24 February 2012

The Blessing of Waiting Upon God



Hab 2:1-4

There was a story I came across about a 3 year old boy named Todd, from Rhode Island .........”who went down to the seacoast to fly a kite. Never having flown a kite before, Todd had obvious doubts. His father assured him that all was well, and the kite would go up as planned. As Todd unravelled the string, and watched the kite go up, he was heard to say, "I knew it would fly, daddy. You said it would.” A simple statement, with profound implications. Something as simple as trusting your dad that the kite will fly. The same thing could be said about the Christian life........trusting that your Heavenly Father knows what He’s talking about in the written word. “.....Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:2-4. Throughout the New Testament we see God or His apostles refereeing to you and me as children. Why? For the same reason Jesus said we must come to Him as children who need His direction and guidance......."My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin....” 1 John 2:1. Paul said  “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,” Gal 4:19. To the church family in Corinth, he said  “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you.” 1 Cor 4:14

We are to have faith like a child! "I knew it would fly, daddy. You said it would.”  What does this faith look like? What does it mean to have faith? By definition faith is a complete trust or confidence in someone or something. The biblical definition is our complete trust and confidence in the Lord of the universe.  For example the object of Abraham's "faith" was not God's promises.....his "faith" rested on God Himself. John Calvin defined faith this way! “we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

The greatest definition is found in Hebrews chapter 11 “Now faith is the assurance [confidence] of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (v1) “of things hoped for”  What are some the things hoped for? Eternal fellowship with God.....The vindication of Christ....The display of His power.....The meeting that we shall have with Him.....The redemption of our bodies.....The judgement and removal of sin and wickedness...to name a few! “the conviction of things not seen.”  True faith is not based on observed evidence but on divine assurance...which is a gift from God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” Eph 2:8.  Faith is a gift from God given to the child of God to have confidence in things that are unseen.  I can’t see Heaven...but I know I’ll see Him one day, because of the promises that are written in His word. I've never seen Jesus literally die or resurrected! But, I know He died for my sin and rose again on the third day and that He is seated in all His glory at the right hand of the Father. See faith is not mere human hope. Faith is based on the Word of God alone. This is the faith that you and me possess! I have no faith in my ability apart from the saving grace and truth found in God’s word.  If I had faith in myself I am destined for failure and destruction.

Faith plays an important part in the life of the believer....The bible says “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Heb 11:6

God is the object of our faith.....Jesus said "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” John 14:1

It’s essential for the Gospel.....“For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” Heb 4:2

Faith produces obedience.....“but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith” Rom 16:26

Faith is necessary for spiritual warfare.....“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Tim 6:12

Faith works love towards others.....“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Tim 1:5

 Faith is the ultimate ingredient to become and be a Christian! J C Ryle said these words.. “A true believer’s religion does not consist in mere intellectual assent to a certain set of propositions and doctrines. It is not a mere cold belief of a certain set of truths and facts concerning Christ. It consists in union, communion, and fellowship with an actual living Person, Jesus the Son of God”. Faith is vital to God's redemption process as we see here in this portion of Habakkuk’s letter. On aside note... this simple statement carried all the way through some 600 years later into the New Testament!

·         1st Rom 1:17 “the just shall live by faith”
·         2nd Gal 3:11 “the just shall live by faith”
·         3rd Heb 10:38 “the just shall live by faith”

So let’s look at a man called out by God..... and watch how he deals with the two questions he asked the Lord previously by faith. Let’s learn and apply these same principles [biblical truths] in our lives this morning and tomorrow and the next day and so on....

FIRST PRINCIPLE WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS PASSAGE IS THAT FAITH PRODUCES A DISCIPLE TO BE WATCHFUL OF HIS OR HERS SURROUNDINGS. (v1)

Faith produces a readiness and alertness... Look at (v1) Habakkuk says “I will stand my watch”. This gives the idea of duty or act of watching from a high place......from a watch tower overlooking the grounds. In ancient times the watchman was responsible to warn the city of approaching danger. And if they weren't faithful with this responsibility their hands would be stained with the blood of the people who died. Eze 3:17-21 says this...."Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul." Eze 33:1-6 it says..... The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand."


This was a serious responsibility! This image of the watchman carries a spiritual lesson and principle for you and me. As God's people, we know the danger that approaches....we may not know when it's going to comes.... But we know it’s going to be frightening and devastating for so many people. It’s our responsibility to warn people of this pending danger without hesitation. John the Baptist said these words....“But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Matt 3:7. If we don’t share the Gospel truth with lost sinners their blood may be on our hands. Seriously think about...we’re not responsible to save people [God does the saving] but it is our responsibility to share Jesus Christ with the lost because we are the watchmen of our generation. See my [our] passion for the proclamation of the gospel and the burden for lost souls should give us a clear conscience as Paul when he said......“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” Acts 20:26-27. As the late great Spurgeon said.... “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”  Habakkuk was a man whose faith keeps him alert and ready watching from his tower.  Does your faith keep you ready at all times?

THE SECOND PRINCIPLE WE CAN LEARN FROM THIS PASSAGE IS THAT FAITH PRODUCES FAITHFULNESS IN THE LIVING GOD OF THE BIBLE (V2-V4)

·     Look what the LORD tells him to do when He answers his second “Why” question. He tells Habakkuk “make it plain on tablets” In today’s terms....get a pen and write this down! Why? So that future generations will be able to see the promises fulfilled by a holy God. Habakkuk was to make the message plain and publicized. John Hoag my Hebrews professor said “The word of God can be publicized because it is a revelation that comes from Inspiration and is intended for illumination of the heart and mind." See! The word is for our benefit of understanding...so that it keeps our faith grounded in His love....through patience. (v3) “.....the vision is yet for an appointed time.” We see people getting away with things like each and every day and it makes us sick to our stomach. LIKE! Theft and tax evasion, murders and rapist walking away scot- free, wicked people beating and killing Christians around the globe, getting away as if they are untouchable, a nation like Babylon, who are so sick and twisted seeking whom they may devour in their dragnets.....(v15-v17). We sometimes seat back and wonder how or why the unrighteous......God hating people get away with everything all the time?  But that’s not true! We think that’s what happens all the time...but the truth is found in the word of God....the plumb line to our faithSee, when I read the word of God.......I see that God isn't slack or lazy in this area of life. God will bring all things to the front line one day! God will do exactly as He promised...but it’s according to His time table, not ours. In the New Testament it says......“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Heb 4:13. Jesus said these scary and humbling words..... “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28. Paul told the church that we are to do the exact opposite of evil among evil people! “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. Therefore "IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM; IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP COALS OF FIRE ON HIS HEAD." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21. We're to look past the evil and wickedness because Paul wrote this down for our instruction of righteousness which is only possible through Jesus Christ. See! We can look past what is going on in North America and around the world!  Because...... He has given a faith that endures with patience. That’s why the LORD says in (v3) “though it tarries...” We must be patient when it comes to God’s promises. We must at often times wait for the word to be fulfilled. Abraham waited 24 years for Isaac......Gen 12:1-3; 17:1, Daniel waited 70 years......Daniel 9:2, Simeon was a very old man before he looked into the eyes of his Saviour......Luke 2:25-32., My own wife waited 7 years into marriage that the Lord would save me.....Maybe your still waiting upon God for something?.......and God is calling out to you this morning....."Be patient!"

How? Through faith in your personal relationship with God the Father, by the finishing work of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Our faith is a gift and a responsibility when it comes to our day to day living. Our hope lies with Him and the promises that still have not been fulfilled yet according to the Scriptures.....which is His return. As many have said in the past [Habakkuk] and today [the church].  Faith is what keeps us motivated and moving closer to Him every day, every hour, and every minute and every second! See! The beauty of this promise is that He has given us an eternal faith that will never fail even when we have moments of doubt. Remember what Paul said “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Tim 2:13

I want to close with a song [don't worry I'm not going to sing] It's a song that really spoke to my heart when we found out that we lost our baby a few months back! It’s called “Out of the Depths” from Sovereign Grace Ministries @ www.sovereigngracemusic.org

Out of the depths, O Lord, I cry to You
When I am tempted to despair
Though I might fail to trust Your promises
You never fail to hear my prayer
And if You judged my sin
I’d never stand again
But I see mercy in Your hands
So more than watchmen for the morning
I will wait for You, my God
When my fears come with no warning
In Your Word I’ll put my trust
When the harvest time is over and I still see no fruit
I will wait, I will wait for You
The secret mysteries belong to You
We only know what You reveal
And all my questions that are unresolved
Don’t change the wisdom of Your will
In every trial and loss
My hope is in the cross
Where Your compassions never fail
So more than watchmen for the morning
I will wait for You, my God
When my fears come with no warning
In Your Word I’ll put my trust
When the harvest time is over and I still see no fruit
I will wait, I will wait for You
© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)

“I’ll wait for You” ............LORD! I may not understand why! But I will put my trust in your sovereign arms and wait on You. The God who is sovereigny in control of the situation. Whether it’s around the globe our in our homes.....He is in control! He told Habakkuk to write it down. He’s telling you me to....... read it...believe it....apply it and walk by faith to it. So let me ask you the Sunday question!  How is your faith holding up today? Is it filled with unbelief and fear as so many people around us today? Or  Is it filled with an inexpressible joy that is firmly planted in Him as you wait by faith?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice..god bless

from,India

Mike Andrews said...

Thank you for the kind words! God bless my friend from India.....To God be the glory through Jesus Christ our Lord. SDG