Sunday 10th May

Service Transcript & Video

 

HOW GOD HOW.. (Habakkuk 1v 5-17)

Last week we saw how Habakkuk looked over his city (Jerusalem) … and his nation..

and his heart was filled with incredible sorrow, sadness and pain…

 (1v1-4) Habakkuk was literally heart-broken…

because of how his friends and his people were NOW living their lives…

They were supposed to be..

                  ‘the people of GOD’

BUT…  in reality… they were far, far away  from GOD..

1V1-4 gives us these pictures of a society full of arguing and fighting, hitting and hurting..

all kinds of wrongs.. injustices and ..

violence (x6 in the Book)…

They violated one another and caused unspeakable hurt and pain in their society…

 

When we think about our nation in OUR day…

 We still have the ‘Name’ of being a Christian nation… 

    BUT the reality has long since gone…

We see a society that has increasingly jettisoned GOD..  and rejects God’s WORD.. God’s ways… as the bedrock of it’s laws and life and it’s everyday choices and behaviour…

 

We see a society that MORE and MORE loudly calls God’s WORD (the Bible) and God’s ways…

 irrelevant.. old-fashioned… even regressive and restrictive of our personal freedoms and choices…

           AND…Just like Habakkuk..

it breaks our hearts as we look out at our friends here in N.I. and society throughout Europe and see just HOW far we have turned our backs on GOD in recent years…

morally.. spiritually.. ethically.. sexually

It’s having a devastating effect on our society…

Everywhere we look we see brokenness in our  relationships with GOD and

Brokenness in our relationships with one another as well..

Last week the questions that Habakkuk was wrestling with were…

Q. Why aren’t You DOING something LORD… to turn the people’s hearts back to YOU??

Q. Why aren’t YOU answering the cries of our hearts and the prayers that we’ve prayed?

 

Don’t just sit there GOD…  DO something!!

 

This week we are going to look at God’s answers to those prayers…

and we are going to discover that…

far from easing Habakkuk’s fears…

GOD’s answer is only going to compound his confusion.. bewilderment.. amazement…

and leave him with a whole NEW set of Questions to wrestle with… that are even worse than his first Q’s…

So..

Let’s read the passage and then jump into an explanation and an application

 

              Habakkuk 1 v 5-17  (READ)

 

WOW!!  Some heavy stuff there… isn’t there??

 

Here’s what struck Me as I read it over and over and over again and wrestled with it..

 

 

First of all  (v 5)   God gives 3 commands…

Habakkuk has been asking GOD about his own city and Nation…

BUT GOD tells Him to Look at the BIGGER picture..

V5. LOOK… (ref back to v3)  nations (pl)

     Watch…. Out across the world

     BE amazed… 

Be utterly and totally blown away…

shocked.. stunned…shaken… what I’m going to do throughout the world.

 

This whole coronavirus pandemic has stunned and humbled the WHOLE world…

NOT just one nation.

No one has a solution.

No one knows HOW /when this world crisis will end.

No one feels safe No matter what precautions we take as a country or as individuals.

 

We are LIVING in unprecedented times in world history…

 

BUT we believe that GOD is working out HIS own sovereign and eternal purposes…

      for HIS glory and also…  for our good…

In ways that we can’t even begin to

    see or conceive..  imagine or grasp.

 

Look at V5.  “FOR I am going to do something in your days.. that YOU would NOT believe, even if you were told.”

            You’re right there GOD… 

If you had told any of us … 6 months ago..

6 yrs ago.. 16 yrs ago… that the whole world would be in lockdown due to a virus from China…

We wouldn’t have believed YOU..

We would have thought You were NUTS…

 

If only….

If only we could see things from God’s perspective.. from heaven’s perspective…

 

You know if you’ve ever flown into Belfast harbour airport… how things from up there… in a plane….

look so totally different to what it looks like from down here on the ground..

Samson and Goliath in Harland and Wolf’s look SOOOO SMALL…from way up there …

and SOO BIG from down here.. 

Don’t they?

 

From a human perspective…

This coronavirus pandemic looks to us…

as the MOST unspeakable tragedy and the worst NIGHTMARE… that we have faced in our lifetime…

Especially if ..

You have loved One’s battling in an ICU ward or worse still…. have lost loved ones in the battle with this virus..

Or

if you have lost jobs.. or a business that you have poured YOUR whole life into for years…

to see it swept away from YOU…in a few short weeks..

or if you’ve lost sleep …

or lost HOPE or certainty…

or whatever it is You’ve lost through all this.

 

We know that people are going through unimaginable stress.. suffering and heartache.. due to this pandemic

 

BUT if we could only SEE what GOD is doing… in this..

OVER this..

through this…

above this..  world –  wide  catastrophe…

We too might be…

utterly amazed…

totally humbled..

reduced to awe and wonder and worship…

You see…

Habakkuk had complained in v1-4 that GOD was doing NOTHING… to STOP the pain and hurt and heartache in His city and his nation…

 

NOW GOD says (v6)… You’re wrong Habakkuk.

    This is What I am doing Habakkuk

(v6) I am raising up the Babylonians…

 

Q. Who are the Babylonians.??

They are a people who come roughly from what we know to-day as Iraq… and the description God gives of them in v 6-11 is

hair raising to say the least..

          Think ISIS in our generation..

Think an ISIS type ruthless.. heartless.. merciless people ..

a brutal WAR machine of a Nation …

that just devours… destroys and steamrollers over the top of everyone and everything that gets in its way..

A nation that cares for NO ONE or Nothing.. only their own power and success…

That’s what verses 6-11 describe to Habakkuk.

So…

No wonder Habakkuk like us..

recoils in horror at GOD’s answer…

If his first complaint was about the behaviour of his friends and the people of his own nation…

His second complaint to God… is about the behaviour of his enemies

this ruthless.. brutal Nation that is about to come and completely devastate and decimate Judah and Jerusalem..

 

 

Basically what Habakuk says in 1v 12-17 is…

GOD   

HOW can YOU DO this..

HOW can YOU Allow this..

HOW can YOU permit this..

      LORD…

This is NOT fair..

This is NOT right…

This is NOT JUST…

HOW can YOU use them x2   (v12)…

to discipline and punish our people… Your people….

They are miles worse than us!!

 

Q. HOW can You do that LORD?

Q. WHY would You do that LORD?

 

It’s NOT right… It’s NOT fair??

 

HOW LORD HOW…

WHY LORD WHY…

 

It goes against everything I know of YOU LORD.

I’m MORE confused.. bewildered… bothered than ever LORD??

 

You can almost feel the tension building inside Habakkuk in  v12-13…

as his wrestles and struggles and battles to reconcile..

what he sees and hears from GOD…

with what He believes about GOD!

I don’t know if You have ever gone through something SO painful… so dark.. so difficult… so heartbreaking …so confusing..

That it challenges EVERYTHING You have ever known and  believed and held onto about GOD..

Here’s a couple of Q’s for YOU…

 

Q. What is GOD really like??

Q. What things do I really know and believe about GOD…

 

that won’t change..

that don’t change…

EVEN when the storms of LIFE hit and threaten to completely shipwreck My faith and  My life??

In V12-13 You get a sense of what Habakkuk believes about GOD… even though He’s totally bewildered by the suffering he sees in his life..

 

Here are the truths about GOD that Habakkuk and you can hold onto in the storms of life…

 

  1. O LORD… (v12)

In your Bible … that WORD   ‘LORD’

is all capital letters… unusual!!

it can also be translated.. Yahweh.. Jehovah…

It’s the special NAME that GOD gave to His people …to call Him… when He called them into a special relationship with Himself.

It’s a NAME that speaks of GOD’s

Relentless love for…

and

His unshakable/unbreakable commitment to… His covenant people Israel…

 

So he says to them through Moses..

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.

The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.

But it was because the Lord loved YOU…

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments…”

                                   Deuteronomy 7 v6 – 9

This is what Habakkuk believes in the core of HIS being..

God has chosen His people…

He has set His love and affection on them…

He is totally committed to them.

He is faithful..

He will NOT fail them… NOT even in the darkest trials of their lives..

And..  If that’s true for Israel…

HOW much MORE do we know that is true for us as His precious sons and daughters, adopted into His very own family…

through saving faith in JESUS…

Q. Do you believe that is true of YOU right NOW… even though it may NOT feel like that right NOW??

Second truth Habakkuk recites is this:

Q. V12 God You are an EVERlasting GOD.

We are only human… bits of dust and ash…

We say it in the funeral committal at the grave…

    Dust you are and to dust you return..

If there is ONE thing this virus has reminded us.. it’s this..

We are mortal… Limited..  Vulnerable..

We die.

We are so small.. so tiny.. so insignificant…

Tiny specks of dust in a tiny little planet in a tiny corner of the Universe…

 

In SHEER total contrast to us….

        GOD is MEGA HUGE…

EVERLASTING… No beginning.. NO end..

 

I have a prayer that I often pray..

“God YOU are God and I am NOT

You are good and I am NOT

You are everything that I am NOT..

but everything that I would love to be…

So kind.. good.. pure.. loving .. faithful.. true..”

 

And You see that in JESUS…  who is the spitting image of His Father…

so death can’t hold Him..

death is powerless before Him…

God’s breaks JESUS from the grave into LIFE and Aliveness for ever and eternity..

and invites us into this VERY life with Him…

forever EVER…and EVER and EVER..

In Christ… united to Jesus…

We shall NOT die…

Death is NOT the end of us as believers… Death is NEVER the end of us a lovers and followers of JESUS…

No power on earth or in Hell… can EVER defeat our GOD… 

NO matter how powerful it is..

            Our GOD is EVERLASTING…

 

3rd truth

       MY GOD,  My  Holy One..  v12.

 

For Habakkuk this is Not just ANY old GOD… that he is wrestling and struggling to comprehend….

This is the LORD whom He Knows, He loves and in whom he trusts as …

       “MY GOD.. MY HOLY ONE…”

Like the disciple Thomas.. bewildered.. confused.. perplexed and  heartbroken…

by the death and crucifixion of JESUS at the hands of wicked men…

He cannot come to terms with the fact that JESUS is DEAD…

And NOW… He cannot bring Himself to believe that JESUS is NO LONGER DEAD..

BUT that He is actually.. physically.. factually ALIVE… just as the rest of the disciples have told HIM…

Unless He can have undeniable, concrete PROOF…

He says He cannot.. will NOT  believe  that JESUS is Risen from the dead..

Then Jesus miraculously.. marvellously stands before Him in the room and addresses Him personally and invites him to reach out and touch his hands and his feet and to stop Doubting and start believing..

IN response Thomas cries out that marvellous declaration of faith.. ..

so like this declaration of Habakkuk..

“MY LORD and MY GOD”            John 20v28

 

Q.Is that Your relationship to GOD?

Q. Is your relationship with JESUS.. that personal.. that beautiful.. that powerful??

 

Sure there are many things that You don’t understand in the world right NOW…

Many things that you are struggling to get your head around right NOW…

BUT this ONE thing You do know with absolute conviction and JOY…

JESUS YOU ARE ALIVE to-day in Donaghadee

And

JESUS You are MY GOD.. My saviour…

MY Friend.. My Strength.. My HOPE.. My All!

Amazing !!

 

4th and final truth Habakkuk declares in v12

                      MY ROCK….

Think of Rock of Gibraltar… that stands out of the sea…

Or Mount Everest… that ROCK that stands above the earth..

A Rock stands for strength.. stability… Something Unshakable.. Unmovable… Solid…

A Rock is something to cling to in the raging seas.. when everything is being shaken and swept away in the storms..

If coronavirus has told us ONE thing it’s reminded us that:

Nothing is certain in our world any longer..

Everything that we relied on and clung to that gave us success.. happiness.. peace.. Joy.. meaning.. purpose…

has been swept away from under our feet…

Yet there is still ONE ROCK  Solid certainty..

in this frightening sea of change..

ONE ROCK SOLID Person who does NOT change when everything around us is changing and decaying..

 

So Psalm 46 declares..

“GOD is our Refuge and Strength, an ever Present help in our times of trouble..  therefore we will NOT fear….

Even though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Though everything around us crumbles down around me…

OR…

Those fantastic words that Moses declares in Deuteronomy 32 v 3-4

“I will proclaim the name of the Lord.

    Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

He is the Rock, his works are perfect,

    and all his ways are just.

A faithful God who does no wrong,

    upright and just is he”

 

 

O folks… Like Habakkuk… there is so much going on in our world and in our generation.. that we do NOT understand or comprehend.

 

At times like Habakkuk we struggle and wrestle and  battle to line up what we see happening in front of us..

with what we believe inside us…

In times like these we NEED to come right back to the basic things..

 

The core truths that we

DO KNOW..

DO understand…

DO believe about WHO GOD is…

and HOW precious we are to Him as His sons and daughters through faith in JESUS..

 

            THIS is our GOD..

The LORD… who loves us relentlessly

The Everlasting ONE… Way way beyond us.. far, far above us..

MY GOD… The One we know and love through personal, saving faith in JESUS our LORD

THE ROCK…. THE Rock Solid fixture in our lives WHO does NOT change and WHO will NOT fail us….

EVEN in the worst tempests and storms that threaten to shatter and destroy our hearts , our lives and our world..

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things?

                 (This is what we say)

 If God is for us, who can be against us?

(If this GOD.. our GOD .. Habakkuk’s God)

He who did not spare his own Son,

but gave him up for us all—

how will He not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

(everything we need … to face everything we are facing right NOW)

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (or coronavirus)

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

 

What a powerful, powerful picture of WHO GOD is…

Q. Does it Not reduce you to awe and wonder and worship…

Let’s take a moment of quiet in HIS Presence to worship..

Watch services at our Youtube channel

read

Latest Services

Sunday Service 24th May 2020

Sunday Service 24th May 2020

  Let’s pick up our Bibles if you have them there with you. We’re jumping back into the Book of Habakkuk in the Old Testament… It’s a very small book and it’s really hard to find..       How to trust God through some of the darkest and most difficult days of your...

Sunday Service 17th May 2020

Sunday Service 17th May 2020

Shore Street May 2020 (Coronavirus lockdown) Good morning Shore Street. It’s lovely to have this opportunity to be part of this service and to share with you something from God’s word. Before I do that, let me just say thank you to Alvin and to all of you in SST for...

Sunday 3rd May 2020

Sunday 3rd May 2020

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...