blog world". I look forward to visiting you again. God Bless You!

Amelia said...

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog, so glad you are enjoying it. : )

Yes, I agree with your entry, the evil seems just so evil and so overwhelming at times... God will topple it all we can be assured. I like to say, Sunday's coming!

Every tongue will confess, every knee will bow...Jesus Christ is Lord.

Bless you!

Sharon Kirby said...

Lloyd - This was just awesome! VERY encouraging, and a message that is so needed. So much of this dark and fallen world is in upheaval these days. It is so good to remember that God is still on His throne.

Loved this line - "Habakkuk's feelings were not controlled by the events around him but by faith in God's ability to give him strength."

I think that's the key - to not let our "feelings" dictate the strength of our faith. Rather, our faith must overcome our feelings. Feelings are based in our ability to control circumstances. Faith relies on the ONLY One who is sovereign - the One who has ultimate control.

Great word today - thanks for the blessing!


Geoff Maritz said...

There is something I want to look up before commenting, I'll be back.

Jannicar Galarion Nayve said...

Thank you for viewing my blog. i am following you back ^_^ YOU REALLY have a nice blog and a very heart warming article. Keep it up

Arvin U. de la Peña said...

God Bless..belated happy valentine's day..

Mrs. Miller said...

Looks like you definitely have a heart for God. Thanks for finding me. Thanks for this post also. This post is how I know the Lord works in the small things because my husband and I are struggling to find new hog contracts and will be in a wee bit of trouble if we can't, but it's so comforting to know that God is there, in good and bad. I don't know why we always think if we are doing good He must be there. He is there ALWAYS! Thanks again for the post! :)

lerra said...

hi loyd, thanks for following my blog. Its good to know your blog are messages that blessed!

Godbless and see you around!

Geoff Maritz said...

I said I would be back and here I am. Lloyd what I wanted to look up was a scripture where the Lord rebukes his people for not asking where he is when they were going through a rough time. I didn't find it though but I'm sure I will come accross it soon enough and then I will come back and post the references here. Great post, you would make a formidable teacher. God bless you my friend.

Zim said...

I believe that God knows all answers. Today we see all like in the mirror, but in the future, we will see very well. Sometimes I think that God have to very laugh at people, when they try to answer by philosophical reflections or difficult words, when He only knows real answer.