Steady faith

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Marty Sampson wrote songs of worship with the Hillsong Worship ministry that were sung around the world. Earlier this week, he announced that he was leaving Christianity behind. He explained that he was not angry at anyone, nor was there any scandal. He said that he did not believe anymore, that he had found, in science and technology, better answers for life, and that he did not see any evidence of God at work. How tragically misguided he is. Life has disappointments for all of us. The ways of the Lord are not easy for us to understand, but I think he has allowed himself to be deceived, his sight set too low.

What a contrast can be found in the ancient words of Habakkuk (strange name, isn’t it?) Do you know about him?  Eugene Peterson introduces him to us. “Living by faith is a bewildering venture. We rarely know what’s coming next, and not many things turn out the way we anticipate. It is natural to assume that since I am God’s chosen and beloved, I will get favorable treatment from the God who favors me so extravagantly. It is not unreasonable to expect that from the time that I become his follower, I will be exempt from dead ends, muddy detours, and cruel treatment from the travelers I meet daily who are walking the other direction. That God-followers don’t get preferential treatment in life always comes as a surprise. But it’s also a surprise to find that there are a few men and women within the Bible who show up alongside us at such moments.”  Habakkuk is one of those people.

He saw a terrible calamity that was about to befall God’s people.  The Babylonians were growing strong and, at the very same time, his nation was abandoning God, Who was their only strength and defense against that enemy.   With terrible sorrow, he knew the end would be awful suffering, death, and destruction.  “Why are you allowing this to happen, Lord?” is his cry.  The Spirit made these ancient laments a comfort to me.  “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? . . .the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:4, NIV)  Could we not cry for the world we live in, too?  Our land is full of violence. Our churches are largely empty. So many hearts of Christians are filled with things other than devotion. What is the answer?

Habakkuk did not get the answer to prayer he desired.  He wanted a spiritual revival and the salvation of his people Instead the Lord told him “I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. …they all come bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind and gather prisoners like sand.” (Habakkuk 1:9, NIV)

Knowing this meant terrible suffering and destruction, the preacher prays a remarkable prayer, full of sorrow and questions – ” God, you’re from eternity, aren’t you? Holy God, we aren’t going to die, are we? God, you chose Babylonians for your judgment work? Rock-Solid God, you gave them the job of discipline? But you can’t be serious! You can’t condone evil! So why don’t you do something about this? Why are you silent now?” (Habakkuk 1:12-13, The Message)

Sometimes we don’t get the ‘happily ever after’ answer from Heaven we want!
Sometimes when we pray for spiritual renewal, people’s hearts only grow more cold to the things of the Lord, the onslaught evil increases like a tidal surge!

What then?

There is a choice.  We can curse God, doubt that He cares, or even conclude He does not exist.  OR, we can be faithful.  In that moment, Habakkuk received a revelation that endures for us 3000 years later as we read his little book.  He declared the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2:4, NIV)   Wait for the purposes of the Lord.  God said, “At the time I have decided, my words will come true. You can trust what I say about the future. It may take a long time, but keep on waiting— it will happen! “ (Habakkuk 2:3, CEV)
Don’t you hate the wait?  I do!  But, I will wait!  I’ll declare my faith, raising my eyes higher than the problems of this day, than the disappointments of this moment.

The word from the Word will inspire you to wait on the Lord; steadily,faithfully, until His purpose is fulfilled.  “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us.  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, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:16-19, NIV)

___________

So Will I (100 Billion X)

God of creation
There at the start before the beginning of time
With no point of ref’rence
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in ev’rything You’ve made
Ev’ry burning star a signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I

God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain no syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in ev’rything You say
Ev’ry painted sky a canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I

So will I ooh ooh

If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in rev’rence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if ev’rything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created the light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die

And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in ev’rything You’ve done
Ev’ry part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart eight billion diff’rent ways
Ev’ry precious one a child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I

Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind

Benjamin Hastings | Joel Houston | Michael Fatkin © 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing Australia (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055

Published by Jerry Scott

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Dad to Jay, Sean, Christine, and Maribel. I am a Pastor at Faith Discovery Church. Jerry D. Scott

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