Sunday 3rd May

Service Transcript & Video

WHY GOD WHY????

 

Who could ever have imagined 6 months ago… that our whole world was going to be stretched…shaken.. shattered.. closed down by something called coronavirus??

And in times of crisis… People Pray MORE…

I’ve prayed MORE than I’ve ever prayed..

 A study by an associate professor in economics of the University of Copenhagen states that Google searches for the word ‘PRAYER’ have surged and skyrocketed in the month of March..

People are wondering… questioning.. searching..

  1. Does Prayer work?
  2. Will GOD listen?
  3. Can Prayer change things?

Those are questions we all battle with …

as we bring our fears.. worries.. anxieties.. struggles to GOD in prayer.

That’s Why I think that these studies in this little Bible Book called Habakkuk, written around 600BC… are so VERY relevant for us in our world right now..

Habakkuk is a prophet.. and a prophet is usually someone who Speaks God’s Message to people…

BUT Habakkuk NEVER really does that… The whole Book is MORE of a 2 way conversation between Habakkuk and GOD.. a prayer… a complaint to GOD…

All around Habakkuk in Jerusalem where he lives… He sees a society… who were called God’s people … BUT who were drifting further and further away from GOD and GOD’s ways.

He sees a society that is increasingly corrupt.. lawless.. violent.. where all kinds of injustice.. bribery.. corruption … fighting….was going on..

And that NOT only breaks God’s laws and God’s heart… it is breaking Habakkuk’s heart as well…

Like us in NI..

 we look at how much things in GB and Ireland have so rapidly deteriorated both morally… spiritually… sexually… ethically… in these last 50 yrs.. even these last 10yrs…

It’s unthinkable.. unbelievable…  How much our society has thrown out God’s ways and turned away from God’s guidance in these last few years..

As we pick up these opening verses in Habakkuk chapter 1…

You get the sense that he has been praying and praying and asking GOD to change and transform the people’s hearts and lives and ways…

 and YET… instead of things getting better…

it seems that things are only getting worse..

So You can almost hear the frustration.. the desperation in Habakuks opening prayers in v1-4

How LONG LORD… is this going on?

Why GOD Why aren’t you answering our prayers

Why are all these things happening in our world?

Why don’t YOU do something to stop it.. to help us.. to change things??

 

I love the way that Habakkuk

voices OUR bewilderment to-day..

he articulates OUR confusion

He verbalizes our disappointment in GOD when it feels like He hasn’t answered our prayers

 

  1. Do you ever wonder …

what GOD is doing/ or NOT doing in our world right NOW?

WHY God hasn’t answered YOUR prayers or responded to YOUR pain?

How long we’ll have to go through this terrible time and this horrendeous suffering..

 

Like YOU.. Like us..

Habakkuk is really struggling with GOD..

struggling with prayer…

struggling to see any sign of GOD at work in the chaos and brokenness of his city Jerusalem.

So v1-5 are really Habakkuks prayers to GOD..

his complaints to GOD..    His cries to GOD…

And the whole BOOK is about HOW Habakkuk comes to see and believe that…  despite the trouble and the hardship that breaks his heart…

GOD is STILL in control .. even when things around him look way out of control..

And that GOD is working and will answer his prayers..

BUT NOT in the ways that Habakkuk ever expects.. in his wildest dreams.

 

I mean…  many followers of JESUS right around the world have been praying for REVIVAL for many, many years…

By revival I mean hundreds, if NOT thousands of people coming back to GOD and following JESUS with everything they’ve got.

Well imagine…

Imagine if Coronovirus was GOD’s answer to those prayers…

WHO Would believe it.. conceive it… imagine it??

Yet as I said at the start..

In this past month Google search has gone crazy on the word ‘PRAYER’..

Faced with the catastrophe that is the Coronovirus pandemic… HUGE no’s of people who would normally NOT have thought too much about GOD and prayer are beginning in this crisis to think again and ask about the spiritual Meaning of our lives.

 

HTB is the home of the Alpha film series.. the course which allows people to have conversations about faith.. God.. meaning of life.. prayer etc

 They usually have 300-400 at their Course in the church building.

They have begun a NEW online course and have 1000 people signed up for it who can take part from the safety of their own homes…

We here in SST are launching our first ever online Alpha course in 2 weeks time and you’ll see the info on our Facebook page or ring us..

The point is that people.. who were way too busy and too distracted before all this present crisis..

are being jolted out of their complacency by the horror and the fear of this pandemic…

and are NOW beginning to ask some of the MOST important Q’s of life…. 

These are MOMENTEOUS MOMENTS for our world and for the church..

 

So let’s look at this little BOOK and open our hearts… minds and souls to anything and everything that GOD MIGHT be saying to YOU in these moments.

Habakkuk..

HIS NAME means embrace.. grasp.. struggle..

This is the story of one man’s struggle to embrace what GOD is doing in HIS generation

One man who is wrestling with GOD..

Wrestling in prayer..

Wrestling to make sense of the brokenness of his society and his city…

We read v1.

The ORACLE that  Habakkuk the prophet received/ saw..

 The word ‘oracle’ means  ‘burden’… weight..

Ie  He has a heavy heart. A real sadness in his heart

He is ‘broken hearted’…  when he looks around at his society and the church of his day … and sees how people are living their lives..

Sees how they are hurting.. fighting.. lying.. deceiving… treating one another..

LOOK at the words he uses to describe life in Jerusalem in v 1- 4

X2 violence.. v2 & v3

Iniquity…       v3

Destruction/strife/ fighting…  v3

Injustice/ broken law courts/ bribery v4

Those who are trying to live ‘right’ lives and being attacked… hounded.. surrounded by the wicked. V4

I don’t think that his society is that far removed from society as we see it around us to-day in Great Britain and Ireland…

  1. Would you agree?/

And Habakkuk is obviously distressed and distraught by all of this.. heavy hearted.. broken hearted…. Because people are broken and wounded and hurting…

I love those words in Matthew 9 describing Jesus heart when he saw the crowds of people around him

“ Jesus felt great compassion for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.”           Mt 9v 36 NLT

 

That exactly describes how Habakkuk feels as he looks at the people in his city in his day.

He’s been crying out to GOD for years (Some maybe think as many as 20yrs).

 He’s been crying out to GOD in prayer to do something… to change things… to HELP His people and YET…

 it feels to Habakkuk like GOD isn’t answering HIS prayers..  v2

“HOW Long, O LORD, must I call for help but YOU do NOT listen?”

 

  1. Tell me this:

Q.What prayers have you been praying to GOD for ages and still don’t see any answers?

  1. Who have You been crying out to GOD to change but NO change has come?
  2. What situation have you prayed and prayed and prayed over and it STILL is NO different?

For all your prayers..

For all your tears

For all your burden…

       You’ve NOT seen GOD do anything yet!!

Maybe You just don’t understand GOD and His ways

Maybe like Habakkuk You’re frustrated with GOD

 

So His 2 prayers

  1. HOW long GOD.. before I’ll see breakthrough?
  2. WHY GOD do you allow all this pain to go on in this city…  and do nothing?

It’s really discouraging and heart breaking when you’ve prayed and asked and prayed and asked GOD about something or someone..

and instead of things getting better…

 it seems like.. it feels like.. they’re only getting worse..

It’s really difficult when you’ve prayed and prayed and you KNOW in your heart..

Believe in YOUR soul..

that GOD CAN do something

that GOD can do anything

that GOD can change any situation

BUT…

For whatever reason.. He’s NOT changing yours…

 

How long LORD do I have to pray before You breakthrough?

Why do you allow sin and evil and wickedness to prosper and good people to suffer..?

                   WHY GOD WHY..

 

Do you know what I love about Habakkuks prayers here in this opening blast against GOD…?

He doesn’t pray  ‘NICE’  prayers to GOD.

Q.Do you know what I mean by ‘NICE’ prayers?

It’s like in S. School and church you ask the children a question about the Bible and the children always give you the ‘right answer.. the Nice answer..

It’s always JESUS..GOD  Bible..

 

BUT NOT Habakkuk and please..  NOT YOU either..

Talk to GOD…

Prayer is simply conversation with GOD

Open your heart and soul to GOD

Tell Him what You’re really feeling

Tell Him all your struggles and frustrations

Be real with GOD about your upsets..

your disappointments.. where You feel He has let You down and failed you..

 

Don’t hide what you’re really struggling with inside..

Tell GOD your real feelings…  in prayer..

 

BUT.. also be prepared

GOD Might just answer Your prayers

God might just answer your prayers in ways that You would NEVER expect in your wildest dreams

 

  1. Are you willing and prepared to let GOD be GOD of this world and of your life?
  2. Are you willing to trust GOD with what He shows you He is doing… in your circumstances??

Even though… it might surprise You…

 even shock You at first..

That’s the RISK you NEED to take if You want a

2 way conversation with GOD

 

Because GOD is BIGGER than you think

God sees things in ways that You don’t or can’t

GOD really is in charge of this world.. our society… your family… and…   if you let Him…

YOUR LIFE

And through the good things and the bad things.. through the terrible things and the toughest things… like this coronavirus…

The Apostle Paul  says in Romans

“And we know that in ALL things GOD works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”     Romans 8v28

 

ALL things…

The good things.. the bad things..

 the worst things.. the coronavirus things..

 

Maybe as we start this Book of Habakkuk you can identify with him and say..

 I’m with You Habakkuk..

I’m confused.. I’m bewildered.. I don’t understand GOD and His ways or what he’s doing in my world to-day…

I’ve got as many Questions.. fears and doubts as You Habakkuk…

BY the end of the book we’ll see that Habakkuk comes to really TRUST GOD… even if everything is stripped down and taken away from his life..

Even when things are still very dark and difficult

Even when life doesn’t make sense

Even when there are NO easy answers

 

We have a GOOD.. GOOD Father

A Loving Heavenly Father

We believe like the Apostle Paul and Habakkuk too

“Who could ever separate us from the endless love of Christ? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish his love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love,  even though it is written:

All day long we face death threats for your sake, God. We are considered to be nothing more than sheep to be slaughtered!

Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and his demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything!

So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love.

I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love. 

There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus Christ”

What a confidence.. what a conviction…  when everything in this world is being shaken and uncertain…

We have this ONE unshakable certainty…

 In JESUS.. We are loved by GOD and NOTHING.. NOTHING…  NOTHING that happens to us in this world is going to shake or break us away from God’s love..

 

 

 

 

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