DURING JESUS’ TRIUMPHAL ENTRY, HIS DISCIPLES WERE PRAISING HIM.
THE PHARISEES TOLD JESUS TO REBUKE THEM.
HE SAID, “IF THEY REMAIN SILENT,
THE STONES WILL CRY OUT.”
NOTHING CAN STOP
THE WORSHIP OF GOD.
IN THE SAME WAY, NOTHING CAN STOP
THE JUSTICE OF GOD.
WHEN THE CHALDEANS THOUGHT NO ONE SEES,
“THE STONE WILL CRY OUT FROM THE WALL
AND THE BEAM FROM THE WOODWORK RESPOND.”
WHEN THE ABUSED CHILD THINKS, NO ONE SEES.
WHEN THE PERSECUTED BELIEVER FEELS FORGOTTEN.
HE IS NOT.
JESUS IS RETURNING, AND JUSTICE WILL ROLL DOWN.
ALL OF NATURE IS A TESTIMONY TO THE HOLINESS OF GOD. PREPARE YOUR HEART THIS WEEK WITH THIS, FROM AUDREY ASSAD:
JESUS IS RETURNING, REVELATION TELLS US,
TO WAGE WAR WITH THE ENEMIES OF HIS BRIDE.
(SEE REVELATION 19:11-16)
THE STORY IS NOT OVER UNTIL HE RETURNS.
This week, and part of next, we will examine the sin of the Chaldeans, but it is always good to turn the mirror around to ourselves, for the root causes that led to their sins are the same root causes that leads to ours.
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. What comfort does it give you personally that God is a just God and will repay?
Twila is learning some sign language for when she presents her memorization of Habakkuk, and she showed me that the sign for woe (See Habakkuk 2:15) was like shooting an arrow from a bow. It made me remember Spurgeon’s teaching on the rainbow given as a promise — that the actual word is bow, like an archer’s bow, but the bow is pointed upward with the arrow toward God. If we are in Him, the “woe” we deserve fell on Him.
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
Last week, regarding the vision, Habakkuk was instructed:
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end — it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not delay.
Behold, his soul is puffed up, it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.
Kay Arthur says that Hab. 2:4 is the most important verse in the book. The following commentary agrees, showing how often it is repeated in the New Testament.
Sometimes the question comes up, “How were people saved in the Old Testament?” Here we see — the same — by faith. In trusting in God they also trusted in Christ, their promised Redeemer to come.
In looking at the parable of the servants waiting for their master in Luke 12, here is an excerpt from the above commentary showing the parallel with Habbakuk 2.
Habbakuk 2:3 “It will surely come, it will not delay”
In the parable Jesus tells, though the Master promised to return, some servants say “My master is delayed in coming.”
Note the juxtaposition of a servant who is “faithful” and one who is “faithless” and the juxtaposition of people who “live by faith” and people whose “spirit is not right in them” In Habakkuk 2:4 and the statement in Habakkuk 2:5 that wine is treacherous and the description of the faithless servant in Luke 12:45 who drinks and gets drunk …
I believe that persecution reveals our hearts, whether they be like the heart of the faithful servant (or servant who walks by faith) or the heart of the faithless servant (who is puffed up and thus does not trust God). The testimonies I am hearing concerning persecution from the Middle East surely cause me to ponder — could I remain faithful if my children or grandchildren’s lives were threatened? A World War II testimony that moved me greatly was that of Sophie Scholl, a young woman who passed out leaflets against Hitler and was martyred. If she would have denied Christ at the end, she was told her life could have been spared. There is a scene where she says good-bye to her parents that tears your heart — yet she and her parents walked by faith and not by sight.
This film is available on Netflix or on You-Tube:
I keep using illustrations from World War II because I think it is the closest thing we know in history to what is happening now in the middle east and which, indeed, may come closer to home. We must be ready to walk by faith and not despair by thinking God will not keep His promises.
3. Review Habakkuk 2:1-4 and Luke 12:35-48.
A. What parallels do you see?
B. Reflect on Habakkuk 2:1-4. What jumps out to you now?
C. Respond (Pray it into your heart)
Last week Laura-Dancer felt convicted by her inaction concerning the persecution Christians — but didn’t know, other than prayer, what she could do. She voiced (as she often does) what many of us feel. I loved what Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said recently, Prayer is doing something. One way to stay informed for prayer is by getting e-mails from Voice of the Martyrs or checking out resources at this website: persecution.com
D. Rest in the presence of God.
4. This week get an overview of Habakkuk 2:5-29. Read it slowly once. At first reading, what stands out to you?
5. Now identify verses that stand out to you concerning:
A. The visible behavior of the Chaldeans
B. The invisible root sins of the Chaldeans
C. The verses that connote the impending judgment of God on the Chaldeans
6. Compare Habakkuk 2:11 to Luke 19:39-40. What similarity and what difference do you see?
D. A. Carson mentions that rabbis of old often used Habakkuk 2:11 in connection with Psalm 73.
This psalm talks about the psalmist envying the prosperous and the arrogant until he saw their final destruction. I think this is an apt psalm for Habbakuk 2. If you have time, read Psalm 73 and comment.
7. Extra blessing! 🙂 Read and comment on Psalm 73 in light of Habbakuk 2.
8. Share your notes and comments. (If you’ve run out of time, you’ll have another chance next week to listen and share, though it is worth listening to twice!)
9. What’s your take-a-way and why?
The first half of my notes on Keller’s sermon, Culture of Pride. Hope I get the second half done yet tonight.
We are looking at the little book of Habakkuk because it shows us how to go through evil times – whether personal or society wide. If you understand what the book of Habakkuk says, you will be ready for anything.
God was saying to Habakkuk that there will be the evil Babylonian empire that is rising up and will be wreaking havoc everywhere. And God shows the rottenness at the heart of the culture. As God deconstructs what is wrong with the Babylonian culture, He gives us two very important principles for facing evil times wherever we are,: (1) In evil times you have to understand with the head the source of the evil, and (2) you need a consolation with the heart to face the evil.
During the present great recession, Keller has been reading the N.Y. Times and the Wall Street Journal editorial pages every day – and they do not, in any way, say the same thing. Both trying to find people to blame. One blames the greedy business capitalists, and the other blames “stupid, idiotic government intervention” (bad government policy). They try to find different people to blame to say “This is the source of the evil times.” The Bible doesn’t let you do that – it is not nearly as simplistic as either the N.Y. Times or the Wall Street Journal editorial pages.
We are probably not guilty of many of the sins of Babylonians (ruthless, greedy, blood shed, violence against the poor and weak. However, the top and bottom sins listed in verses 5 and 16: pride, arrogance. We are told they are empty and need to clothe themselves with glory. Keller quoted examples of Madonna and tennis player, Chris Evert. Madonna said she was out there trying to achieve higher and higher levels of fame, because for a brief period of time, it made her feel special. Chris Evert said “winning makes me feel pretty.” We try very hard to cover ourselves with honor. We want to feel beautiful, feel loved, feel significant. That’s why we are working so hard, and that’s the source of the evil.
Lewis Smedes, a great Christian writer, talks about pride. He says this: “Pride in the spiritual sense is refusal to let God be God. It is to grab God’s status for oneself. It is turning down God’s invitation to join the dance of life as a creature in His world, and wishing instead to be the creator, independent, reliant on one’s own resources.” Keller says that is the fantasy of all fantasies, and that fantasy leaves us empty and restless at the center. We are attacked by the demons of fear and anxiety. We learn to swagger and to bluff, and we look everywhere for people to use to bolster our shaky ego that this pride has created. Everytime you meet a new person, in your heart of hearts you say, unconsciously perhaps, “How can this person contribute to my need to prove that I am better than others?” All of this because we are empty at the center. Then you are out there using people – you are not serving people. You form relationships on the basis of whether these people make you feel good about yourself or bad about yourself.
At one end of the list of sins is pride. At the other end,, in verses 18 and 19 is idolatry. Any life or any culture that is not based on the glory and the grace of God will be based on an idol. It will take something good and raise it to an ultimate. It will take something relative and make it an absolute. That creates the seeds of destruction in every culture. In traditional conservative cultures, family can be an absolute. Family means everything! Because family is an idol that leads to honor killing, using women as chattel, leads to killing gay people just because they are gay. But if you come to our culture which is highly individualistic, what really matters is individual freedoms and rights. In that kind of society, you have sex outside of marriage, you have family deterioration, you have abortion.
In verses 15, 16, and 17, verse 17 talks about environmental sin – harming Lebanon which is the forest, killing animals. But in verse 15 it says “Woe to the one who gets people drunk, so you can gaze on their nakedness (which is an euphemism for having sex with them). Liberals say harming the environment is a sin; conservatives say sex out of marriage is a sin. But only the Bible says it is all a sin.
Every time evil times show up, everybody wants to find a scapegoat. Alexander Solzhenitsyn writer of the book, The Gulag Archipelago, was interred and oppressed by the communists. When you think he is going to talk about how horrible the communists are, he says instead “Let the reader who expects this book to be a political expose slam its covers closed right now. Oh, if it were only so simple. If only there were evil people out there somewhere insidiously committing their evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them, then our problem would be solved. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human body. Confronted by the pit into which we are about to toss those who have done us harm, we halt stricken dumb. It is after all only because of the way things worked out that they were the executioners and you weren’t.” That is a profoundly Christian understanding of things. If you are a Christian, then you understand the Christian world view. You have all the seeds in your own heart to be what those people were. It is only by the grace of God that you are not the executioners. How crucial it is when you are in evil times not to find the perpetrator and say “they are the horrible people, off with their heads!” That is the Babylonian way.
Amazingly good notes, Deanna.
Thanks, Dee! Sorry I was so late!
Thank you for these notes, especially thankful for the spelling of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s name And the book title. That totally sounded like a name Dr. Seuss would have made up. ? I wanted to look up more about him.
In Germany in the 1920s, everything was going wrong in German culture. If they had said, “Ah, the line between good and evil goes down the middle of every human heart, no matter what culture there are seeds of destruction. No matter what human being, there is pride in them.” But, NO! They heard the Nazis say “the Jews are doing it. The capitalists are doing it. There’s the problem.” They put the Nazis into power and the rest is history. Do you know how dangerous it is not to have a Christian viewpoint when it comes to politics? In politics, you will say “the line between good and evil goes down the middle of every human heart – and by the way, every political party.
Secondly, you need comfort if you are going to face evil times. Comfort for your heart. There are two wonderful verses in the midst of all the darkness. There is judgment, death, wrath, and blood shed, and all of a sudden there are verses 14 and 20. There are these flashes of light in the midst of the darkness. You are reading along, and it says “The Lord is in His holy temple.” All of a sudden it says “The knowledge of the glory of God will cover the world as the wataers cover the sea.” If you understand the hope in these two verses, even in your darkness, you can face anything. The ultimate hope you’ve got in all bad times is verse 20 – it is the sovereignty of God. “The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silent before Him.”
Jacob was supposed to bear the Messianic seed. He was supposed to be the one through whom Jesus Christ came, but boy, did he screw up his life! He lied to his father, Isaac. He tried to dress up like Esau so he could get the birthright. When Esau found out about it, he wanted to kill him. Jacob had to run away. He never saw his mother or father again. He lost his inheritance. What a mess! He was away for years and years. Yet, if he hadn’t run away, he would never have met the woman he married, through whom the Messiah came – Jesus Christ! Would you say Jacob’s life was on plan B? No, I don’t feel Jesus Christ is plan B. Oh, well, then it is alright that he lied and screwed up and he did all that? Of course not! He never should have done it. On the one hand, you can really screw up your life, your decisions count and you are responsible for them. Yet God says “I have got a plan, and I am going to over-rule all evil, all bad choices. I am going to have my purposes for you and for the world fulfilled.
This is what some theologians call an antinome. A paradox is a contradiction, but an antinome is an apparent contradiction. A classic antinome is light sometimes acts as a wave and sometimes as a particle. How can light be both particle and wave? We don’t know – it is an apparent contradiction. It is just so. Now God says “I am completely in control of everything that happens is only according t my will, and yet every single person who is doing my will is responsible for what they do. They are not puppets. You are absolutely free and responsible for your choices – at the same time there are terrible things going to happen, and I am over-ruling it all. I am in charge.” That is the first gleam of light in your darkness. He never leaves his throne.
But the second gleam and more ultimate hope is verse 14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” The reason we are empty inside, the reason we use people to bolster our self-image, the reason we are trying to win tennis matches, or be excellent, or make money is because we are hungry for glory. The only glory that can satisfy your heart is the beauty of God, the honor of God, the applause of God, the love of God. As Madonna said “briefly you feel special” (from applause on stage), but it is brief. What you are really looking for is the glory of God, the honor of God, the love of God. Someday you will bathe in it. You will wear it and breathe it.
Look at verse 16. “You will be filled with shame instead of glory.” He is talking to the Babylonians. Verse 16 cannot be read by a Christian without thinking of someone else. Philippians 2 says Jesus Christ emptied Himself of his glory, and then he went to the cross. Hebrews chapter 12 says “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, made light of its shame.” Jesus Christ drank the cup of God’s wrath. The Babylonians, you, and I tried desperately to cover ourselves with glory.
Jesus emptied himself of his glory, used his life serving others, not using others. At the end of His life, He took our shame. So when you believe in Jesus Christ, the Father clothes you in the honor Jesus deserved. We seek our own honor and therefore deserve shame, but Jesus Christ took our shame so we could have his honor.
When evil times come, people get cynical, angry, and they blame others – and they lose hope. But Christians are the opposite. We should be humble and admit our part in what’s wrong, and we should have all the hope in the world, because the gospel humbles us out of our pride, but in such a way that we have more confidence than we had before.
Deanna–you really are such a GIFT to us! Thank you for using the talent He’s given you to transcribe better than anyone I have ever known!, to bless us. Wow–thank you!
Oh, Lizzy, thank you for your kind words! I wish I could have posted earlier, but it just wasn’t possible.
I am so late posting here but just want to comment about the comfort of God being a just God and he will repay. I do not want to sound innocent here that I have never wished for God to repay someone especially someone who had hurt me personally. Yet then I pray for the people who have hurt me and the Lord does an amazing miracle in my heart. I have found in light of the forgiveness that I have received for my sins and ( especially the sin of my abortion) I am drawn to mercy for those committing terrible things knowing the same God who saved me could save them so I never lose that hope and prayer for them. It all is in the hands of God and He is a merciful and righteous God for that I am comforted. I was reading in 2 Samuel this week when one of Saull’s relatives was cursing David and one of his men wanted to go and cut off the man’s head and David told him “Leave him alone and let him curse for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today” 2 Samuel 16:11-12 I just was so taken by David in this verse. Maybe off track here but had to share. Lord help me to continue to pray for those who wrong me and to trust You with their lives in the way You see fit. I pray all can come to the life saving knowledge of who You are and Your saving grace. Thank you for dying for my sins and forgiving me. Help me toshare with others what you have done for me.