- Sermon Notes
God is Enough
January 10, 2021 (PM)
Greeting and Prayer
My prayer tonight is that thru the words of Habakkuk that we would gain a new perspective on our seasons of struggle. That we would have a shift in our hearts towards our circumstances and that we would allow God to refine us in our circumstances. That we would see that God is more than enough!
A. Habakkuk Background Authorship and Context
– Written during the final decades of Israel’s southern kingdom
– Habakkuk stands out among the other prophetic works because he does not address or accuse Israel within his work.
– Instead, Habakkuk is speaking directly to God about his inner struggle and turmoil about the evil he sees in the world.
– His writing is truly a lament of injustice and evil in the world.
CONNECTION TO TODAY— Many of us have felt that way and probably have prayed that way in these recent days. Our hearts our broken over what has been happening in our nation today and as believers we want to know where God is in all of this. We want answers.
And that is why I think the book of Habakkuk is remarkable because God answers Habakkuk’s concerns. And in the way God answers and Habakkuk responds I believe we can be challenge for what we are facing today in our world.
B. Overview of Habakkuk
– Habakkuk cried out to God in the beginning of this book about the brokenness of his people. They were neglected the law, their leadership was corrupt, and there was so much injustice and violence.
– Habakkuk is frustrated at God and why he won’t act.
• Habakkuk 1:2-3— How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds.
– CONNECTION TO TODAY— Is God surprised by suffering that is going on in our world today? In midst of everything that goes on in our lives it is so easy to have this mindset. God why won’t you act. Why won’t you move on my behalf? God answers Habakkuk:
• Habakkuk 1:5—“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.
– I love God’s response because it points straight to the brokenness of Habakkuk’s heart and his blind perspective.
– Habakkuk thought he was giving counsel to God when in reality God was already on the move. God was not far off but close.
– CONNECTION— That is so often us when we are in a spot of trial. We want to explain to God what we think he doesn’t know and we want to tell him what we think he should do for us.
C. God does not answer to our will!
– In the context of Habakkuk God is going to go on to explain his will and “surprise surprise” Habakkuk isn’t going to like it!
– But that just what God is saying in verse 5 he knows that Habakkuk wouldn’t believe God’s plans even if he told him because circumstances had blinded Habakkuk.
– CHALLENGE TO OUR FAITH— I think many of us want the will of God to fit inside what works for us. Maybe we have even create a theology that makes God simply the bringer of blessings and the one who makes our dreams come true.
– “If we keep our eyes on our circumstances and try figure it out on our own and it will leave us in despair, frustration, anxiety, fear, and doubt.”
– “If we keep our hearts set on MY WILL and MY WAY we will always think God isn’t answering our prayers”
– “If we love the blessing more than the Blesser we will walk in anger and resentment to a God who has never and will never work under the constraints of MY WILL because HIS WAYS ARE HIGHER!
• Isaiah 55:8-9—“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
• Isaiah 40:13-14—Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way?Who was it that taught him knowledge, or showed him the path of understanding?
D. We need to trust the plans and purposes of God whatever they might be!
– God’s will is perfect. God’s plans are perfect. His thoughts are so much higher than ours. And as believers we need to trust that God is more than capable to handle the course of our life.
– For the nation of Israel it meant that God was going to use a foreign nation to bring about judgement on God’s people and send them into exile. It meant for Habakkuk that days of even greater trouble are on the way.
– CHALLENGE TO TODAY— What if things didn’t get better but got worse? I don’t say that to be cynical but I say that to challenge our perspective. Would we walk forward in faith or would we allow our faith to be shaken by the darkness.
– In countless points in scripture we are reminded that our faith is refined in these seasons of trouble.
• James 1:2-3—Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance
• 1 Peter 1:6-7— In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
• John 16:33—“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
– While these times are dark and they may get darker. We need to choose what to do with them.
– GANDALF QUOTE- “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time is given to us.”
– What will you do with the days God gave you? We need to see that God’s mercy abounds in every season and that will sustain us through any hardship. We can take joy In that!
E. God’ justice and mercy can sustain us
– In the remainder of this book God communicates clearly that even though Israel is experiencing judgement that God will not fail to also judge any nation that tolerates injustice and corruption.
– God promises to one day right all the wrongs and uphold the righteous by their faith.
– Habakkuk perspective shifts and he claims in chapter 3.
• Habakkuk 3:2— Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.
– We need to join in with this prayer today! God kept his promise in sending Christ and we have a world that desperately needs revival.
– We need to have the gospel of Jesus rule in our hearts and lives. We need to teach it to our children. We need to instill it in future generations. We need to proclaim it to the broken, hurting, and sick among us.
– These struggles are not time for us to hide away but move forward in courage. We need to reset our perspective on what is important.
– And all starts with our perspective shifting.
In the conclusion of this book we have an amazing passage that I believes help sum up this entire books message to us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.
F. What sustains you?
– In verse 17 Habakkuk is declaring something significant about his circumstance.
– This ancient nation was completely reliant upon agriculture to uphold their economy. Empty fields with no food and stalls left empty was not just a sign of poverty it is the death of an economy.
– CONNECTION— The United States is, by any measure, the wealthiest, most powerful and most influential country in the history of the world. And with this wealth I believe as Americans it naturally shapes our worldview and our theology.
– I believe if we are not careful many of us will believe to some level that the gospel and the American dream are a given.
– While some of us might scoff at the idea I believe it is so easy for us as Americans to be blinded by our culture of consumerism, materialism, and wealth that we will be deceived into thinking that blessings are a guarantee in our lives.
– Jesus did not want us to be wrapped up in this!
• Matthew 6:25-27—“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life
• Luke 12:15—“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
– I think all of us living in America to some small extent believe in our hearts the lie of the prosperity gospel. That we are entitled to a life of good things because of our faith.
– But how does Jesus call us to pray!
• Matthew 6:11—Give us today our daily bread.
– I think many of us would be disturb and resentful to God if he just gave us our daily bread.
ANDREW FROM UGANGA STORY—Countless Christians around the world look and see fields empty of fruit and the days ahead dark but their attitude is YET WILL REJOICE like Habakkuk in their Savior. Because God is Enough!
Missionary Story- In 1851, Allen Gardner had set out on a ship with fellow believers for a missionary journey only to end up shipwrecked on an island off the southern coast of South America. Every person including Allen died on that island. Allen was the last person to die and in the final page of the journal found next to his body he wrote quoting…
Psalm 34:10—The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Then he wrote “I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God.”
– For Allen, facing death, he knew that he lacked nothing! Just as Habakkuk facing down God’s judgement and the demise of his people knew that he lacked nothing! Because our joy and strength is in Him!
G. Our joy and strength come from Lord
– There is a popular phrase floating around the Christian circles that I think is one of the most kind heart yet so harmful “You are enough.”
– It has become a platitude which leads us to a lifestyle of self reliance and the truth of the gospel is “In myself I am not enough, In Him, however, I am more than enough.”
• 2 Corinthians 12:9—My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
– Habakkuk understood this and despite the chaos encircling His horizon he said “yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
– Our strength and our courage do not come from us!
• 2 Corinthians 4:7-9—But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
– There is freedom church when we realize that Jesus did not come to give us another religious system but to be our Savior.
– It is freeing to realize that we do not need to be enough because the Sovereign work of God is enough.
– Like Habakkuk all we must do is a be a watchmen on the wall awaiting God’s deliverance and placing our full confidence that we have seen him move in the past and we know he is not done yet.
– STORY OF HUNTER BELESS—
• 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
– So as we move into 2021 together as a church family, I pray your joy would abound regardless of what the days ahead may bring.
– Even when the bank account seems empty, the bills pile up
– Even when anxiety arises within and tomorrow seems like a dark cloud
– Even when relationships are strained and hope seems lost
– I pray the words of Habakkuk would ring in you mind. Yet I will rejoice!
Habakkuk 3:17-19 NASB
17 Even if the fig tree does not blossom,
And there is no [a]fruit on the vines,
If the yield of the olive fails,
And the fields produce no food,
Even if the flock disappears from the fold,
And there are no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will triumph in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord [b]God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like deer’s feet,
And has me walk on my high places.
For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.