09 The Presence, Praise, Power and Purpose of God

Habakkuk 3 v 3 – 8

He was perplexed that the LORD used the Chaldeans against his people.
God’s people should suspend judgement of His work until all evidence is in.
God said to Habakkuk that they must not judge Him on the basis of what they see in the here and now. God is not done with us (your life, marriage, family, this economy, this nation), and He is among us. His promises will finally be fulfilled and His glory will eventually cover the earth.
The wicked will eventually be judged.

The responsibility of the child of God is to live in faith – the just will live by faith.
We are not to vex ourselves with things that are too great for us, but concern ourselves with those things that God has made clear. The eye of faith enables us to see that God is even now on His throne, and evil can never thwart, surprise or defeat Him.

The prophecy ends in this third chapter where we began last week – with a great prayer of faith. He still didn’t understand all of God’s ways, but he learnt a lesson that we all must learn if we are to have peace and tranquillity in this troubled world in which we live, and that is to draw our joy from God, and what He has done for us in salvation, rather than trying to draw it from our circumstances.

We see a beautiful anticipation of Christ in chapter 3 verse 13: “You went forth for the salvation of Your people.” Today’s passage today ends with something that echoes this when He said: “When You rode on Your chariot of salvation.”

This chapter’s structure:
a.  Prologue (v1-2) in which Habakkuk asked the Lord to revive His work – which made him afraid – but to in His wrath remember mercy.
b. Three stanzas:
     (i)   Verses 3-8 – In history, God has always come forth – never far-off, coming forth in the earth (rivers, sea, mountains and hills).
     (ii)  Verses 9-13a – God is firing His arrows – coming forth in the cosmos.
     (iii) Verses 13b-v16 – God crushed the leader of wickedness – coming forth in hell to destroy the leader of wickedness.
c.  Epilogue (v17-19) where we see Habakkuk’s fear, faith, joy and peace.

Today I want to look at the first stanza.
Habakkuk related to Redemptive History (the History of Salvation).
He reminds us what God has done through the ages. It is very important that we understand that, because God is still among us and the Church is under siege today, and so is Western Christian civilization.  More brothers must see it and speak out. Our languages, heritage, history, monuments are being torn down in front of us and we’re doing nothing about it.  It has to stop. That’s what we need to tell the enemies who are doing it – that there is a God among us!

Have we (the West) been faithful to our God? Have we acknowledged and held Him up as our God?  There was a time that we erected our buildings according to what redemption history tells us – the frescos on our walls, architecture of our buildings, the set-up of our societies and our families according to the word of God.  Where have those monuments gone?  The enemy didn’t tear them down – we tore them down ourselves!

But there is a history to salvation, and the same God is among us.  We must wait until all the evidence is in. The Lord Jesus said that He will never leave us or forsake us (His people). He meant what He said.

Four things to consider in this chapter:

  1. His Glorious Presence (v3a)
    God condescended, coming down to act personally in the lives of His people.
    First time – Adam, where are you?
    He spoke to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to David and the Prophets.
    May God come down again and speak to His people!
    We have His presence, we need to acknowledge it.
    When God gets involved, then good things are happening – even if it doesn’t feel good for us (because we love our sin).
  2. His Glorious Praise (v3b-4)
    When God comes down, you cannot but help to notice Him.
    Can we speak more about His glory than about the Covid-19 virus?
    We respond to the fact that the virus covers the earth, but how do we respond to the splendour of our God covering the heavens? Rays flashed from His hand! Yes Covid gives you a cough, but rays flash from the hand of our God!
    Habakkuk says that He veiled His power, because if He would have revealed more than that we would have been consumed.
    God is awesome in His glory. Three things about it:
    a. Covering the heavens.
    b. The earth full of His praise
    c. Brightness as the light, which He had to veil.
  3. His Great Power (v4-7)
    Habakkuk is here relating events that happened in the history of Israel.
    Before Him went pestilence and plague followed on His heels.
    We need to consider that if pestilence and plague was part of God’s plan in redemption history in the past, then perhaps this is precisely why God is bringing it over the western world – which He built with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
    We enjoyed western civilization, but didn’t defend it – failing to go into the world to make the people Christ’s disciples.
    Rise up brothers, lead your families!)
    He measured the earth, saying “what do I do with the space I created”.
    He lifted the mountains and dropped it.  He did not let obstacles stand in His way when leading Israel.
    God did it again among His new covenant people.
  4. His Glorious Purpose (v7b-8)
    His everlasting ways were His expression of wrath against the enemies of Judah.
    He did it because He loved His people, riding on the chariot of His salvation!
    He rides it for your soul, your marriage, family, His Church, the Nations, His elect.  I believe that chariot of His salvation is the Son of God Himself – the Lord Jesus Christ – His Anointed!

Once again Habakkuk presents to us the Christian world and life view.
A. We are creatures – not gods.
B. We are fallen – cannot save ourselves.
C. We have a Redeemer.
The three pillars… Creation, Fall Redemption.

Insurmountable challenges and obstacles and seemingly insurmountable enemies face us.
Some of you are losing your jobs, getting sick.  We’re facing enemies that threaten us every day.
They say we live in climate change and morality decay and power grabs.  It may look overwhelming and we may say to ourselves we’re not perfect, but God why are You using these wicked people to afflict us like this?
We have Habakkuk’s answer: Wait until all the evidence is in until you make your judgement – not now! It’s a privilege to live in extraordinary times, which can either crush you or make you an extraordinary man or woman.

There are not only obstacles on this planet and in the cosmos that God has to overcome as He rides His chariot of salvation to redeem us. The greatest obstacles are within – inside us, lurking in the motives, desires and our attitude. But also against them, for His glory and grace and for your good, God rides the chariot of His salvation. God is present, God needs to be praised, God is powerful and God has a purpose.