26 March 2012

Standing In Awe Of God



Hab 3:3-15

"One hot July afternoon in 1967, Joni Eareckson Tada dove into a shallow lake and her life would change forever. She suffered a spinal cord fracture that would leave her paralyzed from the neck down, without use of her hands and legs. Lying in her hospital bed, Joni tried desperately to make sense of the horrible turn of events. The story is told that she begged friends to assist her in suicide." Struggling with the question if paralysis was God’s plan she said, "I believe that God’s purpose in my accident was to turn a stubborn kid into a woman who would reflect patience, endurance and a lively, optimistic hope of the heavenly glories above." The bible is all about God’s glory and plan that He has for creation as we focus on eternal things! Sadly though, we as Christians live or focus on earthy things over eternal things!

Picture I'm holding a rope that is wrapped around the earth millions of times which represent your life and eternity. Now, picture I'm holding the starting point [which represents your earthy life]of the rope that is wrapped around the earth millions of times ......we have the tendency to live and focus all our time on this portion which is about two inches of a rope that is infinitely long; which has no end. The bible declares plainly that we’re to live for eternal things not things of this earth and that’s what makes a Christian unique especially in a world that lives for earthy things. Paul said “For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:15-18. 

When we see life this way it begins to change the perspective of our present circumstances. We start looking at this life through the glory of God as He molds us into the image of Christ until the day we will be just like Him....a perfect creation! This is why we can find comfort in a troubled world. This is why Joni could find peace and understanding in a wheelchair. This is why Habakkuk can find rest in the LORD as God deals with nations. This is why you and I can find comfort and peace today. See! It’s not about us....it’s all about Him and we’re able to see God’s glory even in the darkest hours of our lives......which ultimately brings rest and genuine faith to the heart of the believer! Why? Because.......He is in complete control of every situation. We see through this letter that God is the One who is sovereign and we need to find comfort in that. I know I do! What about you?

He is the sovereign Ruler and what He says goes.........no buts, or arguing with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Sovereign by definition is the right of God to do as He wishes with His creation. This implies that there is no external influence upon Him and that He also has the ability to exercise His right according to His will. Ps 50:1 “The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.” Isa 40:15 “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.” 1 Tim 6:13-16 “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time--he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

David Wells said “The mystery of iniquity is at work in the world during this interim time, and it is not always clear how its wicked work is being checked, overridden, or woven into the glorious purposes of God. We need to remember, though, that while Judas betrayed Christ, and woe to him for doing so, it was God’s plan that Christ was thus betrayed. Evil by its very nature opposes the purposes of God, but God, in his sovereignty, can make even this evil serve his purposes.” And we see that truth though the scriptures......In the Old Testament we see God restoring and dealing with people through His judgements from the time of Adam and Eve, the nations in captivity into the rebuilding of the walls........In the New Testament we also see God doing the same...the only difference is that He poured His judgements upon His Son to restore sinful nations by bring people back to Him.
  • God has everything under control Habakkuk!
  • God has everything under control Christian!
  • God has everything under control Church!
  • God has everything under control Universe.
In this last portion of Habakkuk’s letter we get front row seats to see how truly amazing God really is as He displays who really is in charge. We see that God retraces the march of His people from Sinai to the Promise Land at the beginning of (v3) Teman probably represents the entire regions south of the Dead Sea. Paran lies west of Edom and is between the Sinai Peninsula and Kadesh Barnea.Which is a great reminder His sovereignty and providence. The God who acted on behalf of the children of Israel in the Exodus, would do the same here.

GOD IS SO SOVEREIGN HE CAME IN HIS ENTIRE SPLENDOR [V3-V5]

 “His glory covered the Heavens, and the earth if full of His praise.” (v3). When God came to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, He went with them as physical manifestation. Exo 40:34-38 “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys. Isaiah writes these wonderful words that describe God’s glory......“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.” Isa 6:1-4. “His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.(v4). God is so glorious, His power is hidden from the amazing rays of light that permeate from the Godhead.

GOD IS SO SOVEREIGN HE STANDS WITH POWER [V6-V7]

 “He stood”.......... gave his presence in victory as He did with Joshua and is people as they went into battle. In Joshua 10:12-14 it says “At that time Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon." And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies..........The sun stopped in the midst of heaven and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD heeded the voice of a man, for the LORD fought for Israel. Does God stand with us today? You better believe it.....He said I will never leave you or forsake you”

“He looked and startled the nations”............ with anger in his eye He made the nations to tremble with fear. Joshua  2:8-11  “Before the men lay down, she [Rehab] came up to them on the roof and said to the men, "I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.”

This is a great reminder of God’s almighty power as He stands before His people.
  • He makes nations crumble
  • He makes nations fall in fear
  • He makes nations scatter
  • He makes the decisions on this earth
  • He is the Judge and Jury
  • He is the one who knows the heart of man
  • He is the one who knows who is His
  • He is the all powerful Ruler who goes before His children.
Remember what David wrote...... “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.” Ps 23:2-3. In order to lead you must stand before your people as an example! Jesus Christ is our Leader. This is a great picture of the Almighty God of God, who stands up for His people, and it’s not temporal but everlasting and final (v6)Why? Because He is in complete control of our lives and the lives of every single person living above the ground and underneath the ground and those in Heaven or in Hell.

GOD IS SO SOVEREIGN HE MARCHES INTO VICTORY [V8-V15]

No greater comfort than to know you are on the winning team and there is nothing anyone can do to stop them. As the Lord marched ahead of His people out of Egypt, He opened the Red Sea to let Israel out...and then later He opened the Jordan to let Israel into Caanan, as they journeyed into the Promise Land. Habakkuk, He will do the same here for your people....lead them to victory! God has been doing this thought-out history! That’s what makes God AWESOME. Warren Weirsbe said “He is the God of glory who reveals His glory in creation and in history. He is the living God who makes the dead idols of the nation ridiculous. He is the God of power who can command land and sea, Heaven and Earth, and therefore, He is the God of victory who leads His people in triumph.” Do you believe that? See, our victory is found in the Cross.....Jesus Christ has redeemed us from what we deserve, GOD”S WRATH AND HATRED TOWARDS SIN! That’s why as Christian’s we don’t fear death! Remember what Paul said "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Cor 15:55-57. God is sovereign and brings great comfort to my heart because my victory was purchased for me on the Cross. That’s why Paul asks these questions! "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”What’s the answer: Jesus Christ...the one who reigns victorious over our enemy, the Devil and his fallen angels?
  • We serve the sovereign God who spoke all things into existence.
  • We serve the sovereign God who supplies the right amount of air to breath for this day.
  • We serve the sovereign God who cast Adam and Eve out the garden because of their rebellion and sin.
  • We serve the sovereign God who destroyed the earth because they were sorry for creating man.
  • We serve the sovereign God who separated and destroyed nations with a single word.
  • We serve the sovereign God who led His people through the wilderness, even in the midst of their grumbling and bickering.
  • We serve the sovereign God who made a promise to send a Saviour for the world
  • We serve the sovereign God who came to this earth born of a virgin to show how much they truly love us.
  • We serve the sovereign God who stared all things and will complete all things according to His good pleasure.
This is my Sovereign King.......who not only rules my life! But He rules my family’s life, our church and this whole universe all at the same time. He is a God who is completely glorious, He is a God who goes before His people with power, He is a God who reigns victorious over all His enemies. Always believe that God has been and will continue to be the sovereign Lord in your life, until He calls you home and beyond throughout eternity. “the just shall walk by faith”. He is the Sovereign Ruler .......embrace it, be thankful for it and praise His name among the earth that the King is seated and He rules all things for His glory and good pleasure. 

As the Apostle Paul said “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. “Rom 8:28-39

J C Ryle said it best! “Just as the telescope and microscope show us that there is order and design in all the works of God’s hand, from the greatest planet down to the least insect, so does the Bible teach us that there is wisdom, order and design in all the events of our daily life. There is no such thing as “chance”, “luck”, or “accident” in the Christian journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God: and all things are ‘working together’ for the believer’s good”. Habakkuk, find rest in your strong tower in the Sovereign King. Christian, find rest in the sovereign King as He molds you and draws you closer to home! Why? Because Paul said “nothing will be able to separate us for the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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