Habakkuk: Salvation

“Salvation”

Habakkuk 3:16-19

Alec Wallis

30 October 2016


Question: What does it mean to be saved?

  • Hope and despair

For Judah it was because of their sin

God stopped protect them as He had protected them in the past.

God also then was the one to rise up the Babylonians against Judah because of justice

Therefore the law is paralysed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.

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 am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth

Habakkuk 1:4-6

Habakkuk is showing signs of stress for the judgement that will come

 I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.

Habakkuk 3:16

He knows that while he is living in difficult times with the amount of sin of Judah, worse days await

There is a sense of doom coming in the form of the great Babylonian army, the superpower of the day

…..

Today we also live in difficult times

Habakkuk voiced his despair over the sin of Judah

It is easy to fall into despair over the state of the church

There is an unprecedented number of ways the church is under attack

There is persecution against Christians

Isis is a group known for its persecution of Christians

While the church in the west may experience indifference and hatred, we are not experiencing death and destruction like our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world.

Daily, 273 die for their Christian faith, which translates into 11 each hour. Those numbers don’t even include those who are tortured, imprisoned, exiled, threatened, excluded, attacked and discriminated against on a widespread scale.

Bishop John McAreavey

In the tragedy earlier this week at Dreamworld where four people were killed, it was interesting hearing the comments from Queensland Police assistant commissioner Brian Codd.

He said a boy and girl aged 10 and 13 managed to escape the tragedy “maybe through the providence of God”

While there is despair over the loss of four people there was joy in the miracle of 2 children surviving

The police assistant commissioner was right in attributing God as being in control of the event even if suffering is a part of it.

There is a balance in life between hope and despair

This is what Habakkuk is going through

For him there is the despair of sin and of the prophesised invasion by Babylon

Yet there is also hope in God that he will rescue and save

In life we can fluctuate between hope and despair depending on what is going on in our lives

We like Habakkuk should take heart in knowing God is in control

We find peace in the joy of God our salvation

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail

and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold

and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD;

I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Habbakuk 3:17,18

  • Judgement and discipline

The major theme of this book is that God brings judgement

God will judge Judah and then the Babylonians

Habakkuk is assured that God’s justice will come to the Babylonians

Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.

Habakkuk 3:16

Some groups see disaster as judgement

Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash was punishment for sin, says extremist Westboro Baptist Church group

Christianity Today

 MH17 crash ‘punishment’ for Malaysia Airlines offering alcohol, flight attendants’ dress: Islamic Party

Sydney Morning Herald

Christians should not fear God punishing us for our sins because the punishment has already been paid for

For believers in Jesus, all our sin—past, present, and future—has already been punished on the cross. As Christians, we will never be punished for sin. That was done once for all. “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

J.I. Packer

There is a difference between judgement and discipline

The Bible is clear that the church will receive discipline

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.

Hebrews 12:7-10

My Mum disciplined me for almost electrocuting my brother. She made me touch an electric fence so I would know what happens if I play with electricity. If it was a punishment, it would have been cruel, as the punishment would not have matched the action of a child. The discipline was to keep me and my brother alive by teaching me how dangerous electricity is. I love her for being a mother who taught me hard lessons even though it hurt her in the process.

The book of Habakkuk is about judgement not discipline

The people of Judah were brought to justice because of their sin

We do not live in the days of Habakkuk

God does not punish us for our sins but we will live with the consequences

Praise be to God that we have Jesus who protects us from the judgement we deserve

Praise be to God that we can be disciplined so that we can grow and move from living sinful lives to becoming Christlike.

  • Destruction and salvation

Much of this chapter involves destruction

God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps.

He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed—but he marches on forever. I saw the tents of Cushan in distress, the dwellings of Midian in anguish.

Habakkuk 3:3-7

This is looking to the past of what God did to bring them to the promised land

This book finishes with a beautiful verse on God being our strength

Matthew Henry sums up this chapter with

The prophet, who began his prayer with fear and trembling, ends it with joy and triumph.

Matthew Henry

God brings destruction because of justice

God will always give a means of salvation

e.g. Noah

We as the church are to share a loving Jesus to a dying world

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:15,16

I don’t agree with the previous headlines that God judges sin even on the unrighteousness

I believe we are living in a period of grace until Jesus returns

Therefore the suffering and destruction in this world is not a result of God’s punishment but rather a result of how the church has become less influential and Christians more insular

With God supporting us, we should be increasing our efforts to help others as this verse says

The church is not punished but disciplined e.g. the church in Great Britain that was refined by the Viking invasions

We will have to give an account of what we did here on earth i.e. the parable of the talents

Not only are we to have hope and joy in salvation

We are to share this with others

God uses us to bring His salvation to others

Challenge: Show a loving Jesus to a dying world